This week our Pearl turned 5! She is feisty and goofy, hilarious and serious. She loves to follow (and enforce) rules. She likes clear boundaries and expectations and so, I hope, will thrive in school this coming fall. She likes being in charge (classic oldest sibling) and is quite competitive. She is a true introvert and slow to open up with new people but once she feels at ease she reveals her inner goofball and she loves her people hard. She still loves cars and animals, she likes doing crafts and science experiments, and she is very excited about all the things a five-year-old can do. She is excited to learn to read and to tell time and to tie her own shoelaces. She is a lot like me and a lot like her dad and also entirely her own person.
At least once a day I think about how grateful I am for Pearl. For her unique personality and everything she brings to our lives and our family. For the fact that, really, she’s an easy kid and I’m really, really lucky to be her mom. And, as I do each year at this time, I feel an overwhelming thankfulness for her physical health and well-being. Five years ago I cried in the parking lot outside BC Women’s Hospital after being told our baby had a heart defect. Five years ago she entered the world in an operating room full of doctors and specialists and I held her for a few minutes before she was whisked away to the NICU. I often hear moms talk about the day their babies were born as “the happiest day of my life”. Pearl’s birth day was not the happiest day of my life. It was scary and hard and exhausting and confusing. Happy, yes. Happiest, no. I don’t know if I could choose just one “happiest day” but a strong contender would be the one a few days after Pearl was born. The day the cardiologist was able to fully examine her and run tests. The moment Peter placed her in my arms and told me, “The cardiologist says her heart is 100% healthy”. Five years ago, by the grace of God, we brought a perfectly healthy baby home.
We’ve re-visited Children’s Hospital several times since then. A few times in the year after Pearl was born and about once a year since then. We’ve had Rose’s heart checked out too. Both girls have no heart issues. Pearl’s kidneys continue to be monitored but she also continues to be symptom-free. At our most recent check-up in the fall, her specialist said we won’t need to return for two more years. This will be our longest stretch without a visit to Children’s.
Last weekend we celebrated our girl. Friends and family gathered and showered her with love. After all the chaos and fun ended my overwhelming feeling was, “What a great community we have”. I feel such a huge gratitude for the family that have supported us and for the friends that we get to share this life with. We have such an awesome community of other parents in our town here and I love watching our kids growing up together. I’m so happy that Pearl has the friends she does.
Pearl’s chosen theme this year was “Weasels”. While I’m beginning to think I need to start steering my kids toward easier birthday parties, it was fun to put this one together. Etsy came to the rescue with a weasel t-shirt, a weasel cookie cutter, and some weasel artwork. We even found a bulk order of die-cast weasels and Pearl made necklaces to go in the goody bags. This year we decided to serve brunch and dished up waffles with multiple toppings to choose from.
Pearl, introvert that she has, told me at the end of the day, “It’s tiring having so many people around.” But she also loved every minute of her party, surrounded by people who love her, eating waffles.
And she ended the day by losing her first tooth. So we’re definitely dealing with a big kid now.