To Erin on Turning Five

Your face when we surprised you on your fifth birthday party will remain in my mental storage for a very long time. You asked for a party with all your friends but we told you because you have that fate (as some humans do) of being born on a rotating holiday (Thanksgiving) we weren't able to do a party this year. "Thanksgiving will be your party this year Squish." It was too easy. Except the part where your face would go long and sad. It was only bearable because secretly dad was scouring pinterest for party games and making TOP SECRET birthday invitations.

I may have been the parent, dressed in pink for your honor, dancing with ten little girls to Katy Perry remixes during Freeze Dance but you should know Dad did a lot of the work. I arranged for Emily, Olivia and Maggie to come and help. They did the nail salon and the candy necklaces. (Grandma woke up super early to stealthily collect a heap of candy with holes at the store!) And of course we had to have the face painter come--you live for a great spray of art on your face. This one was remarkable, transformed you into a blue fairy with jewels and flowers. It could've stayed on your face for days except, well, Thanksgiving dinner the next day required a decorum of sorts.

Your birth and its anniversaries have a curious effect on me, Erin. With every year added to your personal resume, I become more aware of life. By that I mean I feel a sense of awakening--deeper as you grow. It can be both freeing and painful. Freeing because I can peel off layers of shame and expectation that I have heaped upon me in my life. Painful because it can also feel remarkably exposing, raw and lonely. I wish I could explain this better, but maybe you'll read this one day and not need any further explanation, you'll just know how I felt.

And if not, that's ok.

I do want to say something absolute. It's this: you came to earth for a reason...because we wanted you. Your Dad and I wanted to love you. I remember feeling so ornery and tired and I took a pregnancy test in the blueish green bathroom upstairs and when it confirmed that I was pregnant I was so thrilled, I felt buzzy. I took the stick downstairs and tossed at Dad who was sitting crossed legged on the floor with Ever and Anson. He said something like, "Well, there it is."

You'll probably find thousands of reasons why you are alive. Hundreds and thousands of reasons. And they can all be true if you want them to be. If they make you feel strong and purposeful, please gather them up. Have a huge, colorful collection of reasons why you are here, but please don't for get the very first reason: because we wanted you.

Maybe someday you'll also be 39 and you'll be awaking up and fumbling and looking around for clues and searching in science and consciousness and faith to tell you why you are here. And maybe you'll read this and realize the answer is far more simple than you thought.

And the truth is: you're even better than I could've imagined. I am so glad you came.

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