Motherhood & Words

My little Zoë, who is not so little anymore, turned five yesterday. FIVE! She’s still little—I know this—and I know I still have a few more little girl years left with her. Nonetheless, there is something about FIVE that seems so big, so kindergarten, so “I’m over you, Mom!”

I can imagine the drama and sass in our future; this kid already has more than her share of attitude. But I’m hoping her sweet ways will carry us through. And she is a sweet, sweet kid. I love the way her voice gets super (painfully) high when she’s talking to the dog or to her twin one-year-old cousins. I love how, at dinner, if we are saying something that we’re thankful for, she always says, “I’m thank you for my sister. I’m thank you for Aguita. I’m thank you for our family.” I love her eccentricities: the aversion to underwear because it’s “uncomfortable” even though she often rocks tights to bed and wears two or three too-tight-in-the-sleeves shirts at the same time; I love (okay, only sometimes) her refusal to receive help brushing her hair even though she can’t reach the back of her head, so she ends up looking like she lives in a boxcar. I love her mostly-age-appropriate lying (sometimes it goes too far) and the way she loves to snuggle with me (meaning she grabs me in a head-lock and makes me lie down next to her, my head on her chest.) I love that she is learning her letters and paid Stella ¢26 to help her write them properly. I love that she sings on the way to school, even though I’ve had to resign myself to more top 40 than I’d like.

This past weekend, we celebrated Zoë with a family party then a kid party (CRAZY!) and then a preschool pizza and cupcake party after her circle of life celebration. (If you have never been to a preschool Montessori circle of life celebration, which D had not until yesterday, you must make it a priority. My favorite part was when her classmates got to say their wishes for her—110 presents, 1021 presents, chocolate cake, and “I just want to give you a birthday hug!”)

Just wishing a happy birthday to my baby, my big girl. I love you!



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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Angie Mizzell on March 7, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I loved this tribute to your daughter and 5. My oldest just turned 7, and I swear that’s the reason I wake up sometimes in the night in a near panic. (or perhaps, I crazy). I remember how it felt for him to turn 5. And I’m not ready for my two other little ones to hit that mark. I’m writing this comment at the gym, and I was just talking to one of the instructors. Her daughter turned 13 today. 13!

    Then I popped over to Facebook, and another writer mom was talking about her daughter turning 12. And so I know, as challenging as these years can be, I’m soaking them in.

    I loved the line about Zoe looking like she lives in a box car!

    • Kate on March 7, 2013 at 9:06 am

      This is so funny, because as I was writing this post, I thought about how Stella will be TEN in September – double digits! – and I know that will feel so old. So each year is a milestone, isn’t it?

  2. Marilyn on March 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Happy birthday zoe!

    • Kate on March 8, 2013 at 7:08 am

      Thank you, Marilyn! So excited to see you later today!

  3. Carin on March 8, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Ha! Yeah, that comment about your daughter looking like she lives in a box car could have been written about my 6 year old. She has the craziest hair. Lovely tribute 🙂

    • Kate on March 8, 2013 at 7:10 am

      Thank you, Carin! And I’m glad we have kindred spirits!

  4. Kate Edenborg on March 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I am glad I am not the only one who gets headlock snuggles from their 5 year old.

  5. Andrea on March 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    What a lovely tribute to a sweet kid!

    Also, I’ve always wanted to live in a boxcar (and I think my hair usually makes it look like I do, too).

    And, it was fun meeting you in real life the other day!

    Hope you’ve recovered from all that birthday fun and the traveling!

  6. Emily on March 14, 2013 at 9:44 am

    She’s five? And Stella will be TEN???? It doesn’t seem possible for time to move so fast. Happy Birthday, Zoe!

    • Kate on March 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you, Emily!! How are you? I miss being in touch!

  7. Cecilia on March 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Happy birthday to little (??) Zoë! My gosh, I think she was just 2 or 3 the last time I remember….A lovely tribute, and a wonderful age to look forward to (as you already know)!