Dear Ella, Squids.
You seem so big even though I know you are small. Everyone who meets you remarks how you are something special. You are, you know. You smile at people and it’s like diamonds pop out of your eyes. You wave at strangers and they break out into a grin, snapped from their grown up, responsible, heady thoughts into the innocence of your happiness. “Hi”, you say softly when I get you from your bed in the morning and as soon as I bring you into ours, you want the fairy lights turned on. You start singing twinkle, twinkle little star – “up-a-bove” is how far you get, intercepted by little outbursts of “light?” “light?”, and I lie there with you as you snuggle your face into mine, wondering if this is my favourite thing ever. Or perhaps it’s at night, when you – all bathed and jammied – climb into bed with me and we read stories together under the ‘up-a-bove’ lights.
These are the pockets of time when the rest of the world feels far away. It’s just you and me holding onto each other, like the fact that we are two separate people is an illusion. Like there’s no space there at all.
You thrive off other people. When a friend of yours arrives, you drop whatever it is you’re doing, run straight to them, put your hand five inches from their face and wave madly, grinning like you’ve seen Santa himself. You are confident, loving, convicted, aware, expressive. And possibly a little stubborn, although I’m sure you get that from your father’s side and certainly not mine.
You love dogs but hate geese. Every time we say the word geese, you drop your eyebrows and narrow your eyes and say ‘geesh’ while shaking your head ‘no’. You’ve just grasped the concept of time and so as you sit their chattering to yourself (“Ava?”, “Si-Si?”, “Oma?”) you then say, matter-of-factly, “soon”. Later, you say to yourself. I smile as I watch you, unaware of me there, and think that you might actually be the cutest, smartest, most beautiful child ever to have existed.
Right now, you are twenty months old, four months away from being two. And as such, you hover, flitting on the cusp of being my baby girl, and being a little person in their own right. A big sister.
Some days it hits me hard and I feel like time is running out. Time when it’s just you. You’ve been all I’ve known. The best moments of my entire life have happened because you’ve been inside them and sometimes I can feel nostalgic at the thought of less time with you – at the dynamic of ‘us’ changing. I wonder how you will feel, having a baby brother to make room for. I wonder how I will feel, having a baby son to make room for. And the moments when I panic a bit, when I think I’m not ready for things to change, I watch you – you with your baby dolls, carrying them so carefully, refusing to leave them behind anywhere, you with babies you pass on the street, curious, excited, gentle. I watch the way you lie on my belly every single day so you can be close to your brother, and I realize that he is just as much a gift to you as he is to me. I realize that I’m giving you one of the greatest offerings I possibly could, and that it’s not just a matter of me loving you and me loving him, but of you loving each other. And when I think of that, well, I cry.
This was our weekend, Squids. One you will probably never remember.
We went camping with your two best friends whom you never stop talking about, and honey, when the trip was over and we were back home – sandy, salty and sunburnt – the very first thing you’d say after you’d wake up was “Ava?”. “Si-Si?” For days.
We dug holes in the sand and filled them with water for you to jump into. We ran down sand hills. We went exploring through rock pools. We lit sparklers and toasted marshmallows and you even got a glow stick from Ava and Sienna’s mum, because she’s fun like that.
And your Daddy? He had a great time too, taking you out on his surfboard which you did not like, and flying his kite which you did.
Your baby brother came too, but he doesn’t do much yet.
He just grows.
And we just wait.
And Ava and Sienna’s mum, Renae, well, I can tell she loves you because of the way she looks at you and also because she sometimes sneaks you Anzac bikkies when I’m not watching. Which is a good thing, really, because when I look at you, all mock-shocked of me, and say “Hey! What’s going on here!”, you scrunch your face up and smile this incredible smile and it makes me happy.
These are our days with you, Squids. This is our life, made rich and full and entirely unforgettable, all because you are in it.
Friday Photo Dump
My small Instagram happies (@theredtent if you want to follow the feed)
Sending stacks of Friday Love to this little online community.
Find some happy around you. Enjoy it. Pass it on.