A birthday letter to my five-year-old daughter

On your fifth birthday, Kara, what is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

Another year gone by in a flash. It seems like only five minutes ago that I was writing to you on your fourth birthday. Not to mention your third, second and first birthdays. Before we know it you’ll be a stroppy teenager, although sometimes it feels like you are one already. Damn your precocious, can’t-grow-up-fast-enough nature.

It’s been quite a year. You cracked swimming last summer – much earlier than the boys did, as we always suspected you would. And you couldn’t wait to start school. Your reading has come on in leaps and bounds over the past couple of months but that’s only half as impressive as your conversational skills. You’re so articulate and so confident that it’s easy to forget that you’re not two or three years older than you are.

You are still the child who surprises me the most. As I’ve said before, Isaac is very much his mother’s son, while Toby is basically my own Mini-Me. But you are a little from column A, a little from column B and a little from somewhere completely random that I’m not sure is either of us. It’s not just that you’re the one girl among our three – there’s something different, unpredictable and a little bit wild about your personality that I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on. You are such an active, restless, adventurous soul.

I love that about you.

As the third child it would have been easy for us to be a bit complacent with you. Been there, done that, got the vomit-stained t-shirt. There has never been any danger of that happening with you. You keep us on our toes, that’s for sure.

In fact, what you are is a mass of contradictions. Fabulous, unique, occasionally infuriating contradictions.

You’re the smallest member of the family but you unquestionably have the biggest presence. Your laughter, your tears, your personality fill the house with every waking moment.

You have the biggest, kindest, most generous heart in the world and yet there are times when you can be the Evil Monster Strop-Diva from Hell™. Woe betide the future boyfriend who ends up on the wrong side of you.

You are fiercely independent and still a total daddy’s girl. I love it when you snuggle up to me in bed. I love the way you have to give me a big hug before I leave for work every morning. I love the spontaneous little “I love you daddy”s that occur at random moments.

A work colleague recently said that it was obvious you have me wrapped around your little finger. He wasn’t wrong. I let you get away with things the boys never would. I know I shouldn’t but I do.

Every day I genuinely think I learn as much from you as you do from me. Seeing the world through your eyes changes my view of it.

I love that about you too.

There is so much about you I wish would never change. I would love to somehow bottle up essence de Kara and hold on to it forever. And yet change you must because that’s just how life is.

Thinking about it, that’s perhaps the best thing of all. I don’t know whether we have already seen the best of you or whether that is yet to come. But the one thing I am 100% certain of is that it will be quite a ride – and one I hope to continue sharing with you for many years to come.

Love,

Daddy

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