Today is your tenth birthday. It is ten years since you entered the world, bringing joy with you from the moment you arrived. That moment when I heard you cry and saw your little face for the first time was one of the most joyful moments of my entire life.
The joy you gave me in that moment gave me strength to get through your first, very eventful day. Those brief cuddles that we were able to have with you before you were whisked away for your first open-heart surgery were so very precious and the memory of them is forever tucked away in my heart. Back then, we didn’t know if we would be blessed with even one day with you, but we were blessed with six and a half beautiful, wonderful years. 2,412 days with you in our lives. I am so very thankful for each and every one of them, my sweet girl, but I will always wish that I could have had more.
I wish that you’d been here to wake me up this morning, excited about it being your birthday and being in double figures. Rushing downstairs to open some cards and presents before school. Chatting away about your birthday party which we would have held in Grandma and Grandad’s garden over the weekend. You would have had good weather for it too. I wish I could have had a mad rush trying to take photos of you opening cards and presents and then making sure all three of you had breakfast and got ready in time to go to school. You would have been doubly excited today with it being your little brother’s first day at preschool.
Instead, you were my first thought when I woke up, a few minutes before your brother came in for snuggles in our bed. I wished you a happy birthday in my heart and thought of that tiny baby who made me a mummy; the little girl who was full of smiles and giggles and whose half a heart overflowed with love. I thought about so many of the beautiful moments we shared with you, all the birthdays you enjoyed, all the cakes I made.
Instead of a rush home from school to open more presents and have a birthday tea with family and perhaps a couple of friends, we will be heading out for a little birthday picnic sitting by your forever bed. We will bring your cake, as we always do – this year’s one is inspired by the dragonflies that often appear at significant moments and make us think you are near – and we will sing Happy Birthday and scatter a few cake crumbs for you. We will remember how much you loved cake – a love that is definitely shared by your little brother who reminds us of you in so many ways.
I can’t quite imagine the girl you would be at ten. For us, you are forever six; forever that little girl who loved her Kerry doll, and getting lost in small world Playmobil play with her little sister. A little sister who is no longer the little one but is older than you lived to be, and is now leading the way for us as far as milestones and new experiences are concerned. I see your classmates at the junior school gate and they all look so very grown up now. I try to imagine you there with them but I can’t quite picture you there. You are forever frozen in time my darling girl, other than the rare occasions when you visit my dreams and I see you there, a little older than you were when you were here. This is how I get to see you grow up. It’s not how I would have wished, but those dream visits are so very precious. I just wish they were more frequent.
Today is an emotional day – your milestone birthday, the little brother you never met starting preschool. The house feels very quiet and empty this morning. In some ways, I’m glad of it though. This is my moment for you, my space for you, my quiet time with you. Time to sit and think of you and remember all those beautiful moments we shared.
Darling Jessica, what a precious gift you were. Your strength and your joy inspired me when you were here, when you were mine to love and hold and cherish, and it inspires me still. You taught me that each day is a gift, that tomorrow is never promised and to live in the moment and enjoy it. And although living without you is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, I try to carry your joy with me and to look for moments of joy in each day. I will always be thankful and proud to be your mummy. Happy birthday, beautiful girl
Love you millions and billions,