Oh my daughter, there are so many things I never knew before you.
Five years ago I never knew how much I would love glitter and sparkles and unicorns. I never knew how much beauty would be an ongoing conversation and a choice and an example I would have to live out for you every day so that you would have a voice in your head that speaks louder than any mirror.
And that it would be my voice.
I never knew I would have a shadow who wanted to walk in my shoes, wear my perfume, listen to my music, try all my favorite foods, and whisper all her precious questions about whether she really is a princess.
I never knew that Disney princesses would be so important and that I’d lie in bed with you and spend ages discussing the beauty and power of Rapunzel’s hair, the bravery of Belle for saying no to the pushy Gaston, the smarts of Elsa for knowing better than to want her sister to marry a man she’d only just met.
I never knew you’d take the time to really understand the women behind the Disney marketing.
I never knew what it would feel like to watch your daddy dance with you. Or your brothers sit next to your bed and play ponies with you.
I never knew there would be someone in our family who liked to talk as much as me. Who had more questions than I could ever answer. And who loves her some long bubble baths.
I never knew what it would feel like to lie in bed next to you and listen to you name all the things you love about yourself – your smile, your loud laugh, your singing. I never knew listening to you love being a girl would be so empowering for me as a woman.
I never knew that manicures on the deck with a rainbow of little fingers would be something I’d choose, on purpose.
I never knew I could cheer so hard for a Christmas concert or have so much fun watching the most disorganized ballet class ever.
I never knew laughter and tears would come so loud and so easily.
I never knew how many feelings I would have to navigate on a pendulum of an otherwise ordinary Monday.
I never knew how much friendship could ache for little girls or how much it could mean.
I never knew that we’d lie in bed and whisper about what your prince charming might look like one day – how we’ll recognize him by his kindness and his sense of humor.
I never knew how having a girl would mean I’d make my own peace with being a girl.
But five years ago I knew for sure our family wasn’t complete yet. Not by a long shot. Not till you arrived. Our little firecracker of life and grace.
Five years isn’t enough yet. Not by far.
I can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow, baby girl. And the next day. And all the days after that.