When you are five, you snuggle close to Mama in the top bunk just before bedtime. After stories are told and a few million questions are half-way answered you say, “Oh, that reminds me,” and roll onto your side, pressing your little bum against her leg. A sudden “B-rrrrrr” echoes through the room, followed closely by the high notes of a little boy’s giggle. Mama is surprised and not surprised at all. The laughter of two sings together at your silly, gassy habits and a prayer is whispered that she may survive the rancid business of raising boys.
When you are five, you scale the kitchen counters like a professional mountain climber. You eat rainbow sprinkles straight from the jar and handfuls of chocolate chips that are hidden in the back of the fridge. You leave compelling evidence scattered across the counter tops and in the tracks of chocolate smudged across your cheek.
When you are five, you still fit perfectly in your Mama’s arms. There is just a lot more of you to hold. Instead of the being wrapped in a small blanketed cocoon, there is an abundance of gangly appendages dangling in every direction. There are bony elbows and knobby knees jabbing and wriggling against Mama’s soft flesh. Your shins are covered with bruises and scrapes that mark brave ideas gone awry. And your brow is the most accurate mood ring ever made – revealing all emotion in the height of its arch or the absence of one.
When you are five, you dance in the pouring rain. Your feet love to walk across the smooth stones that line the bottom of a cold river; you sunbathe in your underwear. You jump off furniture, wage transformer battles, and love to climb and conquer the branches of a tree. You play backyard baseball, Old Maid, and race laps through the house. You love to catch fish, to go hiking, and have been known to occasionally wear clothes. You are constantly noticing the world, making sense of what you see and comparing it with all that you know to be true.
Five years ago, I held you in my arms for the very first time. I was thankful and exhausted and filled with love. I am still all of these. It is our greatest joy to watch you grow, to laugh and love, to snuggle and play each day.
Wishing our sweet Jackson, an amazing fifth birthday filled to the brim with all of your favorites. We love you so very much!
Now, go put on some clothes!