Six years ago today was one of the happiest days of my life. If there was a film made of my life in the subsequent years, I think today 6 years ago would be the opening scene.
I woke up full of expectation and excitement. I rubbed my big belly (baby inside thank you, not wine and pizza induced). My two little rascals jumped into bed beside me, and then my lovely mum popped her head round the door, her hair scattered in sleep, her make-up free face made up with a smile of love. I was surrounded by my favourite people.
Then mum and I went to the hospital and she sat with me in the waiting room, and we laughed and we rubbed my belly. My last fought-for baby would be emerging from there today, and we basked in the glory of that utter miracle. To while away the time, mum patiently painted my nails. Ah sure, a bit of glamour was always a must, even when you’re about to have your belly sliced open! But of course, as soon as she had finished, the nurse walked over with a bottle of nail varnish remover and a cotton pad. No painted nails while you’re getting your belly sliced open.
We laughed, and she promised to redo them after Ruby was born. And she did. It was one of the first things she did when I was safely in my ward room, my beautiful new daughter asleep in the cot beside me. She painted my nails, and kissed my face, and loved me. Six years ago was the last time I felt that love. Her stroke 3 days later robbed us both of the next five years of her mothering me, and after she died in my arms earlier this year, the very first thing I did was paint her nails and kiss her face. I had been doing it for the previous five and this was my last time.
Six years ago I was still married, although I was unhappy and confused and it would be another 4 and a half years before I found out why. That my husband should never have married a woman. I look at the photos of this day six years ago, with me and my husband, my mum, my baby… and the only survivor of that is the incredible child who is now a force that rocks my world so hard, the ground shakes. The last six years have been the worst of my life – I’ve been felled by grief, depression, exhaustion, pain, loss. But all the way through the spirit of this child has shown me over and over that even when life is at it’s toughest, it is also magnificent. To watch her become who she is has been an extraordinary privilege, and I have a front row seat for the best ride I can imagine – the rest of her life. Everyone who knows her, sees the special spark in her that will bring everyone she loves along on a shooting star adventure.
The thing about getting older, is you have more to remember. Memories become friends that keep you company as you stride out to make more, and keep going. Six years ago today was a day that will stand out from the multiple humdrum days that don’t. My beautiful baby girl was born. And my beautiful mum was alive and well and I felt waves of love for and from them both this day. My mum is gone, the happy family picture is gone, but my baby girl is six and magnificent and while I am only 6 years older, I’m a life-time wiser.