Monday, 2 January 2017

A growing letter to my growing daughter...

Just over a year ago, my life changed forever when my daughter was born, but only she and I knew about something I'd been doing ever since I found out life was growing within me. This is something I've carried on adding to and will carry on as she grows... hopefully I can make it into something she can treasure when she's all grown up, but of course, still my baby <3

When I feel you wake up and wiggle I can't help but smile instantly. I can be in the deepest of sleeps, dreaming of the boiled eggs, avocado and 'fab' ice creams I'll HAVE to have later on today and tomorrow, and the next day, but I'll still wake up as suddenly and excited as you will every Christmas Day. Feeling your little wriggles and kicks is the most magical feeling ever and I can't believe how lucky I am to experience it. This miracle I'm living is so indescribable, so awesome, so hard to put into words, but I promise to do my best. Here I am, hoping one day these words will remind you of how much I've loved you, from the moment you were the size of a poppy seed to wherever in life you find yourself right now. Hoping they bring you comfort, warmth, and amazing memories.

When you stick your little hand or foot out as if to say "mummy I'm here and I can't wait to meet you", I love being able to stroke and play with it as if I had you right in my arms, but even better you are in there, feeling my love for you right from its source, as you hear my heart beat for you from inside. 

The best moment so far. I heard your little heartbeat, and in hearing it, my heart's response was to jump out of my chest with excitement, love and disbelief that this moment could be even better and feel more miraculous than I ever imagined it. I cry, your daddy cries, the midwife smiles. We smile. We kiss. We know what true love is. It's true love at first heartbeat.

Hearing your daddy tell you he loves you, kissing you good morning and good night, both of us singing to you or the loving playlist he put together for you to fall asleep to, calming down and snuggling up as 'Love me tender' soothingly plays, while the headphones stretch out more and more as you grow. Hearing your grandparents' joy and anticipation, feeling your abuela's kisses, aunty's pokes and mummy's strokes. It's such a joy to know you're in there, all day long reminding me of what's truly important in my life now.

I've been so blessed to be able to say we made you out of the strongest, biggest, most tender, yet epic love you could ever witness, and then be able to see you grow into the biggest bundle of love, pride and joy we will ever have the privilege to hold.

When I met your daddy I told him with certainty, honesty and hope that I was born to be a mother. Whatever life brought my way, I always knew you were my destiny and I could finally see it becoming a reality as your daddy looked me in the eye and smiled at my boldness. Spark! He could tell our souls were meant to be together, he could feel my love for you already. We chose each other as our happily ever after, we chose to have you as we walked together, hand in hand. But I want to thank you for choosing US to be your guides as we now hold YOUR hands in ours along this walk called life. 

Some people strive to hold the Olympic torch or an Oscar, I can't imagine anything feeling more amazing than holding you, the most precious gem of a being I could ever have hoped to mould.

The day is here. Seconds turn into minutes. Head, eyes, arms, hands, legs, feet. Minutes into hours, little fingers, little toes, little ears, little nose. Hours into what seem like days, waiting for your arrival. Do you have hair?, do you have your daddy's eyes?, what about your mummy's lips? Grandad's sunkissed skin? If not sunkissed, it will soon certainly be kissed all over by both of us. With each pain, I know you are closer to us. As I hear Beyonce's 'Blue Ivy' come on in the background and your daddy reminding me to breathe, I can feel your little body coming into the world, as everything but his voice fades away, drowning completely into tears of joy, knowing any second now I'll hear that gorgeous, fragile but determined cry of life. Everything we've been waiting for and more. My womb feels empty after holding you for months within its warm walls, but once you're safely tucked up in my embrace, I feel whole again, as you are now the one providing the glowing warmth.

When your dad and I laid eyes on you, a puddle of tears, straight from the heart, showered you with love and everlasting joy. You really are the most precious thing I've ever held. I feel like I'm in a museum and a guard will come any minute to tell me off for touching and holding such a treasure! Now that you are here in my arms, I can't ever picture them without you in them, it's like they were empty my whole life until now. I feel amazed. Overjoyed. Emotional. Big. Important. Different. My heart feels wide open, bigger than ever, full of love. Raw, unconditional love, after today's tough journey. A journey worth taking over and over again, no need for a return ticket, one way is all we need. I did give you life, but really, you gave me mine. Two became three and three became one. What an honour!

You've made our love stronger, our home happier, any tough times in the past forgotten and the future incredibly exciting to live for. Every tiny bit of you takes our breath away. If we'd designed you ourselves, we could not have come anywhere near your perfection. It's just like they say, sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

Although we were once one incredible body with two heads, 4 hands and feet, two beating hearts and 2 different DNAs, you are now your own little person.

