Today is Grace's birthday and she is five years old. She is all arms and legs and curly hair and intense single-mindedness and vivid radiance. She spends vast quantities of time with markers and paper and scissors crafting intricate creations, and is forever making inscrutable objets d'art to bestow as gifts. She loves her social circles at school and church and whatnot, and gymnastics and ballet have been huge hits this year. When she gets over-excited, her voice does this crazy thing where it goes up several octaves (impressive, given its normal little girl range) and yet at the same time gets grating and guttural as if she's been smoking. She is a sensitive soul. We tried to watch Star Wars with her a few weeks back and did not get past the opening scrolling text because it was all just too scary and dramatic.
She is more competent and capable every day but sometimes she still very much wants to be little and cuddled and taken care of. We have been getting some baby talk and other regressive kinds of behaviors recently but I also see her being brave and adventurous. She expresses worry or anxiety about new situations more often than when she was smaller; I think her ever-increasing forays into the outside world have made her more aware of how wide and unknown it is. She doesn't have the watertight confidence of a fearless clueless toddler, which I think is just part of getting bigger. My heart sometimes aches a bit when I see her independence and curiosity clash with her realization of how big and uncertain the world is.
We had a fun birthday party for her yesterday and wow, it was a crazy one. It was bigger than her 4th birthday party; we invited her whole class from preschool along with church friends and a few others. It may have verged on too big and and I'm wondering if it's time to stop inviting her whole class to these things. Or maybe to stop having parties at our house. Or maybe both. It was a good time, if a bit crazy and messy, and I do love a big party where all the toys end up on the floor and half-eaten cupcakes litter the furniture and everyone does lots of chatting. We continued our tradition of asking for no gifts (although of course she is getting gifts today from family) which still strikes me as one of my best party-planning ideas ever. Seriously, the toys multiply every year as it is and we don't need 15 more presents from people who may not have the same values when it comes to toys and possessions that we do. Anyway, we played some simple games and ate cupcakes and batted balloons around and it was fun. Today we'll have a family dinner (she requested spaghetti and meatballs, which is kind of funny since I'm pretty sure she's never eaten that) with leftover cupcakes and then open her presents. I feel so, so lucky to be celebrating my biggest girl and who she is on the eve of her fifth year in the world.
Happy birthday, my beautiful, vibrant, sensitive, growing-up girl.