We had a rough start, you and I. You were due around Valentine’s Day in 2011, but I guess you (and my body) had other plans. You tried to arrive in December, but you needed to stay in there for a while longer so I was put on bed rest. But I was restless and I think you were too. Because we only made it to January when you decided that enough was enough and you were tired of waiting.
(I was too.)
You were born via an emergency C-section on the foggy cold morning of January 18th, 2011. Premature at 7lbs. 5 oz. And I was ecstatic, but also exhausted. I remember holding you for the first time and being worried that I was doing it wrong. And I remember trying to breastfeed you and being terrible at it. We eventually got the hang of it, but it was a tough one for us.
The days to follow were a fun mixture of amazing and nerve-wracking. I was dealing with all of the bodily concerns of having had a C-section while also dealing with the unknowns of being a first time mommy. And you weren’t patient with any of it. But that’s OK. I understand. And just when I got the hang of something you would switch it up. Suddenly you were done with breastfeeding unless mommy could convince you otherwise. Suddenly you were picky about where in the apartment I fed you. And suddenly you developed colic. Those were the roughest nights. But we made it, you and I.
(With help from daddy and your grandparents, of course.)
And then we turned a corner and all of those problems were over. But they were followed by OTHER quirks, like you wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in the living room. So you and I slept on a blow-up mattress in the living room (and sometimes daddy would take the couch) because I needed sleep and that was the only way to get it. Yep. It’s safe to say that you’ve always kept us on our toes, pumpkin.
Before you could talk, I could tell that you were frustrated when you couldn’t form the words to tell me something. You just wanted your feelings and opinions to be HEARD. You knew your thoughts mattered. And you still know that. When you started to talk is when I finally started to understand the way you think. Now I can’t tell you anything without you telling me your opinion in return. As much as it frustrates me, I know that’s what makes you, YOU. It always has been. So keep it up, little girl.
The truth is Shade, I can’t get enough of you. I can’t get enough of your smile and your laugh. I can’t get enough of all the smart things that you say. I can’t get enough of your creativity and your love for life. You’ve been by my side for five years now. Growing and learning and loving. And soon you’ll be starting school. And I know, I KNOW, it’s going to suck for me to be without you for a while every day. But I also know that it’s what you need to flourish in life. To satisfy all of your curiosities and answer all of your questions.
(It’s just hard to let go, girly.)
But I can do that for you, I think. I told you the other day that you can’t POSSIBLY be turning five and that it wasn’t allowed and I’m sorry, you would just have to stay four forever.
“But I have to grow up!” you said.
“And why is that?” I asked.
“So I can get big and be a mommy!” you said.
You want to be a mommy more than anything right now and I can’t blame you. I was the same way at your age. (I also had my first boyfriend in Kindergarten but that’s NOT ALLOWED.) I just never dreamed that I would grow up and be a mommy to such an awesome little girl as you. You question me, you challenge me, you make me think about WHY rules are the way they are. And I wouldn’t trade our mommy-daughter relationship for anything in this world.
You, Shade, are amazing through and through. I’m so proud of you. So keep asking questions and knocking down walls. And I’ll be right here every step of the way, figuring out this whole life thing together.
We love you with all of our hearts, Shade Eisley Kate. Happy 5th Birthday!