[Grrr... I uploaded a cute video of Ellie tap dancing here, but it refuses to show up on the blog. Just use the cutest parts of your imagination to fill in this blankness.]
Oh, Ellie. Sweet, sweet, only occasionally bitter, but mostly sweet Ellie. Particularly when your brothers are acting like they're made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, how can I ever thank you for being so sweet?
I don't know how I would have survived the past year without you. Really. You are perhaps the only (cognizant) individual who witnessed how difficult it was for me to care for Erik and Charlie last year. Daddy and Mish and Kjerstin caught glimpses, but if ever they were present, the adult to child ratio would swing in my favor and thus my stress level diminished considerably. But you, you saw the nitty gritty darkness of our day to days, and YOU were the sunshine that saw us through it.
You were the one who'd apologize for your behavior after I lost my temper with you-- YOU apologized first.
You were the one who protected Charlie so I could shower or use the bathroom.
You were the one who exercised supreme patience with Erik and loved him and played with him and made him feel special.
You were the one who'd snuggle up to me when I had a breakdown, assuring me that taking care of three kids is a really hard job, but that I was still a great mom and everything would be okay.
Sure, you have your streaks of independence that drive the rest of us batty from time to time, but almost all the time, you are my faithful sidekick-- a shorter, cuter, funnier, lovable-er mini-me.
You're an expert on many topics, but guess what? I am an expert on you. I know lots of things that you don't even know about you, like...
-You always sleep with your mouth open, just like Grandma Nai-nai.
-You actually DO like broccoli because I sneak it into lots of foods you gobble up.
-You look kind of putzy dancing ballet, but I'm fairly certain you will grow into grace quite well.
-You still have elbow dimples.
-You probably won't marry Carter.
-You have more sincere faith than me many times.
-You look like me.
-You are everything to me.
Well, you do know that last one.
Happy 5th birthday to a daughter no mother could deserve, although I'll keep on trying. You are 100% pure and natural joy.