Today you turned 5 years old. In 5 years, you have made us feel more emotions and tugged at our hearts more than a parenting book ever prepared us for. You surprise me all the time. You make me laugh. You make me cry. You make me feel important. You make me feel frustrated. You are perpetually happy and positive. You have more self confidence in your pinky finger than I have in my whole being. Sometimes, you are sassy. Mostly, you are funny. You are the first to take any blame for your brother's bad choices. You refer to your little brothers as yours sons often and I suppose that comes naturally to you because you are a little mommy in the making. You love to nurture people and you are naturally empathetic to their pain or discomfort.
I worry your empathy and desire to "fix people" may hurt you in years to come. I worry that the world will dim your light inside when you realize not every stranger is your new best friend. My heart already breaks for yours, for any heartache you may experience. I can not protect you from everything or everyone. All I can do is pray with you and provide you with a loving home and encourage you to remain as vibrant and joyful as you are right now. I pray that will be enough to keep you close and safe. I don't want to imagine days not seeing that sparkling smile.
You are the light of your daddy's life. He can not say no to you and you know it. You two are two peas in a pod. I get frustrated that you sneak into our bed every night to cuddle with him. I feel like we haven't slept since you were born. However, I am so grateful that God has given you man in your life that makes you feel loved and respected every day. He will teach you how a young woman should be treated on a date and set a standard for your future boyfriend regarding the 4 p's: Pay her a compliment, Plan the date, Pick her up, and Pay for dinner. Even though I don't want to imagine you dating when you grow up, I feel comforted knowing your daddy will always be your first love.
I know that someday you will be 11 or so and you will realize that I'm not as cool as you think I am now. You probably won't want to kiss me on my lips and you definitely won't want me to read your favorite book at night and do all the voices. I will miss these fleeting days and I will forget the little details. What I will never forget is the way you made me feel when you made me a mother: terrified and elated, overwhelmed and overjoyed. I still feel those things when I look at you. You are my favorite girl in the whole world. I will never stop being infatuated with you. I will love you always. Happy birthday, Ireland.