It has only been 5 short years since you became a part of our family.
Oh how those years have gone by in a flash of various shades of pink.
Five seems so big, yet you are still little enough to need help (even when you think you don't). Big enough to pick out your own clothes and dress yourself, and brush your own teeth, and play by yourself, yet small enough to need me when something makes you feel uneasy.
Five, the year that the dark was scary, the year school was amazing, the year you learned to write your whole name, the year we had to go to the library at least twice a week to keep you in books, the year you tried ballet and hip-hop.
At Five you love to cook, get dirty, garden, take baths, not brush your hair, make big messy projects, play dress-up, pet kittens, sleep with all your stuffed animals, play with your friends at school, swim, talk to babies, run, jump in puddles and try just about anything once.
You start each day with unbridled enthusiasm (and often end it that way, much to my chagrin at bedtime.)
Five, Monday- Friday, the days you count down until the "stay-home days" when the whole family can be together.
Five, the number of outfit changes you would go through every day if I pretended not to notice.
At five you keep our home filled with music and dancing and stuffed animals and high-pitched squeals of delight and stickers and art projects and various open lip balms.
At five you say "I love you" and give and receive kisses and hugs with joy in your heart and a huge grin on your face.
At five your best friend is still your brother (in fact much of your world revolves around Ben and what he is doing.)
At five you make this world a sunnier place and make me feel so very lucky to be your mom.
As I sit here writing this note to you I keep thinking of how so very many things change in eleven years.
Where you were once just a baby, so small, relying on us for every need you are now a boy, a pre-teen, someone more than capable of doing it all (but I still love the things you need me to do and the fact that you ask me for help when you need it.)
Just eleven short years ago your day was an alternating pattern of sleeping and eating (well, the eating part you had down, the sleeping, not so much), you now walk and talk and dress yourself and put your own laundry away and unload the dishwasher and build things and so much more.
You make your own lunch, you make friends, you make jokes, you make plans, you make messes (ok, some things don't change that much.)
You have a sister (who adores you.) And I love to hear the two of you laugh and talk when you play together. And even when you don't get along (and there is a distinct lack of laughter) you tend to work things out and play together again like nothing happened.
You are kind and silly and compassionate and serious and fun.
You are an amazing Lego builder (now go put some of them away before I step on them, barefoot.)
Sometimes I walk out into the kitchen in the morning and see you there and I just stop and wonder how it is that you seemingly grew another inch overnight.
I am so proud of how well you are doing in school and how much you love to read.
I love that you still let Dad read to you every night (I know you love this too, but you may never know how much your dad loves this.)
I love to read your "Human Beans" comics and the stories you write.
I love to hear (after we pry it out of you) what you are working on at school, who your friends are, what you did today.
You are my reminder to slow down, to savor the moment, to write it down, to take a photo, to make a memory.
Ben, I love you on today, your birthday, and every day.
And I'm so glad that I get to be your mom. Ben, age 11.