If I could just hold it together and get through those first 5 years, everything would work out ok.
And today marks that goal, as she officially turns 5.
In many ways, I was right. Kristina as a 5 year old is a completely different ballpark to play in than Kristina as a baby was. She even goes to bed most of the time at this point! She is completely self sufficient for her basic needs, including getting herself a cup of milk and making a peanut butter sandwich (or at least, she can be when she so chooses to be or is otherwise motivated to be). She has moments of gracious kindness towards Adrianna, and has even been known to help her baby sister with things like getting pajamas on.
But the last 5 years have cost a lot for me. And I'm not sure whether I really succeeded in holding it together all that well or not. Clearly I didn't fail epically, as Kristina has grown into a very well adjusted happy little girl who is more than ready to board that bus and go off to Kindergarten in 6 days. And like, she wasn't smothered with a pillow in infancy.
Without a doubt they have been the longest and hardest 5 years of my life, and there were definitely moments where I think the only way we got through them was on sheer personal willpower alone. The willpower not to give up on this child. The willpower to love this child even when there was no love left to give. The willpower to find more patience for her, even when she burned through all the patience to be had hours ago. The willpower to meet her needs even when they contradicted my own. The willpower to accept the unique quirks that make her Kristina, and the willpower to let go of the preconceived ideas of what this child would be when she demonstrated that she clearly was not them. The willpower to laugh every time I wanted to bury my head in my hands and cry.
Happy 5th birthday Kristina, I'm as amazed by where we have come as you are.