Letter to My Daughter – Happy 5th Birthday!

by Cate on February 11, 2013

Dear Madeline,

How is it possible you are five years old? Sometimes I feel like you’ve been with me forever. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it’s only been five years. And what a wonderful five years it has been. You have never given me one ounce of trouble and are honestly such a joy to be around. Our lives are better for having you in it and I love sharing it with you.

Last week, when I said you were too young for something, you looked at me with your bright eyes twinkling and your little crooked smile and said,”Dude. I’m 16 years old.”

And so it is. Sometimes there *is* a teenager trapped in your little five-year-old body. But sometimes, on a day when you’re tired and I catch you with your fingers in your mouth (fingers four and five), stroking the soft fur of whatever animal is closest to you, you are still very much my little one. And as much as I can’t wait for you to grow, I so want to keep you little. My heart hurts thinking of you not needing me anymore. But, as you told me while we were eating dinner the other night, you are going to live with me forever.

So I have that to cling to.

You love Justin Bieber, Barbies, and animals of all kinds. Well, except snakes. You love the colors pink, purple, light blue, and orange, have a raging sweet tooth, and adore buttered toast. You would eat edamame every day if you could, although you refuse to call it edamame and call them green beans instead. Which is ok as long as you’re not the one placing an order in the restaurant.

You love soccer and art. Oh, art. Watercolors. Crayon drawings. Anything and everything. You are always busy working on little art projects. You leave me little love notes all.the.time. and I love seeing “Maddie loves MomNickDad” and the perfect little hearts you draw. One of your presents was a set of watercolor paint and a new pad of watercolor paper, and the first thing you did was paint your grandparents something. You still love chocolate chip pancakes and have a soft spot for jelly munchkins and apple-filled caramels.  Sometimes your mouth is a bit like a salty sailor, but that is just part of your awesome, full-on personality.

Today you celebrated with cupcakes at school, cupcakes at my office after school, and cookies and chocolate chip pie for dessert tonight. For your birthday dinner, I said you could choose what we did … if we ate out, or at home, and what was on the menu. You thought for less than a second and requested dinner at home. Pizza. Chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Soft chocolate chip cookies, as you later specified.

Your current favorite song is Alicia Keyes’ Girl on Fire, and it is so appropriate. On Saturday when you left to go to your Dad’s, you were crying because you were tired (up too early!) and didn’t want to wear the coat I was making you wear. You let me put it on, I zipped it up, and we hugged and kissed and said our good-byes. As I watched you start to walk down the steps, you turned around and looked back at me.

“Another kiss please?”

I just about melted on the spot. You were upset, but wouldn’t leave without a little more love. You know what matters.

The thing I love most about you is your heart. You have such a kind heart and I don’t know how that happened. But I am so glad it did. You are always thinking of others before yourself, sending cards to people you’re thinking of, giving Grandpa special treats when you visit with him, picking out toys that you want to donate, getting something for your brother if we’re out and he’s not with us. The list is endless. You always put others first and as your Mom, it is so heartwarming to see. In fact this morning you went into school with a watercolor painting you had made for your teachers. Mrs. G. was so touched to be receiving a gift from you when it was YOUR birthday. Last week, you asked me to buy you a heart filled with chocolates for Valentine’s Day. I said ok and made a mental note. Only to find out that you wanted me to buy it so you could give it to me. You truly have a servant’s heart. It may sound like I’m gushing, but I will never apologize for being ridiculously proud of the person you are becoming.


Last night, as you were falling asleep, you reminded me that I need to take your five-year-old picture after school today. One where you can proudly hold up all five fingers, proclaiming a new year to the world.


I could not possibly love you more and I’m so very thankful that I get to spend my life with you.



When she turned 4. Oh yes, and here too. And, um, ok, here too.
When she turned 3.
When she turned 2.
When she turned 1.
The original “birth” day.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy February 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Awwww!! You make me want a child and I have baby fever already! Your Madeline is so precious!


Joanne February 12, 2013 at 7:54 am

This is adorable! And Maddie truly is the sweetest. I adore her and I’m sure you made her birthday super magical!
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Mexican Vegetable Soup with Avocado


Monica February 12, 2013 at 11:10 am

Happy Birthday to Madeline! What a very sweet letter….
And on a side note, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Nick and Madeline have such big, wonderful hearts of gold. Although personality is definitely a factor, so is the warm, loving inspiration Mommy provides them with every day. :-)


paula February 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Happy Birthday Madeline! I’m suddenly finding it incredibly weird that I’ve ‘known’ this girl her entire life but I’m glad I have. Sometimes you hint at things in her personality that make me think she is similar to my 4.5 year old, Dan, but as soon as I read ‘You have never given me one ounce of trouble ‘ I knew that they couldn’t be too similar LOL. Fortunately Dan also brings a lot of joy too, as well as trouble so maybe they are a bit alike after all.

P.S. I clicked on a link somewhere the other day ‘Vintage Names You Don’t Hear Anymore’ and along with names like Leona, Pamela and Joyce, they had Madeline on the list. I know at least three young Madelines ages 5, 13, 20. I thought this name had already made a comeback LOL.


Suzi February 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Happy Birthday Maddie!
I remember the day your Mom announced your arrival…5 years flew by!
Cate- you are a great Mom and the 2 precious littles you have prove it everyday !
Happy Birthday..such a joy watching you grow up!
thanks for sharing!


patsy February 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

Hope Madeline had a very happy birthday! I’m a bit late in catching up on reading blogs, so I missed saying it yesterday!


Kris #40 February 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Great birthday day!

Her “baby” look is almost gone. She will, in my mind, always look like she did when she was 3.


Paula Ann February 14, 2013 at 12:06 am

Why is it that once you have children, the years just seem to fly by? Such a little sweetheart, but with spunk! You must take credit for raising such exceptional children, Cate. It certainly doesn’t happen without wonderful role models! :) Happy 5th Birthday to Madeline!!!


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