This seems a fitting way to end the year; to write you and Coralie each a letter. I think this will be the beginning of a new tradition for me. A place to reflect on how much you've grown and on all the wonderful things you've done this year. And the end of 2014 seems to be a good time to start such a tradition, it being the biggest year of both our lives in so many ways.
The beginning of this year was so hard my darling, so so hard. When your beautiful Grandpa died on December 27, 2013, our hearts broke. You weren't even two, yet you sensed something was wrong, that something had changed forever. I'm sure in the years to come we'll talk about those first days, and this first year, after Grandpa left this world. You'd never seen me cry before and yet you weren't scared or worried, just sweet and concerned and so kind. Always so kind.
I will forever be thankful for your kindness, my darling girl. And one day, when you're older, I'll thank you properly. Because I will carry the words you asked me, and still ask me, almost everyday in my heart always. 'How you feeling, Mama?' Never prompted or forced, always genuine and quiet and soft. And always followed with the biggest cuddles, kisses and 'Love you, Mama.'
We talk about Grandpa everyday, happy memories of fun times you two shared, and stories of the fun I had with him before you were born, when I was small. I know we'll talk about him always, and it heals my heart to do so; with you especially. You two had a special bond that was only going to grow into the most wonderful friendship. I think my Daddy had found his calling being your Grandpa; it was a role he took to so easily. And, after missing out on spending so much time with him when I was small, I was so excited to be able to be part of the relationship you two would have. It is the saddest thing that you won't get to share those adventures, make stories of your own together, play and laugh like I thought you would; like you should have. I cry about that so often.
We talk right now about how Grandpa is in a very special place, a wonderful happy place, but a place where we can't go. That he will always hear us if we want to talk to him; he will always catch the kisses we blow to him, and that when we look at the stars and the moon, we should take comfort in the knowledge that he is looking down on all of us, and that he will always protect you.
And keep singing this little song, like you do right now. I will always sing it with you, whenever we see the moon. And I know you'll teach it to Coralie as she grows.
“I see the moon, the moon sees me. The moon sees the somebody I long to see.
I love the moon, the moon loves me. The moon loves the somebody I long to see.”
Of course, 2014 has also bought us the most wonderful gift. Your little sister. Oh, how you love her! While my tummy got bigger and bigger, you were so excited to get ever closer to meeting your new little brother or sister; helping me sort the baby clothes was one of your favourite past times, and we must have gone through those tiny pieces nearly every day. You were sure she was a boy, and when you came in to meet her, and I told you she was a girl, for a moment I could see the disappointment in your face. Then Coralie sighed and she reached out her little hand, and I saw you fall in love. In that tiny moment, I saw the awe in your eyes. It is a moment I will remember forever.
Always wanting to hold her, cuddle her, kiss her. Your 'little one', your 'darling'. You are the best big sister Josephine, and Coralie adores you. It's clear to us all. You can make her chuckle like no-one else and her eyes light up the moment she sees you. They have from that very first meeting.
You have grown so much this year Phiney. In every way. You're so big and strong and you love doing your press ups, when Daddy does his. You can run so fast and so far, and you have energy that is boundless.
You speak beautifully. And say the most wonderful, hilarious, clever, honest things. I write them down on a piece of paper in the kitchen draw and will record them here, in our journal, one day soon. Daddy and I don't ever want to forget them.
Every night we put your bottle in your bed, with one of your 'guys' pretending to drink it, for you to find when you get out of the bath. You laugh every time.
I think, if I let you, you'd eat a whole punnit of cherry tomatoes or a whole packet of malt loaf every day.
You ask when we're going on holiday again at least five times a week. I think beside the sea, on the beach is your favourite place in the world. And I think you'd happily invite your best friend, Oliver, to live forever in your bedroom so you two can always play games. You talk about him constantly.
Our beautiful Josephine, you are the most spirited little girl. You're stubborn and strong-willed, yet kind and generous and thoughtful and so sweet. And you're completely crackers, which I adore. My little fruitcake.
Yes, this year has been such a big one for you. And you've handled it all magnificently my darling. What wonderful adventures await you next year. What lessons you have to learn, and what lessons you will teach me along the way.
Merry Christmas little one, and may the New Year bring you only the most magical and happy of times.
I am so proud of you; so proud to be your Mama.
I love you, forever and always xxxx