A few weeks ago, we had a little birthday party for Anaïs in our neighborhood park. She invited a few friends from school, we ordered pizzas from the shop down the street, we had cupcakes and juice boxes, sparkling lemonade and Pamplemousse La Croix. We had a piñata! The kids ran around and the parents hung back and chatted. Grandparents came in from out of town to celebrate the wonder that is Anaïs. Once again, my incredibly talented friend Kaleen captured the best moments for us without missing a beat.
In the blink of an eye, my baby girl turned five. Five! It just seems so big, you know? Gone are the days of having to nurse her when she needed comforting. Gone are the days of having to change her diapers or potty train her. She no longer needs me to help her get dressed. She doesn't need me to feed her. She doesn't even need me to hold her hand going down a flight of stairs. So much happens leading up to five and when it arrives, it's just as heart wrenching as you imagined, if not more.
It's hard to explain sometimes but for me, it feels like the true beginning of slowly letting her go. Five marks the start where she's in school for the next twelve years. It means that she'll be living under my care before she'll literally leave the nest. And sure, maybe I'm looking too far into the future, but it's hard not to. If the first five years flew by this quickly, won't the rest of our time disappear just as fast? The worst part is, that's the whole point: I want her to thrive and grow and flourish. I want her to one day leave and be independent. I want her to start her life and experience her own adventures. But that doesn't make it any less painful. Isn't that terrible? Motherhood is both beautiful and tragic. We are given the privilege and honor to love and protect these tiny beings, to shape them into decent people and show them the world, no matter how sad or ugly it can be. We teach them to respect each other. We show them how to survive. We dole out advice as best we can in the hopes that they learn a thing or two. We do all of this so that they can one day leave us to go off and conquer life themselves.