This morning after morning Mass, one of our fellow parishioners turned to Father and said, pointing to Sophia, “It’s her birthday today.”
“It’s your birthday!” he cried. “I bet you’re five.”
Sophia proudly held up five fingers in response.
Without missing a beat, our priest reached out his hand and made the sign of the cross on her forehead with his thumb as he spoke a blessing for her on her birthday and for her growth in the coming year.
Five years ago, at 4:18 in the afternoon, I became a mother. On Sophia’s first birthday, Brian and I gave her the first of the little figurines on the shelf above, a tiny blonde baby holding a golden numeral 1.
On that day, Sophia couldn’t even walk. She spoke only a handful of words.
Now, my baby girl is riding swings and reading books and holding the hands of two younger siblings. I stand and stare in awe at the wonder and beauty of this precious life, this daily blessing of my daughter.
We celebrate simple birthdays in our home. There was no big party, no treat bags, no guests. Only family and warmth and a few special traditions well chosen with care.
After Mass, there were birthday pancakes made with sprinkles. Then, a present scavenger hunt commenced. And when wrapping paper fell away to reveal a new board game, well, we had to play that, too.
There was giggling and grinning and all the trappings of little girl joy.
Daddy and brother were good sports. Yes, they are quite secure in their manliness.
Spatulas were licked, a special dinner prepared to order. Hugs galore. And, in the evening, before bedtime prayers, a special time of wishes and blessings, of remembrance and the hopes of another year of life.
Presents, pancakes, Pretty Pretty Princess, and a pink cake.
Five years ago, I became a mother…
…and my heart learned what it truly is to grow.