To my sweet, gorgeous girl on your birthday,
Yesterday you turned eleven. I can’t even begin to imagine how it is possible that you are heading towards your teens so soon after I gave birth to you! Where has time gone?
Eleven years ago I gave birth to you. I already had two traumatic births behind me, and had miscarried three times before carrying you to term. The hospital admitted me early, hoping to catch any problems as soon as they began. I had a scheduled C-section, which I was frankly dreading. I was taken into a sterile room and asked if a student obstetrician could sit in. I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t really want him there at the very time I felt so vulnerable, but I’m so pleased he stayed.
As I was prepared for surgery, he sat by my head. He was an older man, probably in his fifties or sixties. As he sat, he took no notice of anything else that was happening around him. His focus was on me entirely. He stroked my hair and talked to me the whole way through explaining everything that was happening as it happened. I went into that room terrified. By the time they were about to cut you out of me, I was relaxed and smiling. I remember your birth with a clear precision that I do not have for the births of your brother and sisters. As you were taken out, you were still in the sack and your face was pressed against its translucency, eyes wide open, with a shock of red hair. What struck me most was how peaceful you looked. Tears were streaming down my eyes, which the student carefully wiped away, all the while telling me how beautiful you were. Your daddy was sat by my side holding my hand, just as emotional and stunned as I was.
Your birth had come after Charlotte’s where your daddy was close to losing both me and his second twin. We were both fearful of what this birth might bring. But it was perfect from the start to the moment you arrived. You were placed in my arms and immediately started looking around you. I believe that student obstetrician was an angel sent by God to over-see the whole proceedings. He made me feels safe. God delivered you that day into mine and daddy’s keepsake, until you are old enough to go forth and do His work.
We named you Abigail, meaning ‘Father’s Joy’, which you have been ever since.
Sweetheart, from those incredibly relaxed first moments you have been by far the most peaceful child I have ever known. You came out looking around at the world, fascinated by its beauty, and you have never stopped. You didn’t make a song and dance about it back then, and you continue to have a quiet joy about you to this day. Life excites you. It keeps you awake at night. Just like me, sleep seems superfluous to you. There is too much to see; too much to learn; too much to imagine.
Yesterday, when we took you away to a cottage by the beach for a special birthday celebration, you kept saying thank you to us, as if you couldn’t quite believe we had done something so special for you. When you read your older sister’s cards, filled with such love and affirmations, you were close to tears. You have no clue how special and unique you are. And yet you have this deep self-confidence, and sense of who you are and what you must do in life.
I don’t quite believe you are eleven. You have, thankfully, clung on to your childhood as if your life depends upon it. You are not a fan of growing up, or of those pesky hormones which have started to rear their ugly head. In many ways, you are simply not ready for them. Your mind is forever on whatever fantasy world you have created, and you really do not have the time nor inclination to wander into the tweeny age and onwards into the teens.
I want you to know that this is okay. God has everyone on a different time table. You will reach adulthood soon enough, there is no need to rush it. When I watch you and Becca together, I realise what an incredible gift you are to us all. As firm and uncompromising as she is, you are the opposite. You love her, and love her and then love her some more. She is your best friend, your favourite sister and the person you enjoy hanging out with the most. You two could not be more opposite, and in many ways she is the older child. Together though, you are unstoppable!
Darling, as I finish up this letter, I want you to know just how special you are. Your smiley, happy face brings so much joy to our family.
When you were a toddler, you used to say prayers at dinner time. You didn’t have much vocabulary, but the words you did know you used to perfection. Your prayer was as follows: “Happy Mummy, happy Daddy, happy Thomas, happy Lillie, happy Charlotte, happy world” This sums you up. You are a child who loves happiness. You will go out of your way to make sure everyone is happy. You, yourself, are one of the happiest, smily-est people we know, and you spread that happiness to all four corners of our home.
Sweetheart, our lives are infinitely brighter because you are in them. Don’t ever change. Don’t let those horrible hormones win out. Know you have it in you to be in control of them and not the other way around. Know that whilst the world might hold tears for you sometimes, we, your family, are always here to be your soft landing. Our home is your safe place, our hearts are your soothing balm. Never be afraid to lean on us. Each one of us loves you more than you could ever imagine. You are our very special blessing.
Happy birthday smiley girl! We love you so much!