Tomorrow You Are Five

Dear Joshua,

Tomorrow you are five. When you wake up, I’ll give you cupcakes and ask you what you want to do with the day. You’ll say “play Mario Kart Channel” because you’ve been waiting for this day for a year.


There’s something about this birthday that feels so much bigger–more–than the others. It feels like we’re officially closing the chapter on your baby years and now I can’t call you that anymore. You haven’t let me call you that in a while.

(You’ll always be my baby, you know. Always and forever.)

Tomorrow feels so important, like I need to impart all of the wisdom I can to you because you’ll walk out the door into the big, wide world and be doing your own thing before I know it.

I know that’s silly, but the past five years have gone so fast that sometimes when I look into your changing face I see our future.

I see your future and my hopes and dreams for you. Of all my hopes and dreams for you, the single most important one is that you are happy.

But right now you’re just five. You still need me to wipe your tears and hug you and I’m here. Even when we’re frustrated with each other and we can’t find the right words to say just what we mean, I’m here. I love you. Always.

Right now you need me and I love that you need me even when I don’t seem to.

Because the truth is that I feel like I’m losing you a little more with each passing year. Every day takes you just a smidge more out of my reach. I know that’s how it’s supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean when you crawl up into my lap and rest your head on my shoulder that my arms don’t remember what it was like to hold you as a baby and long in the deepest parts of my heart for that feeling to last forever.

I’m scared that feeling won’t last forever.

You are the branches at the top of the tree and I am the roots in the earth. You grow bigger and taller and feel further away and I stay here, firmly planted, supporting you. Being your anchor. Keeping you safe.

I will always do my best to keep you safe.

If you’re a tree and I’m the roots, you’re never really gone from me, are you? No matter how old you are.

I like that. Let’s be that.

Spread your arms and feel the wind and experience life in all its fullness. Try new things. Be kind. Love deeply.

Tomorrow you are five.

But tonight you’re still four.

I love you,


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