My eldest girl is 13, a teenager. 13 years ago today she was born, she was a brand new human on the planet and I was a new mother.
I have loved this child from the moment I peed on a stick and the line went blue, she was the beginning of a new life, of new hope, of great change and my pregnancy was filled with anticipation of all of these things.
I have loved her through those early weeks of shock, when the reality of keeping another human being alive weighed heavy and the strength of my desire to protect her took my breath away.
I loved her through the many sleepless nights and the endless exhaustion, I loved her through my crisis of confidence when I struggled to trust my instincts and find what was right and what worked.
I have loved her through a million bedtime stories and one or two bedtime battles, I have loved her through the challenges as well as the cuddles. I have loved her through her tears and her bravery and she gave me strength and feelings of immense pride when her brother died. I have loved her through the hell of softplay and freezing parks in the winter, I have loved the fun of splodging in puddles and paddling in waves with her. And I have loved just watching her.
And now my girl is 13 and I love her through her attitude and her moods and her stubbornness. I love her company, I love her thoughts and questions, I love her insights and her desire to understand, I love her humour and her achievements and I love to watch her grow and change into a young woman.
My heart is full of memories of her smiles, her laughs, her words, her kindness, her discoveries and her playfulness. My heart is full of pride, love and gratefulness. She has taught me about selflessness and patience, she has taught me about playing, about fun and about love. She is amazing.