The Big 5

Dear Ane,

Today is your fifth birthday. I can hardly believe it. Has it really been five years since you gave me one of the biggest scares of my life and came out of fetal distress without any complications?

You are every inch a strong-willed little girl now. Even the roundness of your face has been melting away, leaving me with a young lady on the cusp of kindergarten – next September. I still have a hard time comprehending that, Ane. You see, I remember kindergarten myself with startling clarity. The thought that you are making the memories that you will carry with you for the rest of your life (and I know that you are, because it’s quite clear that you inherited my memory) is a sobering one. I hope and pray that we will continue to make good memories with you during this next year of your life.

And I hate to tell you this on your birthday, but – your little brother? He’s not leaving. Yeah. I know he can be annoying. I also know that you’re the one picking most of the fights. But I also know that you love him, deep, deep, DEEP down. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t miss him so much when he’s at school, and you’re home alone without him.

Oh, and you can’t move in to Grandma’s house, either. Grandma likes having you around for periods at a time, but she really does just like being Grandma to you. And Tad’s not moving in there, either. Sorry.

You are growing so fast, and it seems so natural to me that you talk like someone much older (your favorite expressive phrases being “Good grief!” and “Holy cow!”) – and then you start acting like, well, a five year old. The disconnect is something that Mommy and Daddy are constantly having to work on. You can be very tender and loving one second, and then try and belt your brother in the mouth the next.

My greatest wish for you in this coming year is that you truly learn what compassion is. You have great sympathy for people sometimes, but then you forget to apply it to other people. I really want to find a way to draw out your servant’s heart in this next year, and use it to soften your sharper edges and make you more tolerant of human frailties. To put it into a five-year-old’s language, I want you to learn to be nicer to people. Especially to people in your family. I would like familiarity to breed understanding instead of contempt.

Ane, you have such potential. Once you get your tremendous will set on something, there is little you will not be able to acheive. One of the things I love to think about is what you will accomplish when you are older. One of my greatest joys is seeing your tastes and talents unfold right now, and I hope I will get to see them blossom and bear fruit as you grow.

I love you so much, my dear daughter. May goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life.

Happy 5th Birthday!


Ane brought out her parasol (a gift from Obachan this Christmas) and said, “Here, Mommy, take a picture of me in front of the tree. Then show it to me on the camera.” I obliged. Thank heaven for digital cameras.

And this is her birthday cake. She hasn’t seen it yet – I baked the cakes earlier, but constructed it after she went to bed. The box that the Cinderella doll came in is on the table waiting for her – she will get it at breakfast. The doll is hers – after it comes out of the cake. The five rosettes at the bottom is where the candles will go. Yes, I did this all myself. I am crazy. I hope she likes it.

4 Responses to “The Big 5”

  1. Resiss
    December 27th, 2008 12:14

    Happy Birthday Ane! I hope we can make it to your party through the snow and ice.

  2. Matthew
    December 27th, 2008 12:15

    Happy Birthday Ane!

    And, my GO0DNESS(!) that cake looks awesome! You are very talented!

  3. Secha
    December 29th, 2008 04:50

    happy Birthday, Ane!

    That’s a beautiful cake! I love it!!

  4. Nana
    January 1st, 2009 13:59

    So happy we were there !!