One of the saddest things, my darling girl, about your adventurous start in life, is that I have never had the time to sit here and talk enough about how wonderful you are.
Here you are, racing through your first year, and I’ve never written you a letter. I’ve never spoken to you and captured all the words I have said to you, as you sleep on me in the quiet dark. You will never have heard or understood them.
But please know I have said them to you. Please know I have thought of you often. I have loved you with all of my heart. And I have surrendered to you completely.
Because it is true. Everyone told me so. Everyone said that I would adore you just as I adore your brother. That my heart would swell so big, to make a place for you. That my love would not halve. It would double. And it did.
You are so very much a part of me. Your brother and I are very similar. Our hearts and our minds follow the same paths. But you are my acorn in ways. You remind me so much of your dad. And you are so very much his. But I feel this sort of connection to you that I can’t describe.
Because we share a syndrome. And we share a history. It is almost as if you are following exactly in the baby steps I once took. I sometimes look at you and I feel like I know you from before. You are shape shifter. Sometimes I just feel like I am looking at a female version of your dad, and then, all of sudden, it’s like looking at myself. The me I only know from old photographs in yellowing albums.
I feel very responsible for you. Not least because, when you grew in my tummy, it was my genetics that put you here. My genetics sparked a fire and spread and took hold and made the most perfect little girl. But they also put her through a hell she will never remember. But I always will.
Daisy my heart stings when I think of you. I love you so much. I worried sometimes that I would lose you. I have never been more fearful in my life. You have reminded me how short, sweet, suffocating and special life is. And now I spend my days hoping and praying, especially in a world like this, that our wonderful family will be okay. I want you and your brother close always. I don’t like it when your dad leaves for work. I want to bring you into my bubble and care for you all, because I truly know what it will be like should I ever lose you.
You are three months old.
You have blue eyes, just like your dad. But sometimes I wonder if I see flashes of green in them. If you place us both, side-by-side, our eyes shine from our faces. As twins. It’s incredible to see. If we place you between your dad and I, you are a perfect puzzle piece that links us both. And then if we add your wonderful brother in, you share resemblances too.
But then you are very much your own lady.
Your hair is a light mousey brown. There are bets as to whether you will stay dark or go blonde, like we all did when we were tiny. My bet is that you will be a dark blonde. That sort of sounds like I’m cheating, but I really don’t see you being as fair as your big brother. He is so blonde. The sort of blonde you don’t always see around these days. I can never imagine him growing darker, despite the fact that all signs point that way.
You are darker than he is. Your eyes are currently a darker blue. Your hair. Your skin shows signs of being more olive in the sunshine. I know I am biased but I happen to think you are the most stunning little girl. You are pulling off your feeding tube with so much sass. You make me proud. Looks are, of course, not everything, but the way you look, to me, is perfect. My daughter. You look so different from what I imagined. My imagination could never conjure up anything as lovely as you.
You are long. As I was. And your brother. Not particularly chunky. But that seems to be our way. You are in 3-6 month clothing and I wonder how quickly you will start to stretch through those sleep suits too. You suit pink. Ridiculously so. And it makes me laugh, as I said over and over again, when I carried you, that I didn’t want to dress you in pink too much. But why overlook your signature colour? I’m laughing as I write that. It just makes me smile to see you here and suiting things. And wearing all the clothes I bought for you, with no idea as to who you would be and what you would look like.
I can’t decide – and too soon it may be – what kind of person you are. I know that you are particular, and ‘just so’. You like it your way or not at all. And your brother was much more easy going. But you are just an incredibly lovely little thing. Just when I think I know you and your ways, you ambush me. You surprise me. You change. And I laugh and adapt.
You love to stand on our laps and be supported constantly. You don’t care for lying in anyone’s arms unless you want me to help you fall asleep. And then you will do a long, shuddery cry, and only settle, with a sigh, when I have you held close, so you can clutch at my hair or my top, with a fistful in your hands, as you drift of to sleep. Fighting it and giving in several times, before you are limp and heavy in my arms, snuffling deeply, and smelling absolutely intoxicating.
It’s funny. I’ve said to your dad that your baby smell, reminds me of him. The way he smells as he holds me close. And it’s so natural to want to nuzzle your neck. As you smell like home.
There’s a saying of ‘mummy’s boy’ and ‘daddy’s girl’. But both you and your brother are both anybody’s for a cuddle and a smile. Though I feel the peace in you both when you are in my arms. I have two very sociable and easy-going children and I love that about you. I hope it continues, as, as much I want and long to be wanted and needed, always, I know you will be happier if you love all types of company.
It won’t matter to you, this part. When you read it back, you might shrug, or shudder, depending on your age. But I managed to feed you for three months. I expressed milk every day. And Daisy, it was so hard. I really did try. I wanted to give you everything I could. But it sometimes felt like a battle between milk and love. And really, milk did not matter. You will take anything it seems, but you only get one mother. And I wasn’t myself. I was torturing myself with guilt and trying to make it up to you in the worst way I could. So I could try and fix things.
I gave you a syndrome. But at least I gave you my milk? Such a warped logic. But you had three months. It was all I could do. And I tried. I did my best. And teenage Daisy won’t understand this. But if you are a mother yourself Daisy. If you read this then, you will know.
You lost your breathing tube in your third month. Earlier than expected. No more having to pin you down and insert it. Feeling so guilty. Feeling like the worst mother in the world. You have stunned us with how quick you have grown and changed. You are so strong.
I can barely believe you are home sometimes. Barely believe you are here.
But you are here. And, at the same time, I can barely imagine you not being here anymore. I look back to the life we lived before you and I smile at those days. They will always be special. But I am so excited about making new memories with you in them. I want to see every first. I want to celebrate every milestone. I want to shout about you and how proud I am.
You and your brother are just everything to me.
He adores you Daisy. You ever call and he will come running. He would fight for you. He will protect you. And I know, whatever happens to me, and your dad, you will always have your Bill. And he will always have his Daisy. And despite being half siblings – which you would never know – I realise now that blood may be thicker than water, but has it ever really been about blood anyway?
I thought, no, I think, it is love.
This last photo makes me laugh. You may love each other. But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want you to stop crying – he sometimes leaves the room with his hands over his ears – and it doesn’t mean you wish he’d be that tad bit gentler and stop petting you like a dog!
Your fourth month will be an exciting one I think. You are due to go to hospital for a visit about your cleft repair. Your dad has some more time off with us. And we will go on our first family holiday. We’re staying home this year. You aren’t quite right for flying yet sweetheart. But who cares. The company is what counts. And I can’t wait.
I love you so much. I hope you know that. And that you never blame me for the tougher times. I’ll always be here to hold your hand, little girl. I have been where you are now. And I hope I am the best mother for you.
You are so loved.