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My darling Aimee

30 years ago today, I was born.  Yes, I know it’s your 30th birthday but the moment I held you in my arms, I too was born.  I hadn’t known what life was all about until that moment.  I certainly didn’t know what absolute, unconditional love was.  Of course I loved people but I didn’t know that love could make your heart hurt, until YOU were born.  I didn’t understand what it was like to know without a shadow of a doubt that I would lay down my life if it meant saving another person’s, until you came along. You woke me up.

I had shut down a lot of my feelings over the years.  Life had hurt the child that was me so much, that I cut off from the world but I honestly  thought what I was doing was living.  As soon as I held you, I knew it wasn’t.  THIS was living.  And I was terrified.  I suddenly knew what forever meant.  I couldn’t walk away from you.  I knew in that first moment of your life that I would love you until the end of time.

It took me a while to get used to you.  I was completely out of my depth.  Motherhood didn’t come naturally to me.  I always felt like I was incompetent.  Then you would look at me and somehow encourage me to keep going.  You nurtured me as much as I nurtured you.  Did you know that it was when I was singing to you that I felt the most at peace?  You would listen with such intensity that I felt like I was doing SOMETHING right.

Then by the time you were one, you were singing along with me.  I didn’t make it easy for you.  No small little songs that had easy to learn words.  No!  We sang about the Grand Old Duke of York who had 10,000 men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again.  And let’s not forget Goosie Goosie Gander, wither shall I wander.  You managed them all.  I felt proud.

I was short tempered, impatient and cranky so much in those early years yet you loved me regardless.  You had a maturity well beyond your years.  Your mischievous streak would see you revving the boys up so the house was bedlam and when I started to lose the plot, you’d calm them down again because you knew I was not handling it.

I can’t believe you’re 30 today.  Where did that time go? It feels like only a short while ago, you were the freckled face, red headed kid that would climb into my bed every night because you didn’t want to sleep alone.  And it feels like yesterday that I stood by your coffin, holding your hand and trying to will myself to say goodbye.  I’m glad now I only said goodnight, not goodbye.  It was never goodbye.  Goodbye is final.

I’ve been imagining what life would be like if you were still alive.  Would you be married? Would you have children?  Would you have fulfilled your dream of being a cartoonist?  Would we still walk around with our arms around each other?  Would you still sit on my knee regardless of how big you got?  In my mind, it’s yes to every one of those questions.

In my mind, you are 30.  Letting you grow up in my imagination was easy.  Each year I’ve imagined what you’d be doing and what you’d look like.  Sorry kiddo, but in my imagination, you look a bit of a cross between me, Lachlan & Stuart.  (less hairy than the boys though)  Some of the things I know about you aren’t just in my mind.  Some things I don’t have to imagine.

Like your wicked sense of humour.  Just last night, Stuart told me that he was at work and for the first time in 12 months of working where he does, the meal for the evening was Apricot Chicken, your favourite.  He couldn’t believe it.  So, of course, he was really looking forward to having YOUR favourite meal the day before your birthday.  There was one serve left of that and one serve of beef.  Everyone had their meals so he knew he’d get what he wanted.  Out of the blue, someone came in late and chose his apricot chicken.  I laughed out loud when he told me.  Typical of you.  Offer him something then take it away.  You always did love revving him up.

I don’t have to imagine our closeness as I know you’ve never left me.  I have felt your presence around me so many times.  I have felt you climb into bed with me, the same as you used to do.  I’ve felt your arms around me, holding tightly as you always did.  When the missing you gets too bad, you somehow manage to give me the same old kick up the bum like you always did.  The lead up to May is always hard.   Your birthday, Mother’s Day and then the anniversary of you leaving. Sunday night was the  hardest I’ve  had in years.  Missing you doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. But by Monday morning you put information in my path that I wasn’t able to ignore and you showed me exactly what you wanted for your birthday.

You want me to be happy.  As per usual, you made it abundantly clear what you wanted and there is no way I could pretend I didn’t get your message.  The signs were very obvious.  You couldn’t have made it any clearer than if you were standing in front of me, yelling it in my face.  And not only did you tell me, but at the same time, you told Lachlan the same thing.  It’s not only okay to be happy again, but it’s essential.

It seems like every year on your birthday, you give me a gift.  Don’t get me wrong, the things you’ve done have been so obviously from you and have been appreciated but they still make me feel bad for celebrating when I don’t have you here to give a gift to.  But you spelled it out loud and clear this year.  It’s time to be truly happy again.  That’s what you want from me.  No more excuses.

I always thought that if I were ever to be truly happy again, then I would have forgotten you.  But I could never forget you.  You were my sunshine.  You were my gift from God for having got through so much pain in my young life.  You were the best of me.  I remember when I was pregnant with Lachlan, I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to love him the way I loved you.  It was only when I had the boys that I realised how huge a mother’s heart actually is.  It just keeps expanding.  There was as much love for them as for you.

One day, when my time on this earth is done, I know without a shadow of a doubt that you, Mum and Gargie will come to take me home.  I also know that my time is not now.  Now, I have some living to do.  I’m always going to have times where missing you will bubble up so hard, it will spill over and run down my cheeks.  Those days are okay.  But to be living half a life like I’ve been doing for the past 20 years isn’t what you would ever have wanted for me.

So I promise you my darling girl,  my life from here on in, will be dedicated to happy.  I’m wrapping it all up in a huge overflowing box.  When I try to tie a bow around it I’ll be having to push laughter, love, abundance and happiness back in to try to make it all fit.  The wrapping paper is pink.  Yes I know that’s my favourite colour but I’ve made the ribbon and bow in your favourite blue.  It doesn’t matter if they clash.  As you always told me, all the colours look good in a rainbow so they can’t be bad together as a rainbow is so perfect.

You hold my heart in your hand as you always have.  Thirty years ago today, a tiny pink bundle with red hair and blue eyes stormed into my life, making so much noise, my heart had no option but to wake up from it’s sleep.  Today, my adult angel still holds my heart in her hand.  She’s not quite as noisy, but she’s every bit as unsubtle as ever.  Thank God.  My heart went back into hiding for a long time after you left.  Now you’ve dragged it back out into the sunshine, ready to truly live this life to it’s fullest.

I thought for a long time, that it was grief that kept you close to me.   You’ve shown me that it’s not.  It’s happiness  & joy that clears the communication between us.  It’s love that vibrates as fast as angel’s wings, allowing you to be closer to me.  I don’t ever want to close that gap again.  You are my sunshine.   I loved you before I met you, I loved you from the moment you were born, I will love you until the day I take my final breath and beyond that.

The words of a song come to mind.  I’ll love you till the bluebells forget to bloom.  I’ll love you till the clover has lost it’s perfume.  I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme.  Until the 12th of Never, I’ll still be loving you.

I will always feel so proud that you chose me to be your Mum.  I’m so lucky to have had such a funny, smart, beautiful and loving daughter, regardless of how short our time together was.  I promise I will do my best to live up to that incredible honour.  I will live the life I  wanted for you and what I know you want for me.  One filled with happiness, love and grace.  I love you forever.

Happy birthday Sweetheart

Love Mum xxxx