On each of my kids’ birthdays I compose a letter. My plan is to one day hand over a book of heartfelt letters, proving to an ornery teenager that I do, in fact, know and love him/her, and that my goals as a mother go beyond ruining his/her social life.
Today you turn five! Happy birthday! You have a big year ahead of you. I hope that you find as much happiness, wonder, and adventure in five as you found in four. I’m confident you will because that’s the kind of person you are.
Being your mom is one of my life’s greatest joys. You’re such a phenomenally fun kid, and so different from me in so many ways, that I know I’d love and admire you even if you weren’t my daughter. But I’m lucky, because I get to be your mother. I get to revel in messy-haired good morning snuggles, remind you to keep eating during a million and one silly mealtime distractions, and marvel at your laid-back, easy cheer.
I know you’re going to thrive in kindergarten this year. You’re endlessly curious, determined, and not afraid of hard work. These traits have you biking and swimming and doggedly trying to figure out reading, which you’re going to love. I can’t express how proud of you I am when I see you working on something over and over again, trying to master a new skill, wanting to keep up with your big brother. The truth is that you impress me. And it’s a strange feeling for a grown-up to be so impressed by a little kid.
A big part of me wants you to stay little forever. I love your hugs and kisses, your riotous giggles, your little-kid-ness. You’re my baby and always will be.
The rest of me is so excited to watch you grow up, see the person you become, watch you stride confidently into the world relying on yourself more and more.
As a four-year-old you’ve been talkative and giggly, independent and creative, intrepid and athletic. On any given day you’ll sing dozens of songs, (or the same song dozens of times, usually from Frozen,) draw some pictures, run around with your brother until you’re sweaty and exhausted, talk to your toys, put your dolls (and random objects) to bed, and tell me a hundred stories, usually starting with, “Did you know…” You make all of us laugh. You can reduce your brother to a pile of gasping giggles at any time with your unique brand of ridiculous humor. As a five-year-old, I hope you continue in all of this, and surprise us with a few new things along the way.
You’re in school now and with that comes some hard work and a new set of social norms and challenges. I’d like to protect you from so many of the difficulties that you’ll face as you go through school, but I can’t. All I can do is offer my listening ear and open arms, help you when you need help, and love you no matter what. I hope that your spirit and confidence only grow as you navigate the new world of school. I hope that you remain unapologetically yourself, unembarrassed and sure.
I’ll miss all of our time at home together now that you’re in school. You have always been so good at entertaining yourself, and you are ever the engaging (if silly) companion. I might be working at my computer only to look up and find this at any given moment:
Your flair for dress isn’t limited to when you’re at home.
You’re going to grow up a lot this year. It’s probably time to stop accidentally biting your own fingers so often when you eat. And it’s definitely time to drop the baby act. (Please don’t immediately replace it with eye-rolling.) It’s your crutch, and you don’t need it. I want you to always know that no matter how adorably cute you are, and no matter how often that’s the only thing people comment on, you are so much more than that. You have my admiration not because of your smallness or cuteness, but because of your cleverness, kindness, and pluck.
I love you absurdly much, my sweet, whimsical, brave, charming, tenacious, and silly girl. I hope you have the happiest birthday and a wonderful year ahead!
I suppose my nerves got the best of me. I couldn’t swallow a bite of food on my wedding day. This is not a problem I had ever experienced before, (or since,) so it caught me completely off guard. In all my preparedness, I was not prepared for this. By the time our guests began to arrive, I was starving and light-headed. Was I going to be that girl who passed out at the altar?
All I wanted was a handful of nuts – some small thing to fortify and sustain me through the ceremony. After that, there would be food aplenty. Thankfully, I didn’t ultimately faint from hunger, but I did have a few moments when I felt especially hangry, which is extremely unbecoming on a bride.
In a few weeks my brother is getting married. His bride-to-be is fully occupied with wedding plans and preparation, just as I had been years ago. No detail is too small for careful consideration. Nothing will be forgotten, ignored, or left to chance. We will have a lovely lunch for the ladies of the bridal party as we spend the day on hair and make-up, just as I had. Everything will be perfect. (Except for all the small unforeseen things that happen at every wedding.)
With nuts and the unforeseeable in mind, I set out to provide my soon-to-be sister-in-law with a Wedding Day Kit that includes anything she might need on the big day. Yes, I gave her nuts for her bridal shower and I might just give nuts to every bride I know from here on out.
Here’s what my Bridal Everything-You-May-Need Kit included:
I found a cute white tote bag embroidered with “Bride” into which I packed all the odds and ends. I printed out this picture and list, rolled it into a scroll and included it in the bag so she wouldn’t have to actually unpack all of the various items at the shower. There’s extra room in the tote for her to add any personal belongings she wants to bring on her big day. She can then use the tote bag on her honeymoon!
If you’re looking for something different with a personal touch for a bridal shower gift, I highly recommend creating your own Bridal Kit. For a head start, click here for a printable of my list.
Remember, friends don’t let brides get hangry.