On March 28, 2012, two days after my due date, I went to my doctor. About my age, four children, graduating top of her class at Columbia and completing her residency between pregnancy 1 and 2, Dr. Fiorelli is not an alarmist. But that day, after my scan, Dr. Fiorelli told me that my placenta was losing too much fluid. It was non-negotiable. I had to be induced that day.
“So you will have your baby on the 29th, which is my wedding anniversary,” she told me.
We went to the hospital the evening of March 28th to be induced. I won’t give you all the details, but you could do the quick math when I tell you that it wasn’t until Friday March 30th, when Sophia Eleanor Kovall finally decided to enter the world.
So, what does it mean to be five?
When I asked Sophia she says “It means I am going to be bigger” quickly followed by “It means I am going to be six.”
Five year olds are literalists; they will tell it as it is. You want an honest answer, just ask. The other day, I came home with straight hair. She bluntly tells me, “You look like mommy in the face and the body but not your hair. I like it curly better.” When I am wearing make-up she says, “Mommy, you look beautiful. You still look pretty without make-up but you look better with make-up.” (Thanks, Sophia). Sophia has also become the master of the “why”; why there is an American flag hanging on one building and not another? Why there are cracks on only one side of the sidewalk? Why is there water on the street going into a sewer? And the more pointed questions. The other day, while walking past a homeless man, she said “Mommy, does that man not have a home? Why?”
So what does five mean for a 39 year old mother?
It means that she is the age of one of my hands.
It means she still has that adorable baby-like voice which I never want to change yet understands the meaning of big words like “distracting” and “remember” and “responsibility” (although she says “extracting” and “benember” and “esponsibility” and I don’t have the heart to correct her).
It means when I look at her, especially her face, I immediately remember what she looked like when I first took her back from the hospital yet I could just as easily imagine what she will look like five years from now.
It means that she is my helper; she wants to help me take the dishes out of the washer, fold the laundry, make eggs yet she needs me to make her breakfast, get her water, seltzer, then at times help with her socks and shoes all at once.
It means that at times she is my biggest protector; she will tell me to be careful with scissors, not to pick at my nails because I could hurt myself, and to be careful when crossing a street. Then at other times, it means that I need to remind her there are no monsters in her room, under her bed, and there is no reason to be scared of the dark.
It means that at times she wants to do it all by herself and then at others wants me there every step of the way.
It means at times I think I am speaking to my best friend and "equal" in age then at others, remember that I am speaking to a young child.
It means it has been half a decade since my life changed forever, for the better.