First of all . . . I can’t believe how fast we have gotten here. I remember your birthday (you know, the very first one!) so vividly that it seems recent. You came out with a sweetness and an intensity apparent in your eyes, and neither have wavered over the past 5 years.
You are a force. You are creative, dramatic, and opinionated. You have ideas and are desperate to express them — when words do not suffice, you turn to art or dance or song. You love crafting elaborate stories — in your drawing, in pretend play, and with your friends.
You sparkle. You end most of your dances with a split or another equally daring pose. You may not always get along with Cameron, but when you see him at school it’s like you’ve spotted a celebrity (and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual). Even if sharing isn’t always easy, you can be a caring and protective big sister.
Your powers of concentration are fantastic. You will focus on a drawing or craft project for an hour, breathing deeply so that I can tell your brain waves are off somewhere beyond the pale.
You are grown up: in the way you articulate ideas, in your thought patterns, and even in your teeth (I can’t believe you lost the first one before 5!). It is FUN to be with you at this age — taking you on an errand is now a pleasure and I look forward to having many adventures together, both one-on-one and as a family.
But you are still my baby. I love that you still want to snuggle with me (or daddy) every night. I even sort of love that you cried when we had to leave after your school birthday celebration, though that was a much more bittersweet experience. I love that you give big unselfconscious kisses and full body hugs.
I have taken to call you “My First Baby” sometimes, because we both like it, and it’s true. You will always hold this position in my life and in my heart. I love you Annabel – you are wonderful and have brought so much to our family. I am not going to wish for time to stop, because a) it’s impossible and b) watching you grow is a joy. Instead I will try to savor your childhood as much as I can. I can tell it’s going to go quickly.