My Daughter’s Fifth Birthday. Forever Young. I Want Her to Be Forever Young.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Daughter's fifth birthday

Wanted to share my Huffington Post piece about the bittersweetness of my beautiful daughter’s fifth birthday. Thank you to everyone who reached out with such wonderful feedback!

Published February 10, 2015.

My Daughter’s Fifth Birthday

One beautiful afternoon in Central Park, my husband and I sat and discussed having a child. Today, that child celebrated her fifth birthday. Though I’m not quite sure how that happened.

The other night, as we sat giggling in her bed discussing how much fun her birthday party was, I realized this is such a big moment.

This is her last year of little girlhood.

This is her last year of pretend.

This is her last year of innocence.

Next year starts kindergarten, riding buses, meeting kids whose parents I won’t know and won’t meet. Of her being on her own.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Daughter's fifth birthday

A Fifth Birthday Is Big Time

I was thinking of last year when she was three, dying to turn four and telling her to enjoy being young. To enjoy being three. Four would come soon enough. Somehow those 365 days were a mere snap. Three to four was a marginal transition. Four to five is huge.

Now, as I sit here thinking of her turning five I think of all the things that begin with school. Real school starting. Five, the age in which you leave your littleness and become simply “a kid.”

Becoming A Real “Kid”

Will she still want to snuggle with me as much as humanly possible?

I hope so.

Will she still look at the world with giant, sweet, innocent, sparkly eyes?

I hope so.

Will she still know there is nothing bad in the world?

I fear not.

Maybe it’s that impending loss of innocence that makes me sad.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Daughter's fifth birthday

What Is To Come?

The first time she will hear a curse word on the bus or learn what flipping her middle finger means.

The first time someone tells her not liking a parent is an option.

The first time — as a girl — someone makes her feel ugly or fat or less than the perfect, sweet, thoughtful, caring little person she is without even trying.

I think about that a lot. How girls — at some point in their lives — are made to feel less than. I’m not sure when that moment comes or how, but I fear it is inevitable. I would LOVE to have one of you respond and tell me that moment never happened to you because, sadly, I feel it is a horribly evil rite of passage.

I Want to Keep Her Innocence

It’s hard enough to be a girl without someone making you feel bad. I don’t want my baby to ever feel bad. I don’t want my baby to ever think she is anything but fantastic. I don’t want her to ever cry because she feels her arms are too hairy or her tush is too big or her hair is too frizzy.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Daughter's fifth birthday
Photo Credit: Blink Photography

I think of all the things adults care about and judge each other on and then I think about it through her eyes and how none of it matters. When do we ruin these children to think these things matter?

I stare at this miracle human being I grew in my belly and want to bottle her happiness, joy and innocence today so I can serve it to her on that day she comes home crying to make her feel better. Because my “Mama-magic” and special hug just won’t cut it anymore.

I think and wonder how do all these kids who I watch make picture upon picture for each other and beg each other for play dates become mean girls.

I’m Not Ready For Mean Girls

Is it jealousy?

Is it boys?

Someone tell me so she doesn’t ever have to feel hurt.

Someone tell me what to buy her so she can slide through school unfazed. Unhazed.

So she doesn’t ever have to feel sadness.

So she doesn’t ever get made fun of because one part of her body pops out one way while another part pops out another. Both completely out of her control and completely confusing to her.

So she doesn’t ever have to do something she doesn’t believe in because someone is pressuring her into it.

So she can remain happy. Every day.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Daughter's fifth birthday

My baby. My beautiful girl. It all starts at five.

Published by Stacey Wallenstein

Stacey Gish Wallenstein created The Mint Chip Mama blog in 2013 to share her love and passion for giving children meaningful life experiences and helping moms like her navigate the challenges and benefits of raising children in the New York metropolitan area. Before becoming a full-time mom in 2010, Stacey spent the better part of the preceding decade as a high-end customer relationship management (CRM) professional for some of the most well-known brands in the hotel, luxury, fashion, and beauty industries, such as Harrah’s Entertainment, Chanel and Christian Dior, Inc. She managed customer loyalty programs for thousands of clients around the country and created social media strategies for a span of industries including healthcare services, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, local attractions and retail locations. After 13 wonderful years in Manhattan (the last three of which spent as a city mom), Stacey and her husband moved to Long Island in 2014, where they now reside with their three children (13, 9, and 7). There, she is a founding member of her local Parenting Center, which provides classes and coordinates events designed to educate and inform parents while fostering an environment of support and friendship within the community. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Stacey has been active in the New York area alumni organization for nearly twenty years, serving as a board member on the school’s University of Michigan Alumni Club of New York City. She also holds a Masters in Psychology from The New School in New York City. Please check out The Mint Chip Mama in the Press: The New York Post, Psychology Today, NY Metro Parents, New York Family, Parents Magazine, Newsday, News 12, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids, NerdWallet, Big Apple Kids Guide, and more! The Mint Chip Mama was also nominated as "The Best Blog On Long Island" for 2022 & 2023, one of the Top 20 New York Mom Blogs & Websites, and one of the Top 100 Mom Lifestyle Blogs on the web! For more updates, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.

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