Tomorrow, Helene turns five years old. It seems impossible that five years passed in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow, we will hug and kiss her a ridiculous number of times, let her sing her own birthday song (because THAT’s the way she rolls), help her blow out candles, let her stuff herself with frosting, and try to convince her that she’s now “Helene FIVE Years Old” instead of “Helene FOUR Years Old.”
Today, though, I thought I’d relive those fleeting moments and celebrate publicly the little girl who challenges me, inspires me, moves me, surprises me, humors me, snuggles me and lets me love her like a fool.
Hey, little Leni Lou-Lou:
Happy Birthday. Mama wrote you a little story. Pull right up here with your frenchfrieschickensapplesmilk and let’s read it together.
Your Birth Day
You came screaming in – all 8 pounds and 4 ounces of you. Your left ear was so smashed against your head, I thought for a moment you had only an ear hole – no lobe. I find your tiny earlobe tucked under that odd-looking beanie they’d placed on your head and laughed, because the morphine wouldn’t let me cry with relief. The nurse then whisked you and Papa away. My body was so numb that – at one point – the doctor held my legs up in the air so that I could see them over the drape blocking the view of my belly. I thought, That’s odd. I wonder whose legs those are?
The first year of your life went by in a whirlwind. You grew like a weed. We spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get you to smile, because you did it SO WELL! But, what you really liked more than smiling was showing off your drool-y little tongue.
Your First Birthday
You had cake for the first time on your first birthday. You had no idea what it was, but that did NOT stop you.
We had such a good time watching you demolish that cake, we let you do it again the next day.
During your first year, you also discovered the joys of coffee.
Your Second Birthday
By your second birthday, Mama got a little ambitious in the baking department.
You also got your first set of pigtails.
Your love of cake matched only your hatred for the dentist.
Your Third Birthday
You celebrated your third birthday with your favorite preschool friends. This was the year Mommy discovered that it’s not really about the cake for you at all. It’s about the FROSTING. Consequently, this is the only picture from that party in which you can actually see your face before it was the exact colors as your dress.
Judging by the Christmas tree in the background, I have no reasonable explanation for why you’re eating a cupcake. With your nose.
Lots of changes happened between three and four. You got to come to work with me for a while. But, then Mommy moved her office back home. You helped. I did not have to move a box of Wheat Thins. So nice of you.
You started really testing Papa’s parenting skills. Mama went away for a conference, but you were really cooperative for Papa with your bath. You even helped him do laundry!
You developed a magical talent for napping in whatever position you landed. I also truly envy your ability to wear horizontal stripes. Not many people can pull that off, Helene.
Your Fourth Birthday
By your fourth birthday, you were not big on the parties, just frosting. Still, Mama couldn’t help herself.
And, you started developing a style all your own.
And now, here you are — less than a day away from five years old. Another day deeper in my heart.
Happy Birthday, Helene.