As hard as it is and as I tired as I may be, I still can't believe what a wonderful miracle I have in my arms, as I lay you against me to feed. Somehow nature is so amazing, that my body can carry on nourishing you day and night, even on the outside. All you need is me and all I need is you, of course we both need daddy and all he needs is us too! I love these precious minutes, which have with time turned from what seemed like hours into what seems like seconds, where we are bonded in the most beautiful way, time stands still and all we see is each other's love. Where without a word needed, our eyes do the talking and we just seem to be in perfect synch. These are the moments I will miss the most!

Such an overwhelming kind of love, baby in sling. You and me. We're the same person again. Skin to skin. We're connected across time and space. You move and sway with me, just like you did in my belly, like leaves on a tree, dancing in the soft breeze, all wrapped up in art and love. I hope just like you do in these moments, you will always know I'm right here for you, whenever you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to confide in, a warm cuddle and forever an open chest for you to lay your head. 

It's not all been easy, motherhood is challenging. 20 tabs online to check if every new little noise, what seems to be a new symptom, a new quirk, is all of it ok. It's true when they say a worried mother does better research than an FBI agent! Sometimes the days are long... but I know the years are short. These days may be tough and sometimes seem impossible, but as soon as that little smile appears, it's like everything melts away.

And I'm not the only one, you know! Your whole family melts into the biggest puddle of love anyone has ever witnessed every time they hear you, see you, even if it's just a photo; that one millisecond of a moment captured, means the whole world to them as they feel part of you and your day. Never did I expect to feel as overwhelmed by how much love someone can have for something I created, it is the most wonderful feeling! I was also not ready to feel this sinking feeling of not knowing how old you'll be before they can all meet you, and I know they share that feeling, but one way or another, our bond is so strong and your perfection so magical, that on the other hand it feels like they're not missing a single second of you!

Hearing your first little sounds today was as magical as hearing your favourite singer right in front of you, like you can't quite believe what your ears are witnessing. As those sounds turn into words, it becomes more and more real that you're your own little person, with valid thoughts and views, who will no doubt keep us in stitches even more than now, once you're talking away. But nothing can beat the best sounds of all... The day you burst out your first mama and dada. The day you needed me so much after falling and bumping your head, that your first thought was to call out for me in the most instinctual and natural of ways. That was the day I think I finally felt like what I now am, a mum, a proud mum, an amazed mum, an overwhelmed mum, a mum in love, not a perfect mum, but certainly the luckiest mum.

Ok strike the latter! You just giggled, and my god it is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL sound in the world! Anything can be thrown at us in life now and the power of that giggle will make it seem like the smallest bump in the road. What a sound. Magical. Healing. Life-changing. Pure joy. My life is made. 

Dishes may not be washed, I may have forgotten when I last did my nails, is that one or two eyebrows?, the pile of laundry is certainly growing, but not as fast as you are, and I do not want to miss a single second of it, so let's have another warm nap, like we used to while you were growing inside, laying on me as you listen to my heartbeat once again, but this time I'll watch you, and kiss you, and stroke you and hold you for as long as you let me.

I know these endless waking nights are taking their toll on me but I also know they'll end in no time and I'll miss them all. I already miss sleeping right next to you, feeling your little warm breath on me, even if I wake up with your knees right in my ribs or your feet on my face!

Everything in life is suddenly so much more exciting and enchanting. I love showing you the beauty of the world, the joy of tasting blueberries, sweet potato and eventually birthday cake, the joy of stroking each other's arms, as we snuggle all nice and warm, of blowing raspberries and laughing at daddy, of crying when needed, especially when teething, but always smiling even bigger after. We'll try and help you sail through, when those tough emotions you're completely unaware of right now overwhelm you. We will share your feelings so your load is halved, you never have to cry alone. We will show you how strong and brave you are, while also always being gentle and kind. We will show the most love you'll ever witness and rejoice in pride when we see you share it too.

I promise we'll teach you everything we can, from day one, when you were little and wrinkly, until our last day on earth, when WE will be old and wrinkly. We'll tuck you in every night with a bedtime story that fills your mind with wonder, a loving song and adoring kiss on that warm little, fluffy head.

Dear daughter of mine, how can you keep overwhelming me with pride and love more and more every day? You took your first steps today and these tears say it all. You're little proud face coupled with such an amazing milestone is the most wonderful combination to make both me and daddy forget whatever's happened today! Now you can walk alongside us, we promise never to let go, to show you the right from wrong, as you'll no doubt show us a different way, your own way, your own path. We have a long road to go but we know it'll go too fast, so we're making the most of all these moments, which can never be erased from our minds or hearts. I know we'll try to teach you about life, but you've already taught us what life is all about.

