Ten years ago today, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, my daughter Lily was born. The foot and mouth crisis in the UK was slowly drawing to close. It was a calamitous year.
Lily was born so swiftly that I hardly realised I had given birth..'Look down, look down' the midwife said, and there she was, a tiny waxy little girl. After giving birth to a boy, Freddie, two and a half years earlier, I had been (secretly) hoping for a daughter...my Lily
I could tell you so many things about Lily.
How, as a newborn she cried every evening but stopped if I took her outside to see the moon.
How she walked on her first birthday...although she didn't really want to be any where but my arms until she was three.
How she called orchids, 'awkwards' and buttercups 'hiccups' until she was nearly in school.
How she kept a little wooden fox by her bed because 'she saw foxes in the night' and was scared.
I could tell you that she was solemn with strangers, but kind, loving and happy at home and with friends. And she talked about poo as much as any other child.
I could tell you about how she used to refuse her spinach at dinner but happily browse on pennywort and hawthorn leaves in spring.
And how, when flagging at the end of a long walk, I used give her and her big brother Freddie one date each and the burst of energy sent them charging up the last hill yelling 'date power!'
I could tell you how she sometimes woke early and took Tansy and Leo into her bed to read and play.
I could tell you the wildflowers she knew...fumitory, black medic, scarlet pimpernel, guelder rose....The Flower Faries were her favourite 'reading in bed' books.
What I can't tell you is what she'll be doing for her birthday today, although I know she'll be close by, in the whispering trees, in the iridescent damselfly which visits us every day, in the little wren who hides in the willow.
|Lily's 6th birthday, 2007|