Today, you turn five.

Five…

Jovi, please stop growing. Please stop showing the signs of maturity, the ability to do so much on your own, the independence, being friends with boys…all of it.

Stay right here, this age, this size. I can deal with your bad mood days, the constant “why daddy?” and Taylor Swift blaring throughout the house.

I can’t deal with knowing you are growing into an independent girl, full of life and personality and a laugh that, for that brief moment, shows me a glimpse of what heaven will one day be like.

You don’t always need me like you used to and that’s hard to get used to.

So for now, I find joy in the little things.

In these moments, I treasure our trips at night to take a bath with you rocking out from above on my shoulders, reaching ever so long to try and touch the ceiling, still just a little too tall for you. Or the piggy back rides from the bedroom to the bathroom to brush our teeth in the morning. Even more, our prayers at night, where I pray for you and you pray that “daddy has a safe and wonderful day at work tomorrow and gets a green for being good.

But since you are growing, becoming this amazing girl, I want you to know what you are doing right, the things that make me proud of you.

Continue to dream big dreams. Being a rock star is a great plan. Don’t let anyone tell you different. And if you want to drop a bar here and there, I’m confident you could.

If you want to color outside the lines, it’s all good. Create something beautiful…colorful…your masterpiece. I’ll always hang them up in our studio.

Never feel weird about sticking your tongue out at each picture you take. At this point, I kind of expect it. Getting a serious picture of you is like pulling out a five from the dryer.

Sing loud. One of my favorite things to hear is you making a racket with your karaoke machine. Keep singing because some days, that will be the thing that gets you through that bad day.

Keep giving squeeze hugs. You can never be too old for that. Your squeeze hugs are medicine somedays to me. It’s amazing how much of the ‘stuff’ goes away after those.

Keep racing to car doors, house doors, building doors…any doors you choose. It’s one of my favorite things to do with you.

Above all…never lose this part of you…the part that smiles big, laughs loud, cries louder and makes dad feel like if nothing else in this world, he is the luckiest guy to ever live. You taught me what it felt like to love unconditionally, loudly, with whimsy and unselfishly. What it felt like to truly feel love and be content. What heartbreak and absence truly feels like.

And how a simple look, a smile and a run for a ‘flying squeeze hug’ became the thing I looked forward to during the day.

Please stop growing so fast, becoming so big. But if you must, my hand will always be here. You’ll never go alone. Just reach.

jovismile

photos by my friend Kelly Gomez at darkbluephoto.com