She never stops climbing, this one. If there’s a fence, she’s going to scale it. If there’s a bouncy castle, her toes are going to touch every surface and spring off again. If there’s water, she’s going to dive into it.
She never stops climbing.
And she never stops running.
When she was inside me, we knew she’d keep us on our toes, since she danced and wriggled and moved her head about to some internal rhythm, always. And now, we know. This is who she is. This kid feels best when she’s running hard, the wind in her hair.
I took this at the beach, when she could smell the ocean just over the hill. “Come on, you guys! Come on!” she shouted, then turned back to face the wind to see the waves.
She is almost always excited.
Oh, she has her moments, when she’s a little sad or tired, mostly when she’s hungry. She seems to have the metabolism of a hummingbird, so when she has gone a little too long without food, she crashes hard. But 95% of the time, she is giggling or spinning or holding the arms of her friend and jumping up and down squealing as she realizes it’s time to ride the roller coaster for the first time.
It won’t be her last.
If she’s not spinning or dancing or climbing or running, she’s reading. She loves her books. She loves us to read her books. Mostly, right now, she loves to hold books open in her hands and pretend to read us stories.
Most of the time, she’s telling us about her recipes. “And these are my sugar beignets. Would you like some?”
(She doesn’t know yet that we’re working on a gluten-free beignet recipe for our next cookbook. She’ll have that eyes-wide-open expression, then do a little dance when we hand her one.)
She has made some dear, dear friends in this world. She loves nearly every person she meets. (The people she doesn’t like — we don’t trust. Her favorite words for bad guys at the moment? Twerps. “The stepmother from Cinderella is definitely a twerp, Mama.”)
She goes to playgrounds in every city we visit, and within ten minutes she is arm in arm with a girl or boy there. But the friends she knows well, like Anna, in this photo? She dotes on them. She talks about them. She adores them.
It’s wild to see how much of a community she already has.
For more than four years, this kid has given us joy. Sleepless nights, frantic times of worrying about her health, wonderings about the best things to do, a messy room, and scribbles on the walls at times.
But mostly, she has given us joy joy joy.
And yesterday, Lucy turned five.
So this is five.
For the past few months, she has been asking us nearly every day: “Now is it time for me to turn 5?” She has been yearning for it, this age of becoming a big kid. Don’t go so fast, we’d tell her, knowing it was useless. Slow down a little, kid.
This kid? Slow down? Not a chance.
Keep climbing, kid. Climb as high into the sky as you can go.
Keep leaping. We love watching you grow up, Lu.
We’re here, dancing with you, noticing all that light.