My living room is littered with dollhouses, magnet dolls, and a DocMobile. The soundtrack to my morning is the clicking of the keyboard as I write, the sound of Doc McStuffins (because that’s the only show she likes to watch), and the chattering of an entranced Julie. This is her favorite, I think. When the older kids are gone, and she can set up her fantasy world with her princesses, Docs, stuffed toys and then do whatever she wants.
She loves her siblings, of course. Her best friend is still, always, her brother, but she and Jessie can lose themselves for hours playing this same game. She’s independent and confident, especially when she’s alone. In social settings, she’s still more likely than not to hide behind my legs, and glare at people who try to talk to her. But when she’s at home, or when she forgets where she is, she’ll talk and talk. Explaining seriously about everything to anyone.
Five is a milestone age, in a way that the other ages weren’t. Five means kindergarten, five means independence and the moving into a much, much bigger world. She’s ready for it, I can see it in how easily she separates at preschool, how confidently she approaches the world and how she begs me to read to her, to explain addition and subtraction.
I wish I was as ready. I wish I was as confident in what the future holds for me. Or at least, as eager to get there as she is.
I loved having my babies at home with me. I loved it when I had just my baby Jessie, then when I had my right hand man Sammy, and then when I just had my Julianna Ruth. I loved baking with them, grocery shopping, going for long walks, folding laundry and pushing them on the swings. This has been such a magical stage of life for me – and it feels like it’s ending now that she’s five.
I find myself reminding myself that it’s not over. Certainly not. My kids are still young, there are still a lot of milestones yet to master. Jessie isn’t even a teenager, Sam hasn’t started nightly homework yet. Julie still has her first day ahead of her. It’s just a new stage, a different one. I’ll be the parent without a toddler at these events. I’ll be able to volunteer during the day in their classrooms. My house will reach new heights of cleanliness (at least one hopes….) now that they’ll all be out of the house during the day. I could become a high-powered executive, now that I’ve got all this free time.
But to bring it back down to what I started with – my baby is five. My last little love, my angel girl baby, the pregnancy that made me miserable, the child who entered the world when I was laughing – she’s five years old now. Her favorite place is still right beside me, curled up (and when did I master typing with one arm completely immobile because her head is braced against it?). She’s five, and I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have her.