Five Years Old

You won’t understand this for a very long time but I dreamed about you, son. I didn’t know what you would look like, but I had a place set at my table for you. I knew that I wanted a family, and I knew that our introduction would change things forever.

I was so right. And I also had nooo idea.

I thought sleep deprivation would be hard, but I didn’t know that the only way your father or I would ever get shuteye again was to teach you how to sleep.

I thought I would be firm and make sure you knew your limits. I had no idea that you would also be tough and push me until I exceeded mine.

I thought I would show you things but you, in your brief five years of life, have made me look at the world in ways I never have before.

I never understood how a mother could yell at her children in public for just being healthy, normal kids. Until I did it.

I have said since Year 1 that Motherhood is everything and nothing that I thought it would be.

But you, kid? You are everything I dreamed you would be. And more.


Your dad and I were talking about you the other night. This happens on almost a daily basis, just so you know. Once we’ve managed to feed, bathe and tuck you boys into bed at night, we flop on the couch and marvel at the past day (and how much energy it took to get through it!)

On this particular night, we were recounting something that you had said that day and realized three things:


1. You have empathy beyond your years.

This past Monday, when our Great Uncle Mark died, I knew I had to tell you but I had no idea how I was going to get through it. I was worried that you would be shaken, but when I broke into tears after telling you, you grabbed my hand and said, “It’s going to be OK, mommy,” then you hugged me and said, “What can I do for you?” Even your 4K teacher, Mr. Joel, says there are times when you say things that are so sweet he darn near needs to take a minute in the hallway to collect himself.

You are constantly reading a room. I honestly think this is why you have a tendency to get so overwhelmed when you are around a lot of people for an extended period. You take on the emotions of those around you, and hell if that isn’t a lot for a 5-year-old. It’s a lot for anybody.


2. You are eloquent, articulate and brave.

It sounds like three things, but I promise they’re related.

You have a way of using words to articulate a thought or feeling that is both transcendent and perfectly your age. Like when I took a blanket out of the dryer and covered you in it. You squeezed your eyes shut, curled your toes and said, “Ooooh that is soaking warm!” I secretly hope you’ll write someday – just because I don’t want to miss out on those thoughts after you’ve grown and left me.

And brave. Oh buddy. I admire how you use those words of yours to stand up to your father and I. Just like this morning, when I was shouting upstairs, impatiently asking you to get downstairs and into the car. You came down the stairs and said, “Mom, how would you feel if I yelled at you on your birthday? .. Bad, right? Well that’s how I’m feeling right now.” Just a reminder, you’re five

Yes, there are times (many, actually) I wish you’d just stand down, but when I find myself wishing you were a little more easygoing, I realize that if you’re brave to stand up to us, you’re brave enough to stand up to your friends. Or other adults who aren’t making sense. It’s why we try so hard to ingrain the importance of respect. But keep it up, dude.


3. You love special things.

You call them “special deals,” and you live for them. There is nothing you enjoy more than getting a break in the routine – to have successfully negotiated a bonus. Whether it’s something small like two bowls of cereal on a schoolday or something bigger like a pizza party movie night.

You’re starting to see the merit in enjoying other people’s special deals too and getting excited for them. That is a big sign of growing up, buddy.

This year has brought so much more than just those three things though. This has really been a breakout year for you, kiddo.

You’ve started cooking in a big way.


You joined a tee-ball team.


You started putting your own outfits together and getting dressed in the morning. (I promise, it’s gotten way better since!)


You started 4K.


You, with some help from dad, have started using real tools in the workshop.


You discovered your love for camping…


… and for weddings. (No, really.)



You ran in your first race!


You started writing in a big way. Reading is close behind!


And you’ve made real friendships.


Graham, I am so, so proud of who you are and of this wonderful little boy you are becoming. We have so much ahead of us this year, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Happy birthday, sweet boy.


  1. Bravo!!!

  2. Grandma Sue says:

    Nicely said!!! I was in tears from the first paragraph.

  3. Beautiful post! You have such a sweet little boy and you’re a great mommy!

  4. Love this! Such a cool kid! And the story about him standing up to you, I may have died if I was there! I may get my own dose in a few years, but I love reading about your boys and their stories! Good job mommy!

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