Sometimes, when I actually stop and stand still for a second, I still marvel at the fact that I have a daughter.
I also can’t quite believe that, a year ago, we still were fighting very hard to get her home. I spent so much time apart from her. And I used to worry that we’d never get chance to bond, or carve out a relationship just like the one that her brother and I share.
But I needn’t of had those concerns.
My Daisy Nelle is a feisty little thing. Full of promise, a whirlwind of impulsive activity. She spends most of her life aiming to please, aiming for a smile, aiming for a laugh, but always, always on her terms.
She is the most fascinating little lady. I just love to watch her. The way she takes things in. The way she doesn’t find anything too large a task. She has recently discovered the stairs. She evades me daily. I can’t find her, in the split second I turn away, and I can guarantee that she is halfway up our dated 70s-carpeted stairs.
For every part of her that wishes for independence. To walk like you, talk like you. Be just like you. There is another part of her that longs for closeness. She likes you just the way she likes you. Close, but not too close. Far, but not too far.
If she needs you, you best be there. Best be there to let her cling on. To let her breathe deeply on your chest. Where her little body relaxes and you begin to sink into a cuddle, before – BOOM – she’s upright and poking you with a smile.
She keeps me on my toes. Always. I feel like I am dancing through life to the beat of Daisy Nelle’s drum. She has taught me the steps, and there is never a final move, or a last step, just an encore, upon encore. New steps all the time. I waltz, and she dances along, tiny feet atop of mine, like I danced with my father once upon a time when I was small.
When I used to imagine her, when we had met, but not face-to-face yet, like pen-pals, writing messages from womb to world and back again, she was not this little girl. She was less vibrant, less beautiful, less wonderful. My imagination could not conjure up something as brilliant as she is.
Just yesterday, she sat on my lap and screamed with the injustice of having four injections piercing the fleshy pink part of her thighs. She clung to me. And lashed out at the nurse for trying to make friends afterwords.
She was breathing heavily – pink with frustration and sadness.
But moments later, outside of that room. She was grinning and smiling up at me. So trusting that I would make it okay.
These photographs were taken on Wednesday afternoon. She was napping but woke with a start in her cot. Teeth. The usual culprit in her life right now. And I went to her. Scooped her up. And carried her back to our bed where I’d been working next door.
In my arms, she relaxed. Her lids became heavy and her eyes closed gently, flickering open every so often until she gave in. The last memory she will have had was my face, before she dreamed away again.
And so, she lay there, beside me, taking up so much room for someone so small. And I continued to work. Typing as silently, but as efficiently as I could. And waited for her to wake.
She has been through so much, my tiny girl has. She has written herself one heck of story so far. And it has been my pleasure, not only to have a lead role in it, but to share it too.