I can’t quite believe it’s been a year since your Mummy phoned me and asked if I could hear anything in the background, and there was the sound of you crying as gently as the new-born you were.
I’ll happily admit to tearing up at the news (get used to that by the way, I’m a big pile of mush where you are concerned) and all my visits in the first few months were full of awe and wonder, cradling this tiny little person in my arms, this beautiful little girl who grabbed my heart the minute I saw her. The first photo I have of you and me in the hospital (yes, I got a t-shirt made up, don’t worry, you’ll get used to that too) is already one of my most treasured.
You slept a lot at first, which is what babies are supposed to do, and then you opened those beautiful big eyes of yours and spent the next several months taking in all these new sights. You have a quiet curiosity that I think will stand you in good stead as you grow older and I hope you can stay that way for a long time; the world can be full of wonder if you look at it the right way.
Now, I have to mention the period you went through of bursting into tears every time I walked in the room. I mean sure, it only happened a few times, but seeing my darling little niece crying BECAUSE OF ME was just awful (remember, I am mush!). No, no, I’m not blaming you, I know it was a phase and not a conscious decision or anything, but I can’t help but want you to always be happy, to feel safe and loved (mush, I say!), and crying doesn’t really fit in to the equation!
I’m glad it didn’t last long, but I still wonder what was going through your mind at the time, all those little synapses firing, connecting things, making sense of the world. Hey, you’ve got a LOT going on, I get it.
Watching you grow over this past year has been amazing. The way you are learning where things are, what things are called, and interacting with the world around you both boggles my brain and delights me at every turn. I literally can’t keep my eyes off you, and I’m already wary of how cute you are and how much of a soft touch I know I’ll be when you grow older!
This is the second letter I’ve written to you and I feel a bit bad because when you are older you’ll maybe look back at the events of 2016 and they will seem to be dominated by negativity; I won’t lie, it’s been a colossally shit year. But it’s important that you remember that you were a ray of light at the darkest of times, and it was through your eyes that we saw the world a different way, through your eyes that we let all that other noise fall away whilst we watch you marvel and discover and grow.
Of course it’s been a pretty big year for you, aside from that whole being born thing, obviously. You started crawling and have now mastered what can only be described as a sprint crawl as you whizz around. Not only that but you are teetering towards your first steps and will soon be toddling about the place, as inquisitive as ever.
As if that wasn’t enough you went and started speaking! A few words so far but that will soon build to short sentences and, in no time at all, you’ll be saying important things like “Uncle G is awesome!” but let’s not be too hasty, there’s plenty of time for that (I’ll always be awesome, don’t worry).
Side note: I am a little disappointed your first word wasn’t ‘aardvark’ but I won’t hold it against you.
So, what does this year hold in store for you? Well pretty much more of the same, everything will continue to be new and you’ve got a lot more discovering to do, and I’m so excited to watch you grow. I hope we can continue the ‘no crying when I enter the room’ pact we seem to have struck, but don’t worry if it still happens sometimes. A recurring theme as you get older will be that I won’t ever have expectations of you or how you choose to live your life, just be whoever you want to be and that’ll make me happier than you’ll probably ever realise.
I know I’m not around every week, but you are always in my thoughts. You don’t realise it yet but you are growing up in a world of social media and so I see pictures and videos of you almost every day. I see how loved you are by Mummy and Daddy, how both sets of grandparents dote on you, and your beatific smile cuts through everything, no matter how bad my day might have been; having you around makes everything that little bit better and brighter.
You are adorable, beautiful, delightful, and more.
Happy Birthday Lucypops!*
* I’m trying to find a decent nickname for you so bear with me, I’m sure we’ll find something.
Also published on Medium.