Darling Tallulah, you’re fourteen today. Happy, happy birthday my love.
You tell me that fourteen is going to be the most exciting and best year of your life to date. I don’t doubt it for an instant.
You are an amazing young woman. I am in awe of your strength of character and your sheer determination. When you were teeny, weeny like a new born chick I used to worry that this determination would be the end of you. Given that it was largely channelled into spectacular tantrums I worried it would also be the end of us. Now that you’re older I see it as the making of you. You figure out what you want and where you want to be, and then you just do it, whether it be teaching yourself guitar or being determined to move up to top set in maths. If you tell me that fourteen is THE year, then I absolutely know it will be. It wouldn’t dare be anything less.
Last year on your birthday I wished you a bit of inner peace, and looking back today I think you’ve found it. Not too much, but just enough to give you breathing room, to let you pause to think and reflect and decide what you want, rather than being pulled by forces outside of you. You’ve taken some big steps towards growing up this year. You’ve faced some difficult times and difficult people and every time you have risen to the occasion magnificently and inhabited your own skin that bit more confidently. I’m so proud of you my darling.
I told you a few weeks ago that you were a spectacular person to spend time with and that I didn’t know anyone who makes me laugh as much as you do. I told you that you had just as many skills and wonderful traits as your sainted sister, and that if anyone told you any different they were, and I quote; ‘a big knob head.’ I wanted to put it in print so that one day you’ll come across this and know it to be true enough for me to have taken the time to write it down.
You’re not the same as each other, and let’s face it, who’d want you to be? You are both splendid, valuable, wonderful people, in totally different ways. And I wouldn’t change you for the world, Tallulah. Not one jot, not even on the days when you stick your bottom lip out at me, and we still get a few of those.
Life without you would be monochrome instead of glorious technicolour and that would be rubbish, so I really hope that number 12 on your ongoing list of fears, that a member of your immediate family might rise up and kill you, isn’t going to happen. I’m fairly sure it won’t, to be honest. After all, if we’ve survived the first fourteen years, the rest of your life should be a doddle.
I’d also like to mention on record that I am highly doubtful that number 14, ‘being seduced into crippling debt by a loan shark’ and number 3, ‘doing a manslaughter, maybe accidentally on purpose’ are also unlikely to happen. I hope that gives you comfort in the wee, small hours. I know what I’m talking about. I’m your mum.
This year I’ve danced with you at an Elbow concert, I’ve had your back during options, and I was proud to march by your side at the Women’s March earlier this year. I’ll be prouder to march by your side wherever life takes you in the future. I’ll also bring my maracas in case your music career means I get my Bez moment on stage. I’m sure you’ll have come round to the idea by the time it happens.
I love you so much that there really aren’t adequate words to describe it. You are definitely my favourite child (along with the other two). I can’t tell you enough, so I’ll show you by making enough macaroni cheese that you can definitely have four helpings for your tea tonight. Leave room for cake though. It’s your favourite.
Love you till my heart aches.