I want to write a sweet post about my daughter on her 5th birthday.
But lately, the sweetness is hard to find.
She pushes the limit of my patience with her opinions on everything, her sensitive spirit almost becoming a thorn in my side as she weeps at the littlest disappointment. She's determined to make decisions for herself, rarely swayed by our more experienced advice, no matter how hard we try to convince her otherwise. She's easily frustrated at anything she's unable to instantly accomplish and often refuses to try it if she's even remotely failed once.
I feel disconnected from her - like pawn in her daily game of chess, anxiously awaiting for her next move and wondering if I'll be knocked out or kept in play.
Her sweetness, which was once like her little sister, in constant smiles and frequent laughter, is less obvious, at least for me. Her bright beautiful pinks and reds are often awkward shades of orange, still magnificent in the right light, but otherwise harder to appreciate.
But when I step back and see her laying in the sun, I see the sweetness - the way she buys her brother a present with her birthday gift card, talks out of the side of her mouth when she's trying to be funny, and how she sings about how she never gets anything or does anything fun because I told her that she may not speak about them.
"Noooooobody likes me. I neeeeeevvverrrrrrrr get any pressennnnnnnnnnnnnnts. Life is terrribllll-la la la laaaaaa."
Even after five years as a mom, I feel like I'm brand new at his, mapping a course that has yet to be sailed.
On some days, I hold on for dear life, just trying to make it to another day without getting washed out to sea, the waves of emotion the sheer challenge of staying afloat often enough to make me toss myself overboard.
On others, I feel like I'm tied to the mast in a life jacket while she steers.
"I'm sailing! I'm SAILING!" I scream, like Bill Murray in What About Bob.
There are days, however, and there will be many more, where the water is smooth, and the wind in my face, though it tangles my hair and dries out my eyes, feels pretty damn amazing.
Regardless of what color you're "wearing" Quinlan, I'll do my best to see you in the right light. Happy 5th Birthday.
[photo credit Mom-101]