How long will it be, till you no longer reach for my hand?
How long until dinosaurs and fairies no longer roam
and you can face everything you fear on your own?
How many more days do I have, picking dandelions with you?
Answering a ceaseless stream of why’s?
‘fore you don’t need my answers at all?
When will you stop looking to me for all the new things you see?
How long do I have before either I no longer know
or you at least doubt that I do?
How many more days can I keep you playing, in the garden, with frogs,
excited by ‘the most amazing creatures’, common garden bugs
and gross-me-out slugs?
How much time do I have left, to view the world through your eyes?
To see the magical, the beautiful, the every day
in your incredibly sensory way?
How many more days, because it passing too soon, in whirlwinds and torrents and days come to pass.
Hold on for a moment, you’re growing too fast, let me drink it all in, let me sip up my fill
then let me hold your hand, while you allow me to still.
I’d love to sit here and tell you what an amazing year it’s been and how everything’s just been wonderful and beautiful and magical, but it hasn’t. It’s been a tough year and there’s no point really in pretending otherwise.
It’s been a difficult year from long before you were born, so it wasn’t you that made it difficult. Mama and Daddy were struggling with money, we weren’t able to pay rent, we didn’t know whether we’d be able to stay in our house, we didn’t have enough money for food sometimes, and sometimes even our friends had to bring us food, and we had to borrow money from our own parents.
Mama and Daddy were struggling too, because Daddy was feeling sad a lot of the time, and Mommy was trying to work and be pregnant and be sick and pregnant and trying to keep us afloat and there were just times when it was almost all too much.
I look back at the last year and I try to picture it as a whole year and despite all the difficult things – including Nana getting sick and going to Australia and living with other people, which was very hard for Mama sometimes – but I look back at all of it, and I try to think of it as one picture, and you know the one picture I see in my head all the time is just you.
You as a baby, smiling, looking up at me, being joyful. You are just beautiful and smiley. You have a contagious and infectious smile, amidst and in spite of all the crazy things in our life. Everyone looks at you and says you’re such a smiley joyful child and they are right. I am so incredibly grateful that we have that in you and that we were gifted with this child who can cut through the darkness and radiate light from your eyes. I have no idea how we got so lucky, but we did and I am so very grateful.
I have to tell you there were times in my pregnancy when I didn’t know if you were going to be okay because of the sickness medicine and because I was so sick and there were times when I felt like nothing was ever going to come right again. There were times when you were a newborn that I felt so worried that we were never going to be able to do right by you, and we were never gong to be able to give you the best, be the best parents, or give you everything you deserve.
But you are so low maintenance and so full of love and… I keep coming back to the word joy, because that’s what you have and that’s what you are: a joyful little pixie elf girl.
You know, with your sister i thought my life had changed so much I didn’t recognise it. It was all awe and amazement. I look at you and I never thought with a second child I would feel all that awe and amazement, but you know what? You are so different to her, that you bring your own bags of awe and amazement with you and, it’s a miracle.
Having you has opened my eyes to so much about people and differences and life.
I love you so very, very much. Not just because of who you are or just because of how you’ve changed me, but all of it. As a package deal , you’re amazing.
So… some of your milestones:
You are walking, but you were a slower starter than your sister. You were walking at 10 months and 10 days, and before your first birthday you were toddling around on your own.
Now, at 12 months you say Oupa and Nana and ‘Meli (Ameli) and you babble and point at things and use inflections to show us what you want. And my goodness when you want something you make sure we know it! You don’t take no for an answer. Your screeching isn’t much fun, but your babbling is fantastic.
You’re a really good flyer – you just lie down on your belly in the bassinet and that’s you for about 8 hours with minor wake ups here and there. A real star in the air.
Unfortunately I can’t say you’re enjoying the UK winter too much. I think it’s the sheer amount of clothes you have to suddenly wear, making you look like the Oros man! I know how you feel.
You’re on solid foods, but you don’t do meals, really. Just a bite here and there. It doesn’t replace your milk, but you nibble. You still have a lot of milk through the night and now and then, but your main source of solids is stealing food off your sisters plate! She doesn’t mind too much though and is normally happy to share with you.
You’re in about the same sized clothes as Ameli. She’s taller than you, but body-wise you wear the same clothes. You’re not fat or anything, but you’re just… well, Mama’s child!
You are going for your first, way overdue haircut this week. You badly need it, but I wanted your first haircut to be special so we had to wait till we were back here.
I think that’s about it for now.
I just want to say thank you again for choosing us to be your family Thank you for coming to us and bringing light into what has been a very dark time. I know some people might say I shouldn’t tell you about how hard it’s been and what a rough time we’ve had, but the fact is, you have been a LIGHT. A light in a VERY dark time. When I look back over the year and I think of all the hardships, every picture in my head isn’t about struggling, and food, and rent. The pictures in my head for your first year are a little girl, smiling, laughing, nursing, crawling. Those are the things that 10 years from now I’m gong to look back on and remember, and I really, really, really thank you for that.
I adore you baby girl.
It’s a week of saying goodbyes and while I’ve always taken being sad to leave somewhere as a good sign of your time there having been well spent, this time I’m finding it exquisitely hard.
80/365 – Sushi
We’ve been taking every opportunity to spend time with my mom. I feel the pressure of the ticking clock like a weight on my chest. I’m loving the time spent together, but I’m hating knowing we’re leaving soon. I’m so grateful that my mom has confounded the doctors with her survival and recovery. Today we had a farewell party with some of our new friends, and then lunch with my mom.
81/365 – Rose Garden
We don’t actually eat out/drink out as often as it might look right now, but we’re visiting some of my favourite spots, for old times sake, and at the same time taking Martin to see some of the places that have been important to me over the last five months. The Rose Garden is one of them. It’s very pretty, serene and excellent value for money.
82/365 – Bed Time
My dad had to take a couple of days off work because he’s been quite unwell. Such unfortunate timing. I must tell you though, these are the moments we’re going to miss. I ache when I think of these special tender moments being so far away.
83/365 – Best Friends Of The Southern Hemisphere
Ameli loves her friend M. She talks about her all the time. She’s really going to miss her.
85/365 – Farewell Dinner
The last supper with our family. Bitter sweet memories. I don’t remember pending separation n ever being quite so hard before.
We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!
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