This Little Miggy Stayed Home: 5 Years

Friday, February 24, 2012

5 Years

There's no spotlight this week, but it's by choice.  Miss Sparkle Pants' birthday is soon and I wanted to do a special birthday post for my almost 5 year old daughter.  If anyone deserves a spotlight now and then it's her.  

My little Princess Sparkle Pants is almost 5 years old.  FIVE.  

I'm gonna say it.  I'm gonna say it... Ready?

I can't believe my daughter is 5 years old!  

Not too long ago I read something from someone that went like this, Why do parents always say, I can't believe my baby is 5 years old?  Really?  You didn't think they'd grow up or do the same thing ever person in the history of the universe has done?  Really?  You didn't expect after the first 4 birthdays that there'd be a 5th?  Yada, yada, yada...  I don't remember where I read this or even the context.  I only remember that this person was making fun of parents who go on and on about their kids growing up and how they can't believe it.

But here's what the writer doesn't understand.... 

I'm serious. I really can't believe she's 5.  Like, really.  

In the weeks after PSP's birth, in the dark abyss that was post partum depression I remember thinking, What have we done?  It seemed that we had just chained ourselves to a life of servitude and constant crying.  In those early months, I remember doing this strange, drawn-out little song and dance routine to get that baby to sleep.   It started with a playing of the dreaded I am a Child of God (a song we would eventually learn she hated), followed by an extremely tight swaddle, then sitting her upright on one knee with one hand under her chin supporting her head and one hand on her back, while we gently bounced, bounced, bounced her little baby body waiting to see those droopy baby eyes finally flutter shut.  Then we'd quickly (yet gently!) rush her into the crib where we'd lay her down with the same tenderness one would handle a live bomb.  If her eyes started to flicker open we'd rhythmically pat her little bum until those eyes closed tight.  We'd stay for a few minutes hovering over her crib with baited breath to make sure the sandman had done his proper job and that she was indeed, asleep.  Of course this often only lasted 40 minutes and it started all over again.  Sometimes she would wake as much as 5 times in 3 hours.  It felt like a prison sentence.  In my foggy mind, I would imagine 5 years down the road, doing the same song and dance with the same newborn infant.  In my mind, she was always a baby, she would never grow up.  Sure other people told me that it all goes so fast and she'd be running in circles before you knew it....but I didn't believe them.  Sure their kids did it.  They had proof.  But what if my kid didn't grow up?  What if my daughter was the first kid to always stay a baby?  Until I saw it with my own eyes my mind could not be convinced otherwise.  And in those mental confines, all I could think was...what have we done?

Eventually that fog lifted and eventually I began to see my daughter as the exact opposite of a human jail cell.   She was the liberator, not the warden!  Unbeknownst to me, my mother-heart had been wasting away in a mental Alcatraz and that sweet baby found the key and set it free.  At first it was jut bit by bit.  I remember being on our morning walk one day and seeing a man in a suit walking his baby in a stroller.  I knew he was taking her to daycare.  My immediate thought was, As hard as this is I'm so glad I get to stay home with her.  No one would care of her the way I do.  (Not a commentary on kids and day-care....I was a day-care kid myself, just some honest thoughts here).  And then one day instead of praying for her to stay asleep for as long as possible, I found myself wondering when she was going to wake up because I missed her.  

Sometimes I wish I could have enjoyed it more.  I wish I could have just seen the preciousness of those newborn days for what they were...fleeting days.  But I can't.  And I'm really OK with that.  It was what it was.  Additionally, the bitterness of those early days made the eventual joy of motherhood that much sweeter.  

What I didn't know then, is that 5 years would a flash.  The irony being that now that it's here, I wish it would have come slower.  The baby I couldn't wait to see grow up, is the same baby I beg to stop growing.   

There are so many things I love about her.  She has a personality that shines.  She is a joy to be around and has an infectiously delightful way about her.  She makes me remember the magic of fairies and unicorns and silly little songs and funny little dances.   I am amazed at her 5 year old wisdom, and her 5 year old inhibitions.  She is bright and articulate.  To relive childhood through her eyes is priceless.      

5 years later this baby, turned toddler, turned little girl is one of my favorite people on the planet.  And like the doting mom I am, I believe she'll go on to do all sorts of wonderful things in this world.  If she has it her way she'll be a ballerina who is also a painter and a dentist on the side.  Whatever her profession, I have no doubt that the ripple effect of her life will be felt far and wide in kind, joyful, silly, vibrant and happy ways.   

However, if' I've learned anything these past few years it's that you don't love your kids for how smart they are, how funny, cute or sweet they are.  You don't love them for what they bring to the table so to speak.  You love them because they're yours.  All they had to do was show up.  

