You will be five on Saturday. Five. As in half a decade. Five.
I would like to say that I still think of you as a baby, but to be honest, those days are long gone. I can barely recall the infant you. No-you are my wild, temperamental, smart, silly five year old boy. Those years all blur together now. We moved from cuddly newborn to dare-devil toddler and on to independent preschooler in what feels like no time at all. And here we are. No longer just an extension of me, you are your own person, a little boy that I am still trying to get to know and understand.
You moodiness and anger surprise me. I did not anticipate such an emotional child. Your intelligence was predicted, but still pleases me. The doctors warned right away that you were smart, and thus, a potential "handful". They were right. Your energy and curiosity exhausts and inspires me. You are not what I expected.
And here we are just days away from your fifth birthday. I waver between the predictable nasolgia, and the anticipation of years to come, your future is yet undecided. I realize that this is when parenting becomes harder. My first memories start at about 5. I remember my own days in the kindergarten classroom. I admired my teacher for her stylish knee high boots, and I began to question my abilities as I struggled with a sissors and on the monkey bars. At five, I learned to doubt myself. This was a begining of sorts, and one I believe I never fully left behind.
This is your chance. This is my opportunity to help you. I am afraid. Afraid that you are too much for me. Afraid that I will fail you. Afraid that you will be too much like me.
Zachary, I love you so. I am going to make mistakes, and life will never be perfect. I know that you will have memories of me that I wish that I could take back, erase. I know too, that much of your life is out of my control. You are your own person.
You are five and your life is before you. You still have a clean slate, and I want so badly to help you fill it with all of the right words, all of the right images, all of the right memories.
My promise is that I will try every single day. What more can I do?
The rest is up to you.
Happy Birthday to my favorite five-year-old.