My dearest, sweetest, Amelia,
I can hardly catch my breath - you have, in the blink of an eye, gone from five pounds to five years. Weren’t you, just a blink-of-an-eye ago, lying in a UV bed to decrease your bilirubin levels, in an incubator to regulate your temperature, and back in the UV bed, because you were really having a hard time with your bilirubin situation, and then finally in my arms; cooing and smiling while I sang you lullabies, studied your eyelashes, and memorized every groove and contour of your tiny fingers?
And weren’t you, just barely, splashing pureed strawberries on the wall; waving, smiling, and shouting at strangers - demanding the world acknowledge the your tiny presence; clutching fingers, sofas, railings, and hedges until you burst bravely from your babyhood?
And darling, I’m sure it was just a moment ago that you were spouting invectives against cherries, bedtime rituals, and shoes; when you decided unflinchingly that you would never don another pair of pants, when you announced one morning that you were done suckling from my breast, when you decided Daddy was your favorite human in the universe.
It really was just second ago that you - out of the blue - sang the ABC song you’d learned at preschool; when you learned to put on your jacket unassisted by flipping it over your head; when you Velcroed your shoes in triumph. And just a second ago that you were big enough to help me roll out cookies, apply your own icing, and pour sprinkles straight into your mouth.
I am fairly certain it was just yesterday, love, that you found so many reserves of courage; when you started making friends, too many to count, for whom you drew pictures and wrote love letters in the evenings; when you began to ascend fenceposts, swing frames, walls, and giant rocks; when you waded into swimming pools, rivers, and oceans without reserve, gracefully waving your arms as you dance into the swirling waves. When you earnestly declared that when you are big, you will marry Daddy and be a ballerina kid doctor.
Time is a cruel thief, my little bug. My most cherished moments are spent watching you grow and learn and expand. But, and you know this by now, I wish that I could keep you as you are, twirling in your beautiful gowns and giggling as you discover how much the world has to offer.
But I won’t. I swear a thousand oaths that I will not hold you back; I will cheer as you run farther and farther and taller and taller. I will kiss your scraped knees when you fall, but I won’t hold you down. Go forth, my darling daughter, my impossibly big five-year-old; go run, jump, twirl, laugh, splash, fall, and grow.
You are magnificent.