So no matter what else she accomplishes, I will always been in awe and in debt to the brave little soul who was charged with the task of turning me into a mom.  

To my sweet Princess Sparkle Pants, Thank you for showing up.          
Happy 5th Birthday.  


  1. What a wonderful post. I didn't cry at all, of course ;) I can't believe my sweet girl will be 6 this year, they do grow up a bit too fast for my liking! Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy, Happy Birthday, sweet PSP!!! How we miss your smiling face, long legs, and curious mind:) Do you remember your elephant birthday party with dancing under a ceiling-full of balloons? Your mom always has the best ideas:) Have a wonderful day, and know that people all over the country love you and your family! XOXO, Suzy, Al, Graham, and Audrey

  3. Five was hard for me too this year. If I could go back in time to redo anything, it would be to just have one more day of my daughter as a baby, or even as a two year old. Those days were so drenched in worry that I don't think I enjoyed it like I would today.
    You are so blessed to have the beautiful little PSP, and she is so blessed to have you as her mama.
    Happy Birthday, five year old!

  4. That was beautiful, and completely echoed so much of my own experience. Happy birthday, princess sparkle pants! ;)

  5. Thanks for this! I'm a nervously (and excitedly) expectant first time momma. I'm sure every first time mom has similar feelings.

    Happy Birthday to your baby girl! I can hardly wait to have mine this summer.

  6. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Dearest Miggy,

    Wonderful.... simply wonderful!I She is absolutely the best, like her Mother. (I fondly remember another robust little soul who along with her brother blazed a path that often left their mother simply choking on their dust... And guess what, I still feel that way almost every single day!) So of course PSP is amazing and wonderful and we love her very much!
    Here's to PSP on turning 5...Amazing 5!

    Tears of joy... You all leave me breathless!

    All my love,

  7. So beautifully said, Miggy! I can relate on so many levels. It's so great to hear someone else admit to feeling like your life was over during those first few weeks and months of constant crying and never sleeping. It's a good thing in a way to have had such a rough start because it really makes you appreciate how magical it is to actually ENJOY your child. Darn near miraculous.

    Happy birthday to your sweet girl!

  8. It's so hard to put into words this idea of "I can't believe my baby is..." You've done a nice job. I enjoyed this post for it's honest and real-ness. Motherhood is a joy, but sometimes it's a process to realize that. For what it's worth, I can't believe PSP is 5 either. Seems not so long ago, I just had my oldest and we were riding a subway train to the Children's museum in NYC talking about your baby to be.

  9. Honest, and oh so beautiful.
    I've never thought of it in those words exactly, but we truly do love them for just showing up. Perfect!

  10. I refer to that first year as the Magical Year. I want it back sooo much, sometimes. I feel like I wished it away and I remember having that same feeling when I came home with my first born, "what have I done?"

  11. Happy birthday PSP, and happy anniversary of motherhood Miggy! I can't believe she is 5 either. When we were neighbors she was littler than in that picture of her on the porch of your OH house, but her big, sweet, fun, smart personality was already shining. We love that girl! Please give her a squeeze from J, D, B & I.

  12. I have tears in my eyes- I think because you put so many of the feelings in my heart into words so accurately. Happy birthday to that sweet, wonderful little 5-year-old girl.

  13. That was beautiful! You seriously have an awesome way with words. Happy Birthday PSP!

  14. Aw. I had some very similar tough early days with my now two-year-old and I also think part of the reason I cherish her so much now and feel so irreversibly bonded is because of how much it felt like hell at first. I never had one of those "wish-she-would-stay-this-age" moments until maybe 18 months or so. Lately I have those moments all the time. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Linda P.8:07 AM

    What a very special heartfelt tribute to your precious daughter, Miss Sparkle Pants. Honesty. Adoration. Unconditional love. And the pictures are the best! Such a cute little face she has.

    "You love them because they're yours. All they had to do was show up." Such a sweet way to put it!

    Your words hit the mark just right with me, Miggy, and I thank you for sharing the heart of a mom who loves her girl! Happy birthday to Princess Sparkle, who brings so much sparkle to her family!

  16. Thank you for the post. Mothering is so bittersweet. I am about to begin again and I have so much trepidation, anticipation and excitement about it. My brain turns off trying to comprehend what exactly is ahead of me. I am forced to just be in the moment and I hope that's where I'll always stay. What lucky girls to have you as their Mama...listening to Abba's Slipping Through my Fingers as I type this...

  17. I loved this post, especially reading about P's early days. So beautifully written!

  18. Anonymous6:15 PM

    That is beautiful! What a wonderful post.