Every now and again life throws a curve ball, something that alters the course of your life, something not part of your plan, but The Greater Plan.
You might get a couple in your life, if you’re lucky.
Ella was mine.
She was – is – the greatest curve ball of my life.
I look at these photos and I have no recollection of that time. How tiny she was. How she felt on my chest. How I used to feel.
All I know is that I loved her.
Tomorrow, Ella will be four years old. She will wake up way too early and rush out to our bedroom and coo us awake with a Mummy? Is it my birthday now? She will be celebrated with balloons and presents and the chocolate cake we hunted down and picked out today together. We will go through her baby books and she’ll make us tell stories of when she was a baby, especially the one where she used to say ‘toshee’ instead of ‘coffee’. She loves hearing that. We will do all her favourite things and go out to pizza for dinner and her grandparents and the rest of her family will come too — more presents, more fanfare. She will be beside herself with happiness. I can already see it all playing out.
And I don’t have many words tonight except that I am okay about it, her turning four.
Because now is now. And I’m so in love with the little girl before me that it’s hard to pine for a long-lost version of her I don’t remember. Besides, there’s this game I play with myself when I watch my kids sometimes, pretending they’re 25 or so, moved out, onto their own lives. I pretend I’m looking back on this moment right now, when they are four and two, playing hide and seek under towels and holding each other’s hands as they cross the street. I pretend I’m a future version of myself looking back on who they are RIGHT NOW and it makes me feel all gushy grateful and sentimental and so freaking happy for this day. I take them in harder. I’m present a little more. I love them a little better.
But I’ll always stay sappy for photos like this.
When once upon a time, I was lucky enough to have a tiny, breathy, bundle of a thing tucked up upon my chest just moments after she made me a mother. The rest of the world did not exist in that moment and I’m the luckiest for ever being within it.
In four years, I’ve learnt that I do have what it takes to be a good mother. I’ve learnt that curve balls – often – are the best things that could ever happen to us. And I’ve learnt that being a mother is hard, but not as hard as it would be if I weren’t hers.
Happy birthday eve darling girl.
I love you so much.