How long until I’m 10 Mummy? How many more days until I’m 6?
From that maudlin tempermental baby, to a stubborn toddler, to a child. She sits on my lap, leans into me, her tiny chin on my chest, hands reaching out for me, to grasp unconciously my fingers, my arms. She’s covered in chocolate, syrup and waffles, clutches pencils to herself for safety.
You’re going to be 5 Rosalyn.
When I’m 5, Vivian will be 7, right Mummy?
Eventually, yes. But you’re a big girl now!
She casts her eyes down, much like her mother does, any time praise is even vaguely alluded to. Her eyes, wide like the sun, bore into my own when she raises her head. I see every misstep I’ve taken in 5 years-to the brink and back, tasting death yet recoiling. Nights spent wondering why, how I was gifted this child, she I worried I could not love, nights spent with her cradled in the crook of my arm, fantastic even then, how I could create something so utterly fey and stunning.
I can no longer pretend she is my baby. She is legs and arms and that breathless feeling that comes from running through fields on dry warm August nights, the cramp to the legs, the exhilaration of just running for the sake of the wind in your hair and ears. She is snowfalling by moonlight, the fairies that dance with the toadstools up the street, hiding just before we reach them.
She is my daughter. Flesh from my womb, thought made real.
She is the beauty we search for, everyday. The perfectly imperfect being that makes us human. The creature who makes me more real everyday, as she pushes and stomps and yells, her temper keeping pace with mine.
She has captured my heart, long ago this child.
In a few days, she turns 5. My second born, my baby, is another step closer to the woman she’ll some day be. Her limbs lengthen and stretch before my eyes, as she morphes more and more into herself, her voice more defined, opinions clear.
My daughter, my self. I watch through jaded eyes as she discovers the magic around her, step back to let her breathe like wine.
In a way it’s hard to believe 5 years have passed-that I’ve gone from a scared and crazy new mother and wife, to a strong, capable single mother who has overcome her demons. I look back and wonder how so much was crammed into 5 brief years. I stare in wonder at the person I was, the person I’ve become, and the road I’ve travelled to get here.
She is my reward-they both are. Sweet like summer’s first strawberries, they fill that place I never dared dream would be full.
They give me hope. I watch Rosalyn grow strong and loud, and she makes me hope and dream that life will be gentler on her than it ever was on me.
And it will be.
Happy Birthday my daughter.