Last week, my littlest girl turned eight years old. EIGHT! I simply can’t wrap my head around it – I still think of her as the baby even though she’s in Year 3 at school now.
She was so excited in the lead up to her special day: asking me every day how many sleeps were left; making quite sure that we’d definitely given out the invitations to her party; and checking whether the postman had delivered any parcels.
Her actual birthday was pretty quiet. It always is, as it falls during that curious in-between time after the start of the new year but before everyone goes back to school and work, when everyone is trying to muster up some motivation whilst attempting to recover from the post-Christmas slump.
She opened her cards and presents slowly, savouring each one and squealing with delight as she saw what was beneath the rainbow coloured layers of wrapping paper. She was so grateful for every single gift she received – she always is – and I loved watching the expressions of joy and surprise flit across her face. She gave out ‘squeezy cuddles’ in abundance. She (and her sisters!) spent all morning playing with her new toys, and then I took her out shopping in the afternoon, just the two of us, to spend a little bit of her birthday money. It was actually really lovely to spend some one-to-one time with her. It’s not something that happens very often with any of the girls – we’re pretty much together all of the time except when they’re at school. We chatted as we walked. She told me all about the different My Little Pony characters and which ones were her favourites and why (it’s her current obsession – she got My Little Pony EVERYTHING for Christmas and her birthday!). We talked about her friends at school, her party the next day and what she was most looking forward to about being eight. She slipped her hand into mine and everything felt right with the world.
Her party was the following day, an inset day. She was still awake at midnight, too excited to sleep bless her. She chose a bowling party like her big sister had just a month before and invited her five best girlfriends from school. It was chaotic, noisy and they didn’t stop giggling the whole time. It was utterly wonderful and she lit up inside.
I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of Lola. She has the biggest heart of any child I’ve ever known and so much love to give to the world. She still wants to work as a teacher when she grows up and I think she’ll be brilliant at it. She gives the best squeezy cuddles, she loves to sing and she whispers in my ear every day without fail “You’re the best Mummy in the world and I love you with all my heart” and it still makes me well up with happy tears every time she says it. I don’t quite know how I managed to co-create this beautiful little soul but she teaches me every day how to be better, how to love harder, how to be the light in someone’s darkness. I can’t wait to see who she’s going to become.