I tucked you in tonight, my baby. When you wake up tomorrow, we begin a new journey together. Tomorrow, you will be turning 5.

These first four years have held a great number of milestones and changes for you. When we brought you home from the hospital, Daddy and I jokingly referred to you as a little blob. In all honesty, this wasn’t too far from the truth. You were an adorable little blob, but you knew nothing other than to seek comfort. We moved you from place to place, trying to keep our little blob content and, dare we say, happy.

Over the course of the next year, you transformed from tiny blob to sweet baby. You learned to smile, feed yourself, move around, and communicate with the world around you, even if it was in a language we had yet to understand.

As you grew to 2, 3, and 4 years old, you learned an amazing amount of things. With learning to walk and talk came an even bigger challenge — learning to interact with others in an appropriate way. To forge friendships and bond with the people around you.

Simply put, in your first four years, you learned to be a person.

Tomorrow, you will wake up a 5-year-old. You don’t realize it, but a lot of changes begin when you have to use a whole hand to show your age. From my experience with your older siblings, you don’t need to worry. These changes will be harder on me than they will be on you.

You see, these next five years are big ones. You have spent your first four years learning to be a person, while sheltered under my protective mama-bird wing. Starting now is when Mommy needs to start letting you learn to fly.

In the fall, I will let go of your hand as you walk into kindergarten — the start of your elementary school journey. You will learn so many amazing things in school, and although I will be there every chance I get, I know I won’t be right there by your side to share in all those accomplishments. I will have to patiently wait for the end of each day to hear about the exciting things you did.

You will make friends. I won’t be the only one you share your secrets with.

Over the next five years (probably sooner than later), you will stop reaching to hold my hand as we walk to the doors of the school.

But I will never stop feeling the need to reach for yours.

In your first four years of life, you transformed from my infant to my little boy. In the next five years, as you forge the long road to independence, you will transform again. From being my little boy to being my son.

So just before this “turning 5” milestone, I tucked you in tonight as my baby. Tomorrow, you will wake up a 5-year-old. But rest assured, sweet boy. No matter how big you get, and no matter where the road ahead takes us, you will always be my baby.

Deanna Greenstein
Deanna is a mom of five (yes, five) children, who lives in Brockton with her small circus of kids, her husband, their dog Penny, and a few cats. Her life is loud, energetic, mostly fun, often gross (did she mention four of those kids are boys?), and she wouldn't have it any other way. In between carting kids to school, baseball, gymnastics, guitar, dance, track and field and every other kid activity known to mankind, she works as a school bus driver for the city of Brockton, and is the Director of Religious Education at the Unity Church of North Easton, a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Deanna also holds degrees in Elementary Physical Education and Dance Education, which she plans to put back into use one day. At parties, Deanna can often be found hanging out with family pets. She follows her children around with a camera like the paparazzi, is pretty sure that 97% of her blood stream is made of coffee, and her laundry is never done. You can also find her blogging at https://eighteenmoreyearsofburpsandfarts.wordpress.com