7 year old me would brag on the school yard that some day I was going to have two children. A boy first, of course…and a girl second, so that her older Brother could look out for her. Coming from a family where I had experienced the love and support of having an older Brother, I knew I wanted exactly that for my future. My childhood had been perfect, so much so that I wanted to mirror it for my own children.
The day I discovered I was pregnant, I instinctively knew I was expecting a Boy. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind! As the sonographer revealed the gender, I cheered so proudly to have been right. I had my perfect son – my perfect start to our family.
Having a son was so important to me, I wanted a boy because I knew how loving they could be, how proud I could feel about raising a man but most importantly, I knew how special older Brothers could be. I already felt so lucky to have one amazing child but my plan was always that my Son would be an older Brother.
When we discovered we were expecting again, my heart ached for you. I know how this sounds and yes – I would have loved a second Son just as much. A healthy child – no matter the gender -would have made me so incredibly happy. But, my life’s plan was always to have you!
Our 20 week scan was on a Tuesday. Your Father had left work early and the three of us headed to the Hospital. I recall sitting in the waiting room almost pained with eagerness to see you on screen. Obviously, our priority was to know that you were healthy and growing as you should have been. Yet, I just still couldn’t wait to know your sex.
Although too young to comprehend what he was seeing, Tristan looked at you on the screen with so much awe. He marvelled at the flickering image wriggling around contently and he cheered at the noise of your heartbeat. The sonographer told him he was getting a little Sister; I cried and cried with happiness.
My perfect family was complete!
Finding out I was getting my girl was such an incredible moment. From being 7, I had high expectations for your future. I had in mind exactly how I wanted you to be.
Without question, you’d have blonde hair and blue eyes. You’d be quirky and individual, confident and assured…undeniably beautiful. I envisaged you’d be good at sport, always energetic and full of desire to achieve.
In my mind, you’d be a ballerina. A perfectly poised, enigmatic ballerina. At 7 years old, I saw you dancing on stage – people looking at you in absolute admiration. Radiantingly elegant, you’d hypnotise your audience with irrefutable skill.
I’m going to be honest here, my vision of what I expected from you is almost cruel and unkind. I had expectations of you that even I was incapable of. Expectations of you that most women never accomplish.
Your early arrival in this world taught me some well needed perspective. In the moments where you nearly died, I grieved solely for my little girl, my Daughter. As I watched the Doctors relentlessly trying to stabilise you, I had time to ingest what I was at risk of losing. Hair colour, eye colour, academic or physical ability did not once enter. Instead, I saw only the love I could be denied.
In the days that followed your birth, I swore never to burden you with unreasonable ideology. Just to have you breathing, just to have you living would always be enough!
At 17 months old, you were eventually diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Part of your diagnosis meant accepting the fact that there may be things you’ll never manage to do, physical ailments you’ll harbour all your life. I’m struggling the most with this.
You see, to me, there’s nothing you can’t achieve!
I once ignorantly worried that my 7 year old vision for your future had been crushed. That I’d never get the chance of fulfilling my dreams for you. I want you to know that I’m aware of how pathetic I have been. My 7 year old dreams for your future were always going to be completely inconsequential.
Something I learnt very quickly about you is your strength of mind. From 9 weeks before you were due to be born, you had your own style of doing things, your own wants and desires. These are what matter the most!
At almost two, you’re the cutest most quirkiest Doll I’ve ever known. You’re passionate about living, approach everything with a ‘I can’ attitude. It’s this attitude which leaves people spellbound. You’re not even two and already so many have marvelled at your strength, are astonished by your decisive and domineering demeanour.
Your passion for 80’s disco hits is entertaining and bewildering but you don’t care! You dance your beautiful heart out in whichever way you please. You care only about the pleasure you acquire and not at all about how you are perceived. This is something I hope desperately we can retain.
Recently, I took you to a ballet class. I must admit, although trying to look calm on the outside, inside I was bubbling with anxiety. I worried that other Mothers would think I was cruel, as though I was forcing you to be something you may never be…may never want to be! I worried that others may think I was delusional, expecting you suddenly to grasp physical demands you’re quite obviously incapable of doing. Mostly, I worried that you’d hate me for pressurising you with those unrealistic dreams I once promised I wouldn’t.
Of course, you proved me wrong.
You attempted every dance, giggled with magnificent joy as your legs bounded around the room. You waved your arms side to side and danced with so much pleasure that my heart felt blessed to watch you.
Every day, you make me realise that there’s literally nothing you can’t do! I’ve no doubt in my mind that you’ll conquer every challenge you decide to take on – whether that be ballet dancing or not.
Lots of love, your biggest fan xx