It’s time I acknowledge that this has pretty much become an annual blog. Much of it is down to just how busy life is now. The volume of blogs significantly decreased with the loss of day naps. Oh, how I miss day naps! Now, a 30-minute car nap is the elusive unicorn I chase (if only it could coincide with a nap for myself, I would be happy). Anyway, that’s pretty much the only time I could make for blogging, and now it’s gone.

However, I think it’s important to keep the grand tradition of writing to my daughter each year alive, so here’s one for the big five-year-old.

What a year it has been. A lot has happened. And if I look at who you are now I am absolutely amazed at how grown up you are compared to your four-year-old self. Your baby wisps of hair are gone, and now you have this gorgeous mane of blond hair. You sing all the time, chattering to yourself, making up stories and creating your own imaginary universe. This contradicts greatly with your default position of realist. No imaginary friends for you. If I even suggest a unicorn could be in the sky, you roll your eyes at me (oh god, what are those teen years going to be like?) and say, “Mum, unicorns aren’t real-life.” Oh, how silly I am!

This year has introduced some pretty serious things for you. You lost a family member earlier this year; you’ve learned about divorce; and you’ve lost touch with some people who have been a big part of your life for a long time. You asked serious questions, logical questions to get through some of these trying times. You remained practical and thoughtful, reminding me that we can learn a lot from the behaviour of children. Sometimes it feels like children understand so much more than us. When we say, “it’s not fair”, they seem to understand the mechanisations of life a bit better, simpler.

For me, it was a learning year. I wasn’t the best Mumma all of the time this year. I had my own demons to battle in the early part of your fifth year, which was a bit of a self-discovery journey for me. I emerged understanding more fully what is important to me, and who I want to be, and how I want to go about that. I want to make a difference in the world, and I want to be an example to my daughter of strength and compassion. And hopefully I am doing that for you.

We now have four months left before you start school. Every Thursday I’m conscious that the clock is running down on our weekly special day together. You are so, so ready for school. I’m just not sure I’m ready. But we will be when we get there. In the meantime, I’m going to make sure every Thursday is full of love and specialness, because I know we will never get this time back. I know that there will always be time to do chores, but there won’t always be time to spend the day holding hands, and walking in sunshine.

And you? What are you like as a five-year-old?

You are loud, you are opinionated, and you are absolutely hilarious. You love a joke (just like your Dadda), and you crack up all the time. You even get a joke like an adult. I can actually make a sarky comment to you and you crack up, with full knowledge of what sarcasm is! It always surprises me how much you can converse like an adult now. How much more you understand the world than we give you credit for.

You love your friends, you talk about marrying your friend Lara. You can’t walk past a Beanie Boo, always drawn in by those sparkly eyes. You call pins and needles in your legs “fizzy legs”. You are obsessed with Paw Patrol (and occasionally Octonauts). You now get pissed if we go to the shops without buying you something. You will eat anything once (not necessarily twice, but more often than not twice!). Unlike most children you don’t like to order the same flavour of ice cream – you always like to try something you have never had before (a quality I admire). You no longer wear tights, preferring leggings and socks. You swim like a fish, and on our recent holiday you would have preferred to spend all day every day in the pool. You are still obsessed with your Gran. Sometimes Mumma is your favourite, but mostly Dadda is your favourite (though you like to switch depending on who is giving you the response you are looking for). Your favourite foods are lasagne and pizza, but you will also always devour a vegetable stir fry. Your favourite colour is now blue, and you say that’s because of Dolly Everett, which makes me amazingly proud of you for the compassion you show. You like to craft, and you’ve started to read (though you still prefer it if I do it).

You are our funny, clever bright little spark. You light up every single room like beams of sunshine going through it. And when we don’t start the day with a cuddle I feel like I’m missing a little slice of warmth inside me that your presence gives me.

I’m more proud of you than ever. I’m proud of the person you’re becoming. I’m proud of the thoughtfulness and kindness you show everyone around you. I’m proud of your determination, your strength, your passion for the environment, and your ability to speak your mind.

The year ahead is a huge one, but I know you’re going to take it in your stride. And I will continue to sit back, and watch you in wonder!

Happy birthday my love.


Read next: To my daughter on her fourth birthday