Happy Birthday Scarlett

I wrote this on social media today, to celebrate our lovely daughter’s birthday.

For Scarlett, my Scarlett.

Sixteen years of Scarlett. Sixteen years of being a mother to a daughter. Countless memories of you at every age.

Of that precious, precious moment of connection when all the chaos melted into the background as the midwives bustled around clearing up, Daddy started phoning people to tell them you were here and you and I lay, still and silent, looking into each others eyes saying our very first hello with you on the outside.

Of you meeting your brother Davies for the first time. Barely two hours old, small and soft and suddenly making my tiny two year old look like a giant as he sat next to you stroking your hand, your head before asking if he could open door 6 on his advent calendar now.

Of the times you went quiet and I would suddenly realise and dash into the room where you were to discover what it was you were up to this time. Clambering up furniture to get your dummy, emptying a bottle of baby shampoo onto your bedroom floor, drinking a bottle of rescue remedy, colouring yourself in with felt tips.

Of the battles we had when you were three – the screaming to not sit in your car seat, to not wear tights, to not wear a coat, to ‘go away Mummy’, to ‘not leave me Mummy’. I remember you dressed as a princess in a grubby golden dress, shoes long since left behind, tiara askew, chocolate around your face screaming at me in front of a garden party full of friends to ‘come here Mummy’ as you sat just out of reach but well within hearing range. ‘You’ll spoil’ her someone cautioned ‘you need to show her who is boss’. I Hope by coming to you I showed you that you are indeed the boss.

Of your adamance and firmness. Of the time you told me that if Davies was my son then you must be my moon. Not for you the label daughter.

Of your love of animals, all kinds. Of your encyclopedic knowledge of them and recall for facts about animals, your natural affinity with them. Of you hatching ducklings who absolutely believed you were their mother, of you and I sharing the wonder of assisting in the birth of piglets, of your tenderness with ill or ailing creatures, your command and confidence in handling them.

Of how you can take charge of situations, assessing what needs to be done and falling into whatever role is required – directing, encouraging, cheer leading, motivating or simply getting on and doing. You can step up, step back or step to the side and stand shoulder to shoulder.

Of your kindness, compassion and care. Of your thoughtfulness, understanding and empathy. Of your quiet consideration and capability. Of your spirit of adventure and fun, of your sense of humour, your creativity, your sense of justice.

Of your absolute unshakeable knowledge of who you are. You carry yourself with such confidence and belief and awareness. You never doubt your path or need to question how to be true to yourself. You show no artifice, no ‘for appearances’, you are you and much beloved for it.

I am forever grateful to have you in my life, to know you and love you  Happy 16th birthday my wonderful girl.

We’ve had a lovely day today, filled with Scarlett’s favourite things to eat and drink, cosy in the caravan with the log burner crackling out warmth, the Christmas tree giving out light and laughter and love filling the room. Messages from family and friends have arrived wishing Scarlett happy birthday and we have plans for a couple of days on the mainland just before Christmas for Scarlett to defer some celebrating too.

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