She goes to sleep tonight in anticipation.
Tomorrow she'll be six.
She knows that birthday tradition promises the lounge room to be filled with balloons, and a present awaiting her. She requested pancakes for breakfast, and they're prepared, ready for what will almost certainly be a very early awakening.
I go to sleep tonight knowing the preparations have been made.
The kitchen light is dim, and the sink clear of dishes, ready.
The [requested purple and blue owl] cake is in the fridge.
I know that tomorrow is six, and just one more year of her childhood has slipped away.
I grasped onto it as much as I could.
I loved her through all my impatience and failings; I know she knows she is loved. Delighted in.
I captured her in words and pictures.
She wants to be a teacher when she is grown.
She wants to be mama to four children - two girls and two boys.
She wants everyone to know about God the way she does, and she prays for angels to keep her friends safe.
And nearly every night from midnight, she tiptoes down the hall, and climbs into our bed.
Her body curls tight in with daddy and he wraps her up - this is how they sleep most nights, regardless of how many star charts we have tried, or rewards I have offered.
I wonder how long it will be before she takes another step of independence, and ceases to make her nightly stalk to our bedroom.
But for now, in my nostalgia, I am happy that this part of childhood for her remains.
And tomorrow we celebrate another year.
Six will be amazing.