Today, at 4pm Pacific time, my daughter Hannah turns 5 years old. 5! How did that happen? I don’t know, I’ll tell you that much.
I have been waiting for the feeling I’ve felt on Hannah’s previous birthdays to kick in. I call it Preemie Birthday Sadness – the feeling that February 19th should not have been Hannah’s birthday. The feeling that someone made a terrible mistake, and we should be celebrating sometime in early April when she was due instead of mid-to-late February when she was born at 34 weeks. Because the truth is the day I gave birth to Hannah was not an entirely happy day, it was a very worrying day, too.
So far this year I have not felt the Preemie Birthday Sadness. While I will never be able to look back on the day of Hannah’s birth without some wistfulness, I have finally shed the extreme worry. I have made my peace and I know that we will be OK in spite of it, or possibly even because of it. We have come through some rough patches together, and I wish they hadn’t happened, but I know that we can persevere when we need to. I do not need to carry the fear around with me anymore.
Today I celebrate my daughter, who is an amazing 5-year-old and a fabulous person. She is defiant and stubborn and compliant and kind and full of contradiction. She loves dresses and sparkles and Barbie and me. She sings and draws and dances and runs, and she wants to live with me forever. And me? I’m inclined to say yes, because I can’t imagine a morning when she doesn’t wake me up by jumping on me, uncomfortable though that may be. This is the kid who made me a mother, and I don’t really want to let her go anymore than she wants to let me go.
Happy birthday, Hannah girl! You are the coolest 5-year-old I know, and that’s no lie.