Saturday 25 February 2017

Where on earth have the last 8 years gone?

My daughter, my baby girl, turns 8 tomorrow.

Where on earth have the last eight years gone?

Eight years ago today I was told by my obstetrician that I would need to have an emergency c-section the following morning as the labour with my first child was not progressing. I can’t remember much of the c-section as I was past the point of exhaustion. I do remember hearing and seeing a purple screaming baby and thinking thank goodness it is all over. I also remember instantly feeling an overwhelming amount of love for my newborn.

Roll forward 8 years and the love that I have for O has grown and each and every day I am both equal parts terrified and delighted to be her Mumma.

O is beautiful and kind, caring and thoughtful. O is intelligent and is constantly wanting to learn. I have to keep reminding myself and others that O is only 7, well almost 8, years old as she has the temperament and maturity, at times, of a child who is much older.

At times I have expected so much from such a small person, but each time O rises to the occasion and astounds me with her maturity and her knowledge. O can be counted on. When we have the times when I urgently need her assistance with something because I don’t have enough arms to do everything, she makes it very clear that every talk that we have ever had with her, is stored in her head. She remains calm and helps exactly as she has been taught how to.

O took to her little brother immediately, she was besotted with L the moment that she found out that she was going to be a big sister. Although, O did originally want a little sister so when we found out that we were having a boy we thought that we had better prepare her. We didn’t really want O getting to the hospital and finding out that she had a baby brother and saying “take him back, I ordered a baby sister!”

But we needn't have worried as from the moment that we introduced O to L, she was instantly in love. From the very beginning O has always been one of his biggest supporters and advocates. O makes me proud every day the way that she is always so passionate and delicate when explaining to people why her little brother does what he does.`

The love that O has for her brother is huge and L adores O just as much. O cares for L no matter where they are. At school, at OSHC, at home, she is always acutely aware of his needs and is always on the lookout for him. But in saying that, while she is always aware of and is always willing to support L’s needs, she only gives him enough room for his Autism that he needs and after that they bicker like any other siblings do!

And then on the other hand, she will always save half of anything good that she has for L so that he can have some too, “so that he won’t be sad.” And when she spends her hard earned pocket money she will always make sure that she has enough money left over to buy L a small treat too.

One of the many things that I absolutely love about O is her innate ability to see the differences in others without judgement. She just accepts them and moves on. It makes my heart swell with immense pride how naturally and easily O views differences as a good thing. She doesn’t bother to mention them unless she doesn’t understand something and even then, she will ask one of us discretely. It is as if she is acutely aware of not wanting to draw attention to the difference as she doesn’t want the individual to be alienated. She doesn’t stare, she just says hello.

O is the child who is always ensuring that all her friends, and even those children who she doesn’t know well, are included in activities. No matter where we are, O always has a following of small children, she's like the Pied Piper! She takes them under her wing and looks out for them.

O is aware of others rights – “everyone should be able to love whoever they want to!” It is very clear that she supports equal rights for everyone and she is accepting of everyone. O didn’t bat an eyelid at an OzComicon that we attended when she asked a beautiful princess for a photo and the princess replied “not a problem” in a very deep gruff voice!

O voices her opinion about the future and what she would like to do and it all revolves around going to university and being a teacher so that she can help other children who need help. She would make the best teacher, carer, support worker or mentor that anybody could ask for.

O seems to have the knowledge and understanding to put into perspective what others need to go to school for years and years to understand. Most of the time O just gets things.

O loves driving in her Daddy’s car as he’ll crank the radio up so that she can sing along to the music. Although don’t ever try to sing along with her as you will be told in uncertain terms that you’re really not as good a singer as her!

She loves having O and Daddy time and if she thinks that it has been too long between Daddy-Daughter dates, she will remind us that it is about time to do something that she wants to do.
O understands that we simply can’t do everything that she wants to because of L but she never complains and she is never resentful towards us or L. So when she asks for a ‘special outing’ like getting out of the house to go to the movies or to a cafe and being made to feel special, we try our hardest to grant her her wishes.

I am trying to remember that she will only be this small for a short while. She is growing taller every day, she loves to measure herself against me – “I’m almost your height Mummy!” But as I keep reminding O, even when she grows up, she will always be my baby girl. No matter where she goes and what is doing, she will always be my baby girl.

I don’t think that I could have wished for a more amazing, special, unique, caring, loving and thoughtful daughter.

In the words of one of O’s favourite bedtime stories, O you are my most favourite first baby and your little brother is my most favourite second baby. You are both my favourties.

I love you to the distant galaxies and back.

Happy birthday baby girl, don’t be in a hurry to grow up xxxx

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