Written 17th July 2018, photo from today 15th February 2019
This evening when I got into bed I was suddenly struck by how much I miss you. We’ve been so busy during the days adjusting to life as a family of four that I’ve barely had time to stop and think or feel very much. But as I got into bed it hit me, I miss you – I really miss you. I miss the way things used to be, I miss being able to give you all of my attention and all of my love, every hour of every day. I miss being able to go to you as soon as you call for me, because sometimes Ernie’s needs are greater than yours.
I was lying in bed, realising all of this, and I started to explain how I was feeling to your Dad. I was explaining that I miss the little things, like our morning cuddles, just you and me lazing in bed while he gets ready for work. The way that you wrap your little arms around my neck and cuddle me tightly, in a way that tells me you love me even though you refuse to say it out loud.
But before I could even finish my sentence we heard the click of your door opening and the sound of your footsteps on the landing. You don’t usually come into our bed that early on in the night so it took me by surprise – the best kind of surprise. I’d already started crying before you even walked into the room but as I scooped you up into my arms and into our bed, I couldn’t stop the tears.
I held you in my arms and cried.
I cried because I am your mum and I know you better than anyone. And I know that you miss me too.
You’re taking life as a big sister totally in your stride but I know there are things that confuse you. Things that you don’t understand. Like when you want to show Mummy the snail you’ve found in the garden but instead of being there straight away I have to finish changing a nappy or feeding your baby brother.
The evenings are the hardest times. Bedtime has always been our time. But now that’s when Ernie wants to cluster feed which means Daddy doing bedtime instead. Hearing you cry for me will never get easier. When I’m sitting downstairs feeding your brother and I hear the wobble in your voice as you call for me, I want nothing more than to run upstairs, jump into bed with you and wrap you in the biggest cuddle. But I can’t, because I have to feed your brother and it’ll disturb you going to bed if he cries. I have two children to love now and somehow I have to find a way to do that without breaking my heart in two in the process.
I was warned that this adjustment would be hard for me. But I didn’t know that it would be this heart breaking and this gut wrenching. I didn’t know the way it would tear my up inside to see the look on your face when you realise that mummy can’t do that right now, mummy can’t be there right now.
I can cope with less time to myself, I can deal with new challenges in everyday life, the juggling act doesn’t bother me. But the thing I can’t cope with, can’t even begin to come to terms with is how much I miss you and how much it physically hurts my heart.
You’ve had the most amazing adventures with other people over the last few days, but I know that you are also a bit confused as to why I haven’t been there. I never want you to think that I’m not there for you when you need me or that I’m too busy for adventures with you, my best girl. I’m so happy to see you build and cement relationships with other people but I just miss you so much. It’s selfish of me really but I can’t help but want to be a part of every adventure that you have. It kills me that there are days over the last few weeks that I don’t know what flavour ice cream you had and that I wasn’t there to see the flowers, stones and pine cones that you found and treasured for a brief, but important, moment in time.
I used to know every detail of your day, it was me that wiped every tear and kissed every grazed knee. But now you have scrapes that I don’t even know where they came from because it happened on an adventure that I wasn’t there for.
All I’ve heard from our family over the past few weeks is how well mannered and behaved you have been. I am so, so incredibly proud of you but you’re not the baby I left behind when I went to the hospital to give birth. I look at you now and I see a wonderful little girl who makes my heart burst with pride, but I can’t help but miss that baby.
My bump has gone and I can squeeze you tight to my chest again, and yet I’ve never felt more distant from you.
I didn’t know how it would work if you still wanted to sleep in our bed once your brother arrived, but I’ve never been happier to hear the sound of your footsteps in the middle of the night. To pick up your warm little body, lift you up and cuddle you in as you drift off happily, knowing you are loved and wanted. I think I get as much comfort from you, as you do from me in those moments. It gives me the reassurance that not everything has to change and that you still know you can come to us when you need us.
I will forever be thankful for all the time we had together, just you and I. I hate that you won’t remember it and you’ll soon forget about life before your brother but I’m happy in the knowledge that you loved it all. Every spontaneous park trip and day out together. Every cake date at Sainsburys cafe or afternoon spent tearing around soft play. Even though you won’t remember any of it, it has all moulded you into the person you are today, and you are amazing Darcie.
Now we’ve got a third member of our team. We’ve got new memories to make and new adventures to have. We are going to give your baby brother the most amazing start life the same way that I did for you. It’ll be even better, because he has you too – his wonderful big sister. We’ll still do all of our favourite things together and I’m sure we’ll find new favourite things to do as well. Life will only get better, there will be even more love and laughter to go around and we will thrive as a family of four. You love your baby brother so much already and I’m so excited to see your relationship grow even more.
But for now, I can’t help but miss you. I don’t know if this feeling will ever go or if it’s just one that I will learn to live with.
You may never read this or maybe you will, many, many years down the line. I’m sure that life will look very different to how it does now but my love for you will be no different to how it was the day you were born, how it is today and how it will be fifty years from now.