Three nights ago you wept in your bed, crying over the unfairness of all of this happening to you. "I can't grow up, mom. Five is my favorite number."
Five was my favorite number, too. I used to tell you that five was the perfect age to be, because it was just enough to grab your face with and smush it. Five was also the perfect number to hold your little baby foot with.
Your foot isn't so baby little anymore. Nothing about you is. You learned how to say 'th' this year and I can't believe that I am the kind of person who could spend all day listening to a child say tha-ree! but it truly is the most beautiful sound in the word, you soaking in the world and wringing out little bits for the rest of us to taste. One of the many things you've taught me about myself that I never would have guessed on my own is that there is nothing I would rather do with my days than listen to you sound out the world around you.
I imagine you on the school playground with your friends learning how to jump rope and braid hair. You come home and you tell me all the things the other little girls have taught you and I wonder what you're teaching them in return. You know so much more than I ever could have imagined you would, so much more than I ever did at your age.
At the same time, you know nothing that I knew when I was six, and I don't think I'll ever be given a greater gift than that. I have to lie to you so often about my childhood, because the stories you do hear are so far from fathomable, they frighten you. You with your magical little ways have taught me somthing I guessed all along, that any story can become truth if it is simply told enough times. You are making the stories I wish I could tell you come alive every time you make me re-write the oral history of my life and whisper it sweetly into your sleepy ears.
You ask my why I love you so much and I reply why, of course it's your giggle, except when it is your hugs, but of course when it isn't your smile, and only when it isn't the way your beautiful little mind works. I tell you that I love you today, and I will love you every day of your life, because I have to, the same way I have to breath in and out. You ask if I will ever stop loving you and I tell you that loving you is the air around me and inside of me, in my veins and my lungs and the very fiber of my being and that my love for you is what has made me a complete person.
Six years ago, right off of 9th and Colorado in Denver, you with your collapsed lung and prolapsed cord, born purple and raging if for no other reason than to scare the living shit out of your brother on the very first moment of your aquaintance, you breathed life into a woman you hardly knew but who had been waiting her entire life to meet you. I held you all night that night, watching you sleep for the first time.
Every night since then has felt exactly the same way. I can never escape the wonder of you, and I don't ever want to. Every day with you has been as amazing as the first day you came into my life, because you continue to be the most incredible creature this world has ever known.
My favorite number will always ever be whichever you are, little girl, forever and ever, amen.