One of our traditions since Jessica was a year old has been to do a festive photo for our Christmas cards. It started off with a very small Jessica in a Santa dress, sitting in front of the Christmas tree, and was followed by a nativity scene the following year with Jessica as Mary and a six-week old Sophie as the baby Jesus. Over the years, I got a little more imaginative and started playing around with photo editing software a little more to create different scenes.
I loved doing those photos with my girls. And thanks to the magic of photo editing software, I could manage to include all three of my children in another nativity scene last year. This time it was Sophie as Mary, and Thomas as baby Jesus – and my own little angel Jessica there with them – taken from a photo of her in her school nativity play. A scene that I would have loved to have been able to create in reality, but seeing my three children together in life is something I will only ever be able to dream of.
This year’s festive photos see my little trio all together, dressed as elves, busily working together in Santa’s workshop. This time it is Thomas who has been Photoshopped into the last festive photos I took of his sisters together. Three children playing together at the table. How wonderful it would have been to have seen this in reality.
It breaks my heart to realise that this is the last time I can capture all three of my children in a festive photo where age-wise they’re in the correct order. Jessica is still the oldest sibling, but next year, Sophie will overtake her. From next year, the reality that Jessica is forever frozen at six years old will hit harder. And that feels so very hard to bear.
I wish so much I could have had the reality that I see in these photos, but it can never be. Instead, I have a Christmas tree with a Jessica-angel on the top; several baubles that are in memory of my beautiful biggest girl; empty spaces at my table, in my arms and in my heart; and a handful of photos where I get to glimpse a life that exists only in my dreams.
Thomas (1 year 4 months)
- Received his ’10 signs’ certificate at Tiny Talk.
- Has started walking with Sophie to school. It is lovely to see him holding Sophie’s hand and walking across the playground with her.
- Has learned to climb. Now the fun really begins!
- Seems quite fascinated by all the Christmas lights, and going to see Father Christmas.
- Loves dancing and doing all the actions to ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’.
Sophie (6 years 1 month)
- Has moved up a reading level and is now on turquoise books.
- Has now started tap dancing classes and is enjoying them.
- Enjoyed performing in her class assembly and in the Christmas concert at school.
- Enjoyed getting to take Walter, the Halo bear, home with her for a couple of weeks.
- Is getting very excited about Christmas and has been counting down the sleeps, and enjoying helping Thomas open his advent calendar as well as doing her own.
Jessica (forever 6 years 7 months)
- 14th December marked eight years since Jessica had her Norwood procedure – her third surgery. Always so very thankful for all the surgeons, doctors, nurses and everyone involved in Jessica’s care. They helped give us six and a half wonderful years with our big girl.
- We donated a situs doll named after Jessica in Tiny Tickers’ Donate a Doll appeal. These dolls will help sonographers at the 20-week scan and improve early detection of heart defects. Had Jessica’s heart defect not been identified early on, we wouldn’t have had the time we did have with her.