The Turning Point of Turning 5


I’ll be honest, when my firstborn turned 1 year old, I was relieved. We made it through the trauma of childbirth, the adjustment of no sleep, the ever-changing nap routines, and transition from bottles, to purees, to solid food. It was a lot! Year two snuck up on me, but I still had a chubby and sweet toddler who very much needed and wanted me. Three was fantastic and a challenge, with my daughter becoming more adventurous and verbal. I was along for the ride as she explored the world in brand new ways. Four seemed unbelievable. The was the first year that I had a hard time accepting how fast time was moving.

Then, there is year five.


Year five, for me, has been a wonder and a little heartbreaking. I’m seeing and experiencing so many ways in which my daughter is becoming her own person. She has gained so much independence and insight. Her empathy has blossomed and she not only thinks about how things affect her, but how they affect others as well. She lost three family members in the past year, which has taught her the hard lesson of death, and she understands what loss really is.

She laughs (like full-belly laughs) at things she finds humorous. She is catching on to jokes and has a really goofy sense of humor. She is acutely aware of fairness and what is right. Her intentions are typically good and she is typically quick to tell on herself when they are not. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is quick to call me out when I fail to have the integrity to do the things I am teaching her to do. There’s nothing like your own child reminding you of the same lessons you are trying to teach them. It humbles me and makes me proud.

Five may seem young, but there is an independence that feels different to me now. She is making friends. She has time away at school that does not include me. She will soon be choosing time with friends over time with family. She will be leaning into her own passions and desires and dreams. I am ready to witness this, but really hope I can relish this time I still have with my daughter. Her frequent questions, her curiosities, her needs are something I hope to respond gently and kindly to, even on hard days. I know there will soon be a time when I’m not even considered anymore.

I never really thought I’d write something like this.

It feels a little mushy-gushy for me, but it’s honest. I’ve wanted to foster independence, critical thinking, kindness, respect and creativity in my child, but to see her actually working it out on her own is incredible. I’m definitely a mom who has moments where I cannot be asked for one more thing or I might just explode, but with each day that passes where I look back and think, “When did we really connect today?” I’ll be sure to play that board game, read that book, go on that donut run and have that 100-questions conversation with my 5-year-old because right now, she still wants me and needs me.


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