AK, do you know what a fun ride these last five years have been?
You came into this world half a decade ago and I never could have guessed what joy you would bring to my heart. I have never met anyone like you. Every day you make us all laugh, and you yourself spend a large percentage of your day laughing. You laugh loud and hard. You think that Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper is the funniest person on earth, maybe after your dad.
You are the best playmate for both Claire and Owen. You and Claire will spend hours pretending, and I will often find Owen with you in your room listening to music and jumping off the bed. You love to do your schoolwork and always ask to do it even on Saturdays. You are learning to read and I especially love to catch you reading to Owen. Your favorite books are about animals, and you also love animal documentaries. Other than documentaries, your favorite show is the Pioneer Woman cooking show. You don't mind spending time alone, usually building things with blocks and then putting your little horses inside your creations.
You are still super protective of Owen, which often manifests itself in you tackling him to protect him from some dangerous situation. Today you had him in a strangle hold, and if I hadn't lived with you for the last five years I might have thought that you were being aggressive. But no, you were just trying to prevent him from falling out of his chair. So you grabbed him around the neck, of course.
You will be five years old tomorrow and you still haven't learned how to walk. You run, skip, gallop, and dance, but rarely just walk across a room. I always say that's because you are really a fairy, not a human. You are very slow to admit if you are hurt or sick. You are naturally a non-complainer when it comes to things like that. You love gymnastics, and you are really excited about playing soccer this year.
You are one of the sweetest kids I know. What makes you even sweeter is that you don't do things for attention or with an ulterior motive. You are just genuinely, spontaneously sweet. You are quick to give compliments - the other day you told me, "Mom, you are the best cooker in the world. And daddy too." You are just as quick to show gratitude. You are always thanking me for things when you notice them - "Mom, thank you for washing my favorite shirt!!!" And you are just as quick to think of others. At the library yesterday when you heard that they were running low on green food coloring which was being used for a science experiment, you leaned over and whispered to me, "Mom, I'm not going to use any food coloring because they don't have enough for everybody." This morning we were shopping for your birthday party and you asked me to buy a large pack of birthday candles so that everyone at your party can have their own candle in their cupcake.
On the other side of the coin, you can be impulsive in other ways. Because you are such a free spirit and emotional being, you have always struggled with self-control. But it has been so neat to watch you actually developing in that area lately. You have always been a thumb-sucker, but lately you have been trying so hard to fight against that impulse. You will look at me at nighttime and say, "I want to suck my thumb so bad!" but fight against the urge to give in. I'm so proud of you for trying!
You have the superpower of smell, and you are very quick to point out when things (or people) don't smell good (including myself after I go running). You invited your basketball coaches to your birthday party. You are cold-natured and always ask to eat your breakfast in front of the space heater. You are the best helper. You love to help me cook and you love to help Daddy fix things. You are very mechanical minded and understand intuitively how things work. You often snort like a pig when people greet you. You take initiative when you see a need and try to do things yourself rather than ask for help, which often leads to a mess but it's a good kind of mess. You often get out of bed at night because it occurs to you as you are going to sleep that you forgot to give either Daddy or myself "the biggest hug in the world." You love the song "The King of Love my Shepherd Is" and you hate the story of Adam and Eve. You beg me not to read it from the Bible storybooks because you hate the part where they have to leave the garden. Behind your funny faces is a very sensitive and thoughtful heart, a beautiful heart that your Creator is developing with a great purpose.
Every night you ask me to do "the bird", which is when I pick your blanket up, fan it up in the air, and let it come back down to rest on you. I don't know why you named that "the bird" but I'm sure it makes perfect sense in your wonderful little mind. Then you grab me around the neck and say, "I want you to never leave this room. I want you to sleep in my bed all night and never leave me." I always tell you I have to leave your room because what would Daddy do without me? But mostly what I want to do is grab you back and say, "I want you to stay my little girl forever and never leave me."
AK, you are something special. You are our precious gift from God, and we love you a million, a thousand, and six. Happy birthday, our sweet almost-five-year-old!