Tuesday 9 January 2018

And Then She Was Six

Six years. It doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed. We were in the kitchen the other day, Ebony was sat at the breakfast bar, chatting away about her day, and I was overwhelmed with the realisation that she's growing up. And then, just like that, I was taken back to the first time I held her in my arms. 25 years old, terrified and completely unprepared, in a birthing pool in a cramped living room, a sofa propped up on its side in one corner to make room for the pool. Laurie next to me, staring down at the clay-coloured newborn on my chest. A team of midwives, supportive, caring, exactly the people I needed with me to make the transition from miserable pregnant woman to brand new mum. 

Six years. It sounds like such a long time, but it hasn't felt it. It's like a fast playing montage in my mind. The long days of cuddling a newborn baby between the long nights of wondering why she wouldn't sleep. Her first words, first steps, first jump. Those glorious toddler days with the cheesy grin and the contagious excitement at everything new. More sleepless nights. The lunches spent chatting together at the breakfast bar, the afternoon trips to the park. Her first day at preschool, that overwhelming feeling of missing as a limb as I counted down the hours until I would see her again. 

Then, nursery, a too big uniform hanging baggy on her tiny frame, shiny black shoes and the world's smallest ponytail. Yet more sleepless nights. Then a new pregnancy and months spent preparing her for the task of becoming a big sister. Hours spent listening to the things she would teach the new baby, the games they would play. A final summer just the two of us, long hot days in the garden, slow waddles around the village, both counting down the days until the baby would arrive. And then she did, and time seemed to thrust us forwards, Ebony was no longer little, she seemed huge and grown up, a big sister to a new little baby. 

And then school, another too big uniform and a brand new pair of shiny black shoes. A goodbye kiss at the gate before she ran through the doors, my hand in Laurie's, watching her go. With the rhythm of school, time seemed to move even faster. All of a sudden she could read, write, spell, do sums. She could make new friends, fall out with them and make up again. Another summer of adventures, this time the three of us, filling our days with walks and days out and crafts in the playroom. Stolen moments with Ebony as her little sister slept, treasuring those rare moments of just the two of us. 

Six long years in the blink of an eye. We celebrated her birthday with an outdoor party at her request, 11 children on a field in the middle of winter, some wrapped up warmly and others not so much. All covered in mud, with pockets full of leaves and twigs, glittery war paint streaked across their faces. And Ebony couldn't have been happier, she was so pleased to have all of her friends there to celebrate with her. We went home and drank hot chocolate, then filled their tummies with plates of nutrition-free oven food before sending them home with cake-filled party bags. 

We went out on Sunday, just the two of us. A birthday trip just me and her. We went to the cinema, she held my hand with one hand while she stuffed popcorn into her mouth with the other. At the end of the film, she danced to the credit music at the front, her silhouette lit up by the screen. Then we went shopping, she spent some of her Christmas money on some new clothes. She loves dressing up, she loves glitter and sequins and anything that sparkles. As she stood in H&M, surrounded by glittery unicorns, sequined rainbows and shiny skirts, she said it felt like she had fallen asleep and woken up in pretty land. 

Six years of memories all playing in my head, exhausting me and leaving me feeling more than a little overemotional. Six years of helping that defenceless little baby grow into a strong-minded toddler and now into a fierce and loving little girl. A girl who wants nothing more than a pet turkey to cuddle (my fault for showing her those videos on YouTube), a girl who writes little notes to herself that I stumble across when I'm tidying up. A little girl who wants to grow up to be a scientist who uses her money to fund her animal sanctuary (I'm going to be in charge of the pigs). A little girl who loves dancing and creating and learning. A little girl who loves her friends fiercely, who already hates injustice and who isn't afraid to speak out against it. 

I couldn't be more proud. But I would really love it if she got better at sleeping. 

fb com


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...