Your special day has come and gone little one, but these words have lived inside me since. I watched you solve the puzzle clues and retrieve your presents and I laughed. I laughed because at seven you are still every bit the go-getter you were as an infant.
I thought about carrying you deep inside me, warm and protected while my life roared around you. Everything changed, turned upside down and inside out but your presence remained. Like your brother, you kicked me incessantly and gave me hideous heartburn - rolling and undulating like an alien child beneath my skin. And I loved you from the moment I knew you were there. I remember the hours of active labour, seventeen hours with no dilation, living in Taylor time. And then, suddenly - as is only your way - you came crashing into the world unexpectedly within forty-five minutes. I can still hear the sounds of crashing metal as the nurses ran to deliver you in my hospital room.
I remember how different you were from your older brother, not caring for cuddling and carrying but preferring to lay on your own to observe the world. I thought about the way you would squirm if I held you too long, longing to be just you in your own space. How you were insatiably hungry, never getting enough - wanting food every hour of your little life.
I thought about how, at five months old, you crawled. Determined to chase your brother you moved about "commando" style, interested to see, hear, touch and taste all the colours of your brother's world. I thought about the out and out battles we had, getting dressed, cleaning up your toys, eating dinner. I can still hear "ME DO IT, BY SELF" echoing in the hallways of my heart. But I also remember the sweet stillness of night, while I rocked your damp curls in the crook of my arm, heart to heart with your thumb in your mouth. Your fountains of ponytails on the top of your head - those big beautiful eyes and straight from the gut laughter.
There was a time you were very sick, very often - nights of rocking your feverish body to sleep in the muted lights of the hospital, praying as I kissed your hot forehead that the fever would break. I remember taking you to the emergency room for your first stitches - and holding your wee arm for your first broken bone. Your frenzied energy has always steered you at breakneck speed, and I've been right here (and will be) to help you pick up the consequential pieces.
I still remember your first day of kindergarten, watching you run FROM me to the line up, throwing a cursory "I love you" over your shoulder. You didn't need me to mediate your world anymore than you did as an infant. You love purely with every fibre of your being and with a fierceness that takes my breath away. You are all go and no stop - and by GOD do I love you sweet girl.
Happy Birthday Peanut.