Dear Harper,

Today is your 5th birthday. I have big feelings about that. In fact, the ugly cry made an appearance last night as I was frosting your cupcakes and hanging up decorations and begging time to slow down. Your birthdays always make me emotional. I love reminiscing about your birth and the sweet memories your little years gave me and reflecting on the lovely young lady you are becoming right before my eyes. I have overwhelming feelings of happiness and sadness and thankfulness all at once and my heart aches from the beauty of it all. What a privilege it is to be your mama.

I'm certain your daddy and I say "I don't think she could be any sweeter" about you no less than a dozen times a day. You have the kindest, gentlest spirit that radiates like warm sunshine. You are selfless and giving and are always considerate of others. You are hilarious and don't even try to be. You are the best sister -- little and big. You are my fun sidekick and helper and I love spending my days with you. You are so, so special to all of us.

Over the last few weeks you have learned several new tricks -- how to swing by yourself, how to whistle, how to snap your fingers. You are very proud of yourself and in your words, "I just can't believe it! I'm almost a grown up now!" And then you added, "But don't worry, Mommy, I'll still always be your baby." I made you pinky promise right then and there, and you better believe I'm holding you to it.

Oh, Harpie Harp, we sure do adore you.

Love you bigger than biggest,



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