Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Today you are six
You woke up this morning to balloons everywhere, because it's your birthday and birthdays demand balloons. Or, at least, you did, last night when you asked me if there'd be balloons like there were on my last birthday and I just smiled and winked and said you'll see. Balloons on the walls, on the floor, on sticks (which I regretted all the day long, four kids here and all those sticks just searching for someone's eyeball), even stuck in the jar of yellow tulips currently brightening up our kitchen. Yes, my love, balloons just like there were on your last birthday.
Ah, my love. You chided me recently when I called your brother that - you can't call him "my love" because he's a boy, and only girls can be "my love" - but you had no answer when I asked you why. You're deciding that some things are "girl things" and some things are "boy things", and that's okay because it's all part of figuring out who you are and where you fit in in this crazy world. You had a friend inform you not long ago that pink was a "girl's colour" and so you decided that your favourite colour was now red instead. At home, though, where you're safe and free, you still asked for pink icing on your cake as you shared your sparkly strings of beaded necklaces with your little brother. The two of you made fine royalty with your "jewels" around your neck and your wooden swords in hand.
And so a pink cake it was. Chocolate on the inside, because of course, and quinoa too because your mom's a little weird, sorry. The dinosaur sprinkles on top finished it off perfectly. We baked it and decorated it together; you even pointed out where you wanted me to place your candles. You chose spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread for dinner, then hummed happy birthday to yourself as I lit the candles on your cake. You blew half of them out as soon as I set it in front of you, the rest of us only just beginning to sing, and you blew out the remainder when the song was over. Your Oma and Opa joined us, making it a real party around the table.
We'll pick up the party again on Saturday, head over to the pool because being six means you can finally, at long last, go on that waterslide you've been eyeing ever since you were three. Yes, half your life you've waited for this day, and I can't wait to watch that first much-anticipated slide. You asked for your dearest friend and her family to join us, and they said yes even though they've moved out of the city; we are truly blessed with the best sort of friends, aren't we?
It struck me today that turning six meant we were already a third of the way to 18. I only get to do this whole raising you thing two more times over and then you're an adult, and I know my role doesn't end at that moment but it will certainly change. These first six years have passed just as quickly as everyone warned me they would, and I have made so very many mistakes. But oh child, you are a delight. Helpful and kind, thoughtful and loving, some days I wonder at the person you are becoming in spite of my failures. I notice the way you let your little brother help open your gifts so he doesn't feel left out, the way your biggest smiles are always saved for your baby sister, the way you write little notes to those you love, so many other things that show you for the caring person you are. You ask hard questions and my answers never quite feel like enough, but you listen so seriously all the same.
Right now you're laying awake in your room, ever my night owl, listening to music while your brother sleeps beside you. Your tastes are eclectic; today it was Great Big Sea and The Beatles, while tomorrow could just as likely be Fred Penner or a Curious George audio book. Your first mixed CD is still your favourite, though, because bagpipes and hymns and Christmas music and 50s rock should definitely be played at every opportunity.
You, this firstborn child of mine, are the most fascinating creature I have yet to meet. Thank you for leading me so gently through all these motherhood firsts. Happy birthday, my darling. I love you so much more than I can say.