Today you crawled into my bed singing, “I am five. I am five. I am five.”

This is because you are five. You nursed for the very last time. We’ll see how you feel about that tomorrow, but today you seemed content with the plan. From morning cuddles, the day was full of questions: Do I look *taller* to you? Do you notice anything different about me? My body has changed so much, overnight! You must see it, Mama.

There was a party, like there always is. Kids, kids, kids. Parents. Food. A fairy cake. I can already see you, ten years from now, rolling your eyes at the photos from today and saying, “Moooooom. Why did you make me have that cake with the fairies all over it? So embarrassing.”

You picked it, kid. I just work here.

Then there were presents, and I have to tell you that the highlight of my day was when you opened the pencil case I gave you and your eyes lit up with that strange old wisdom they sometimes hold and you kissed it and held it to your chest. Then you cradled it in your arms. You didn’t know what to do with it, could not guess what it was when I asked you, but you knew it was precious. I love that about you – your ability to recognize love when you see it, in whatever crazy form it comes to you.

Then you just about broke my heart carrying that damn pencil case around with you for the rest of the party, making it the centerpiece of your play while your coterie of five-year-old fey friends gathered round.

After the party (thank you, weather gods, for unleashing your torrents as we said good-bye to our last guests, and not while I had twenty preschoolers in my backyard), you were sweet. Thank you for not having a tantrum. You would have a year ago.

Instead you washed birthday party out of your hair and we had an art date: the two of us at the craft table sharing your new pencils.

I don’t know where we go from here: the future is vast and scary, rushing by on the other side of the broad stream of summer. I forsee more art dates and messy afternoons, but beyond that it’s a blur.

At the end of the day, you offered me this: Mama, I love you.

Love you, too, kid.

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