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  • Kristen Kehoe

Finally Five

My darling Livvy Love,

It's here, the coveted fifth year that you've been dreaming of since you heard the word Kindergarten. Other than Disneyland, this appears to be the most magical place, and you can't wait until it's your turn. You've already told me that you're going to rock at it. In fact, every time you make a good choice, you pop your hip and point your thumbs at your chest, stating "that's a Kindergarten kid."

No one celebrates you more than you do, Olivia, and I hope that never changes. You have confidence, but you also have compassion, and I am amazed every day at the way you balance the two. Every day you celebrate yourself, and something you did, but then you also celebrate others, and in these moments I see your heart--that giant heart that's full of love and questions and words.

You have words, my darling girl, so many of them. Every day, we write names on my computer, and you tap the keys yourself, asking me how to spell all of your cousins' names, and your aunties and uncles. We spell Luna's name, and then Diego's--even though he's in heaven, lying in the sunshine, because you love him and want him to know you won't forget him.

We tell stories of princes and princesses who go to lands far away and save the sunshine, and we talk of the day you become a minja-queen. Yes, a minja. You have some words that are yours alone, and although we should, your daddy and I don't correct you because it's too adorable. You are not a ninja, you are a minja. You don't pray to Jesus, but Jeez-its, and when you are telling fibs, or exaggerating, you talk out the side of your mouth like an old time movie crook speaking to the audience in a stage whisper.

You love flowers and music and reading stories about princes and princesses who fall in love. You love life, my five-year-old minja-princess, and every day you teach me something new. (Like when we were rear-ended yesterday and I said a bad word and you told me to take a deep breath, and remember to stay calm. And then you asked if you could share my milkshake. That was definite perspective.)

Two days ago, on the way home from swimming, you were sitting in the backseat eating your goldfish and listening to the John Mayer song with your name in it, when you looked up an told me you were sorry I got sick like Repunzel's mommy, and even though you were sad you couldn't have a human sister, it's okay because you had me and Daddy and Luna, like Punzel had Pascal and Maximus and Flynn Ryder. Although I think the main purpose of this story was to assure me that you were, in fact, very princess-like, it also reminded me what a brilliant mind you have, and what a beautiful heart.

I see your heart each time you smile, Olivia, each time you hug me or Daddy, or your grandparents, or Aunties or Uncles. I see your heart when you kick the soccer ball and cheer for yourself, or when the other team scores and you cheer for them. I see your heart when you tell Luna it's okay after she's knocked you down or stolen your breakfast, or tried to bite your face off in attempt to get you to play with her.

And I see your heart when you dance and sing and tell me that we're the best family in the world.

If we're the best, it's because we got you, Olivia Anne, and you make life bright.

Happy birthday, my darling five-year-old soon-to-be-Kindergarten-Kid. I love you to the moon--even when you ask me five million questions before breakfast.


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