Another year passes, and suddenly Tallulah, you are twelve.
Where has the time gone?
Mostly it has gone in you growing. Growing taller (thank you. Finally we can do theme parks), growing funnier, growing smarter, growing a beard (you wish, mistress of longed for facial hair) growing more beautiful, growing more stubborn (which in turn is growing me more grey hairs), growing a little wiser…
Growing your voice, which can certainly not be called little.
Growing your personality, which was also never small.
Growing in that messy wonderful way you have of being yourself.
Just, y’know, growing up.
Like you do.
And what do I do while you are doing all this growing?
I hold you in my mind and I think of all the birthday gifts I want for you. My gift to you, most lovely girl, is my telling you what I did last year and every year before that and what I will do this year for you, and every year that comes after it.
I will watch you, and be in awe of how strong you are, how determined you are, how passionate you are about the things you choose and want to do, and equally the things you do not want to do.
I will wish I had even half your strength of mind. I will wish sometimes you didn’t feel you had to use that strength of mind against me quite so often. I will think wistfully of peace that passeth all understanding. It might come to pass if I understand you better. I know sometimes I don’t get it right, but I try, Tallulah. I always try.
I will never stop that trying.
I will support you as you learn your way into this new landscape of almost teenager hood. I will hold you up when you’re ready to drop. I will pick you up when you do drop. I will listen when you are in thrall to emotions way more grown up than you know what to do with. I will be the barrier you can hurl yourself against when you’re not sure where the edges of this new, more grown up world are. I will be steadfast.
I will never let you down.
I will mess up though, and I will apologise, even when I don’t want to, because I do like to be right. I will hope that because I will mess up and apologise, and the world will not end, even though I think it might, that it will give you the great gift of being able to do the same more often than you did last year.
I will continue to learn to be a better mum to you, because if there is one thing you have taught me, it is how to be a better mum. I will learn to thank you for it more, because you’ve earned those thanks.
I will love you as I have always loved you, with the same fierceness that radiates through every cell that makes you you. I will match you blow for blow, tear for tear, cuddle for cuddle, laugh for laugh, love for love. I will meet you at every place you want me to be and probably the places you don’t. I will always be the rock you can hurl yourself against. I will always be the calm in your storm. Never doubt for an instant, you are not alone. You are my heart. I carry you with me wherever I go, always and forever.
You will be and are most precious, most cherished, most loved.
You will be and are always my baby girl and I love you always.
I will be your mum.
Happy birthday darling girl.