Here we are, another year older already - I hardly know where the time has gone. You've grown and changed so much since my last letter, and have so many new experiences under your belt.
You started dance classes at the beginning of the year and pre-school after Easter, and you've blossomed incredibly. A little shy, and easily overwhelmed by large groups of people, you need a little time to climatise, but you always do quickly and happily and are playing and laughing and chatting in no time. And everyone at nursery thinks you're the bee's knees. You make us so proud. It's taken me a while to work out it's best to just leave you to it and stand back, or be there for plenty of cuddles, gently encouraging you to join in only after a few minutes. Thank you for being so patient and letting me figure it all out; how best to parent you, how best to be your Mama.
You have a hard job being the eldest my little love; I should know - and Daddy too - as the eldest ourselves. We talk often about remembering to not put pressure on you and expect more from you than we should. You are so clever and bright and switched on that I think sometimes we forget how little you are. And you help Coralie out so much, teaching her and guiding her without anyone having to say a word. You are a wonderful big sister Josephine.
The last year has seen your relationship with Coralie change so much, and it is lovely to watch. You now play so happily together (most of the time...I understand how frustrating it must be to get that puzzle ruined AGAIN after you spent so long carefully fitting together the pieces) and to watch you giggle and laugh and conspire melts my heart. A beautiful friendship is being forged and you're both so lucky to have that.
Right now you love all things fairies and elves and unicorns, Barbies and babies, and also cars, jumping, bike riding, running and the time you get just you and Daddy up at the allotment; what a special place that is for you both, and what fun you'll have next year there too. So proud of your matching wellies and hoodies, when you set off with your hair tied up and your backpack on, ready to work.
I love that you're the only dancer to clap the other ballerinas as they cutesy after each class every Friday, and how you were beside yourself with excitement when we visited Moorland Rd and I told you there were seven charity shops there. Your Mama's daughter, for sure.
You dance so beautifully Josephine, I well up at least once every dance class. Coralie and I sit entranced week after week. And I love our ritual of visiting the library straight after to return and pick out two books. You always know exactly what you want or don't want, and there's no persuading you. Reading with you is the best; always so many questions about little details on the page, hidden in the pictures. You notice the smallest things - don't ever stop. Your Grandpa once told me to 'always look up, because you could be missing so much' - and I think of that often. I don't think I'll have to remind you, but I'll be sure to pass on that wisdom as you grow.
You make your Grandpa so proud, of that I'm sure. Boy, he would have loved to have been around to hang out with you; to have seen you as Mary in your nativity a few weeks ago and take to the stage so naturally, singing and doing the actions. To see you fly round the track on your bike and to see the amazing outfits you concoct from the dressing up box and emerge from your bedroom wearing. To hear the downright insane stories you make up, before throwing your head back with a pretty evil sounding laugh. He would have thought you're completely mad, and completely brilliant. And your living life so completely and enthusiastically is a reminder for me of how we all should, like your Grandpa did too - and I thank you for that darling.
Next year will be another huge one for you - in September you start school! I can hardly believe it, nor do I want to! We've completed your application and I will now happily forget all about you being away from me for the majority of the day, five days a week, until April when we find out which school you got into. We plan to fill the summer with adventures and send you off with brilliant stories of crazy escapades and daring exploits of your time by the sea and up in the Scottish Highlands. Your first time on a plane too...you're so excited!
I suppose I could offer this advice or that prediction, but all I want to say Josephine is - continue being you. Because you're awesome. Goofy and beautiful. Kind and funny. Stubborn and serious. The most wonderful creature. And even when you don't listen and test my patience to it's extremes, I still think you're wonderful. I am in awe of you, always.
I am so proud of you, so proud to be your Mama.
I love you xxx