To My Baby on her Fifth Birthday

Dear Sophie,

It is the night before your birthday, and all I can think is Wow! Five years? The days were long, but the years were short, as they say. It feels like the length of a sigh, or the beat of a heart instead of five years since the day I met you.

 My first glimpse of Sophie Arwen
I never expected to know what you would be like before I had you, I could only wonder and worry. But I can truly say, upon looking back, that you have been Sophie since the day you arrived. A hundred times, you have done or said something and the only response to it is "That's Sophie!" I have watched as you went from a curious and demanding baby to an even more curious and even more demanding toddler. You were never content to let the world exist alongside you. Instead, you made yourself known to whoever you met, people and animals, family and strangers, and said "Look at me! I am Sophie, and I won't be ignored!"
You could not possibly be more different from your Mama.
We are two peas in a pod, you and I. Except I am a regular small green pea, and you are pink polka dotted pea with flashing lights and screaming whistles. Sometimes I just stand back and wonder what in the world I am supposed to do with you. It's hard to keep up sometimes. But together, we have had so many great adventures packed into five years. We have visited zoos, camped all over three states (Maine, Arkansas and Oklahoma). We have piled rocks and learned to swim and watched the fireflies come out at night. We have asked and answered a million questions, with a million more sure to come. I can only hope the next five years are the same. We have weathered so many storms already, and I only hope I can give you what you need to weather many more. 
This past year has not been one I ever hope to repeat, and I am terribly sorry that you had to witness and endure the most painful and heartbreaking situation I could imagine a four year old going through, except for death. There are some things I can't explain to you, baby girl, and some things even I don't understand. I thought I knew what life was about, and I thought I knew the people in it, but I didn't and I don't. I can hold your hand, and I can cry with you, and I have. But I can't fix it, and it kills me. If you had asked me five years ago if I ever saw this coming, I would have thought you were crazy. I tried my best, but in the end it wasn't enough, and at this point I don't know if I'll ever understand why your Daddy left. He has his view and I have mine, and they just don't match. I would have gone to the ends of the Earth and back to make things right, but in the end, sometimes you just have to let it go. 
The one thing I can truly tell you is this: you have more love than than you could ever possibly know and then some. Every day, always, I hope you know that you are loved no matter what goes on, or how the day goes or who is here and who is not. The only reason I have been able to make it through any of this, every day, through the worst of it is because I knew I had one precious little girl who depended on me to be her Mama. 
You made me be strong when I didn't think I could. You made me put aside myself and my hurt to look at you and help you through. I held you when you cried and tried to make you laugh and then just cried with you, too. Now that it's just the two of us, I try so hard to wake up every day and say "Today I will do better." Not just for you, but for me, too. So you will see that we can make it through together and we will be just fine. We will laugh, and we will play, and we will travel and see life and have more adventures, both out in the world and here at home. 
You have been on this planet for five years, and you have made more friends, learned more new things, laughed, cried, talked and pouted more than I ever imagined you could. You have have made your way thought those five years as only Sophie could. I am so proud to be your Mama and I want you to know that although your birthday is a special day, every day you are here is special to me.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!