You are 16.
Old enough to marry.
Sensible enough not to.
I shopped for you yesterday, finding time for trinkets on the London streets. I breathed down tears once or twice as I bought the odd mixture of toy and tinsel that befits you.
Grown up. Still a girl. Young woman. Our baby.
If I could show you inside my heart when I was your age, I would show you a girl who ached to be what you are; loved by friends, serene, talented, beautiful, confident, dancer, sportswoman, determined, focused, fun, loving, friendly.
My swishy haired toddler girl grown up to slim, strong woman.
You taught me how to be a mother, emerging gappy faced and needing a bear to fight for you. So bear I became. Without you, I would be someone else. We’ve watched you fight for speech, stride through 9 surgeries, overcome the endless twists and turns that nature dealt you with a grace and nature that stuns me.
I don’t know how you became you.
You amaze me.
You are extraordinary.
And now, calmer than the toddler, oozing love for all of us, central to our family, growing up, almost flown.
I’ve watched you learn to speak and learn to somersault. I’ve watched you revise and I’ve watched you recuperate. I’ve watched you step out alone, sure of your decisions and I’ve watched you have the confidence to know your roots are at home and you believe in them.
And now you are 16.
I cannot imagine that I could be prouder of you.