Today you turned five and time has flown so very fast. It seems like yesterday when the nurse announced “It’s a girl!” and Daddy staggered in surprise. Yesterday that I came home to paint a pale pink room with you by my side in the infant carrier. Just yesterday when our Rose started to bloom.
In the past five years, you have blossomed into one of my most favorite people in the world. Your personality reminds me of the salted caramel candy we both love; for the most part sweet, but with just enough sass to turn heads.
One Sunday evening, Charlie was teasing you as we drove to Grandma and Grandpa’s for dinner. You held up your fist menacingly and warned “Charlie? When we get to Grandma’s I’m going to hit you.”
I overheard you playing with Jack a few weeks ago. As the both of you guided Little People through a train track, you remarked to him “Know what, Jack? I love you. Just the way you are.”
At the moment you love monkeys; monkey puzzles, monkey books, monkey clothes. You sleep with a stuffed monkey bought long ago for Joey, underneath sheets pattered with monkeys wearing tiaras. A perfect combination.
Many people say your assertiveness is from growing up with four boys. But I disagree. I’ve never known someone as sure of themselves, as self-possessed, as you. I’m certain you’d be the same true girl whether surrounded by a family of brothers or sisters. (Or monkeys.)
The expression “Daddy’s Girl” doesn’t nearly you justice. Every day, in your deep, raspy voice, you tell us that you want to marry Daddy, how you love him more than me. I don’t mind; I know it’s your five-year old need to forever see our family intact, to keep us all firmly rooted in your childhood.
You’ve always been a later sleeper, and these days you’re usually the last in our house to wake. Sleepily you make your way downstairs, hair standing on end, and give each one of us a kiss. “Good mornin’ Mommy!” Feeling your smooth cheek nestle against mine is my favorite part of the morning.
You are one part girly-girl and one part tough guy, all wrapped up in a delightfully rosy package. If given a choice, you pick trucks over dolls and plastic guns over princesses. But you want your trucks and guns to be pink. And you love getting your nails done except you usually prefer colors like black or lime-green.
You like ketchup on everything.
You refuse to wear barrettes or headbands. Recently you complained about having your hair combed, and I suggested maybe we shouldn’t grow it long like Rapunzel after all, maybe we should trim it. “Yeah, sure”, you said “Cut it all off. I don’t care!”
You love to wrestle with the boys, and one night after dinner you challenged Grandpa to a boxing match. “Come on, Grandpa! Is that all you’ve got?”
People say you look like me, and sometimes I see my own mother resonating in your quick smile. But already your wispy blonde hair is thickening, darkening, changing. I suspect by the time you’re a teenager you’ll be more Cariello than Watterson.
Again, I don’t mind. Because you may be your Daddy’s girl, but you’ll always be my daughter.