In many traditions around the world the fifth birthday is considered an achievement. I guess it can be in real something to be congratulated for (that you made it up to here; a concept that stays attached to each birthday, especially to the later ones, or the latest ones) involving all related persons, as they still do in Holland. “Congratulations for your son’s, aunts, grandmother’s, sister’s, cousin’s birthday”. It belongs to the “crown” years; you are supposed to get an extra big present and an extra loud cheer (Hoera!).
As I see it, the fifth birthday is the celebration of the awakening of the intellect; this including mind and soul. Children who have the luck growing up in an encouraging environment, around this age become happier; their brightness is daily and intense as a spurting star. Those unhappy or difficult as babies find their place in the things their mind and hand create. Their talks, screams and cries take form and clear content, thus become communicable.
At the same time, these little people become active socially; they have their friends with whom they share things of their own era, already. I remember a fellow artist, years ago, who was almost mourning when his daughter went to school and her “socialization” began. I agree that it is a shocking moment for the parents; their baby is not in their hands anymore. At a seminar for parents of toddlers that I followed in desperate times when Mickey was two, an interesting moment of mind reset occured when together with another mother I had to put in order of importance qualities or capabilities. I was about to put creativity or independence at the top, when she put with certainty sociability as first. Other teams did the same without thinking twice. I kept that in mind gurgling it through the stages of a sudden encounter with a truth that is hard to digest: denial, anger, acceptance. Away with the lonesome poets of our youth. Hurray to the socially well-adjusted.
My wish to Mickey is borrowed from a poet who envied the luck of the socially involved; a confusing act, as it proved to be.
‘I wish you to be madly loved ‘ αγάπη μου.
P.S. ‘Je vous souhaite d’être follement aimée’ is the closing line of a letter written by Andre Breton addressed to his daughter for when she would become 16; it was published in the book L’Amour Fou (Mad Love), 1937. I totally agree with him that some things should better be said when thought; better earlier than later.