Look at that smile, with those cheeky, proportionally giant teeth like your mami's. They can make us do almost anything for you. Don't try your luck, I said almost anything! But in all seriousness, I never thought a human being could get more beautiful than you have been every day, since the first time we saw you and you were very literally just a little bean. 6 centimetres of love, of beauty, of joy, of excitement, of anticipation, of Valentina. 

I can't believe you're one and even though you've grown so much, you'll never again be this small. As I shed a couple of tears looking back at this whole year, how much you've changed and grown and how much we've changed and grown with you, I realise one of the hardest parts of motherhood is seeing you grow up so fast but goodness me, are your daddy and I excited for our whole future with you?!

Perfection. All consuming perfection. The immensity of this turbulent while calm sea of motherhood DOs and DON'Ts has hit me. The best for you is all I want. What is the best?. Am I enough? I know it's normal, and it could be worse. I promise to get through it and know I'm enough while still striving to give you nothing less than you deserve. Perfection. But what is perfect? You are, our love is, our bond is, our little family is. Our forever is. Our commitment to you is and always will be perfection. Remember this, always! (Note to self).

As I swim against this current, trying to reach the perfect land, you slowly build this perfect island a grain of sand at a time with your wonderful love, your sense of humour, your kindness, your amazing intelligence, your already boundary-defying sense of self, your strokes, your hugs, your great laugh, with every word you learn, every step you take, every new skill and quirk you show us daily. You are the steadying force that anchors me, the wind that blows me in the right direction, the compass that shows me the way to follow. 

You have your own way. You don't follow a predefined path. You just love to jump on the puddles along the way, while exuding the greatest amount of happiness I've ever encountered. So much joy, there's still enough to share with everyone around you as we watch you intently, not wanting to miss a second. You don't belong in a box or need a label. You know what you want to do. You define who you are and want to be. And you will get there, wherever you want to be, but for now, I truly feel your purpose in life at this moment in time, is to make us smile, to enchant us all with your kind heart, your wit, charming hilarity and succinct demands. 

Chatterbox is grandad's new nickname for you, and rightly so. Your narration of life as you experience it, stumbling upon new sounds and syllables with every story you share is simply the most amazing thing to watch. I know this is a ridiculous, recurring theme, our amazement and boundless, all-embracing, infinite love for every milestone, every new memory, every little thing you do, but I think that's just what parents do!

You're becoming increasingly caring and it's the most overwhelming, soul-filling, life-making experience. Just when you think you've exhausted every drop of love within you for a single human being, here you are showing me my heart is just like a bottomless drink, you just keep going back for more, what a wonderfully never-ending love! We love seeing your compassion and thoughtfulness for others younger than you already, for us, for your grandparents, your aunties and uncles. Even your dolls, who you passionately keep fed and warm, as well as tirelessly and adoringly wrap in love and carry like mami does with you. It stupefies me trying to imagine how much love and kindness you will show as you grow older and more aware. 

I love how musical you are. You're just like your mami and daddy and it's so exciting to see how much joy music brings to your day to day. How much happiness it fills you with until you just have to join in by playing something, singing along or dancing like nobody's watching. I so hope you keep that for the rest of your life, it's simply the best way to live!

As another year is ending and so much just beginning, we've had the pleasure of seeing the wonder in your eyes a second time around, with even more awe than last year. Christmas time is so magic as you revel in the smells, colours, lights, songs and tastes that it brings. You may prefer the wrapping paper, tags and bows to your presents but goodness me, it certainly is entertaining to watch your vivacity! The only thing that surpasses your enthusiasm is seeing your family, especially your grandparents continuously and increasingly fall in love with you, every little move you make, everything you say, (or at least try to say). It's like they ensure they replace blinks with smiles and laughs, just so they don't miss a single thing. I can see even more now just how bottomless the heart must be, to fit in so much love and what an amazing sight it is! This inundating amount of love is shared even by family who long to meet you yet; you're still that missing piece of the puzzle and I promise we'll work hard to make sure the puzzle is complete.

Just like the Sistine Chapel pushed Michelangelo to his limits, you have made me more determined than ever to be successful, as a business woman as much as a mother. My motivation stems from nothing more than the purest love for you. I vowed to always be the best mum I can be for you and I'll keep working every day to make sure you think I am. I want you to feel pride, admiration, hope, boldness, bravery and self-confidence as you grow up alongside me and I promise to learn to feel those things alongside you too. From the sound of a cow ('baahh!' according to you), to brushing your teeth and pulling funny faces, you are copying absolutely everything we do and so we promise to be the best guides in life we can be to you; like the warmest, safest, cosiest, most reassuring light shining on as you make your journey through this crazy, amazing, exciting and beautiful thing called life.


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