I had the pleasure of sharing my birthday with you this month, but it was tinged with equal joy and sadness.
The joy came with the fact that you were there.
You were there the night before as you baked a cake with my best friend L, as I was out for the first time drinking too much fizzy stuff with friends (but that’s a whole other blog!) You were there just after I woke up – bubbling with excitement – giving ‘huggles’. You were there ripping off my wrapping paper as I opened my presents. You were there telling me you were sorry your picture had smudged in your birthday card. You were there taking my breakfast order in bed and helping L cook it for me. You were there ushering me into your room, which was dark so you could blow out my birthday candles with me. You were there as we took spoons to my requested carrot cake and you pulled your ‘yeuk’ face as it wasn’t chocolate. You were there when I was banished to my room, as you blew up balloons and decorated the house with banners left over from your birthday. You were there as we spent the day in the sun at the park. You were there in the pub garden having lunch. You were there helping to prepare my evening feast of my favourite foods, and you were there not wanting to go to bed way too late in case you missed any of the fun!
But what was also there was your anxiety, your disregulation and your fear. This is my sadness. The need you have to be perfect; that you had to make it just so. It took a couple of days of me feeling frustrated and exhausted, until, as I put you to bed three days later, you told me the truth. You had found the whole day difficult because you didn’t know if you were getting it right! So much is linked to birthdays for you and so much trauma happened around your birth mum’s birthday. You simply couldn’t enjoy it as you were worried I wouldn’t, and if you got it wrong you would have to leave. Then I remember you have only been here 11 months and there is so much more to come out. Next year I hope you trust that you will always be here, but I can’t think about that now as it is too overwhelming. I tell you every day we can’t change the past, but we can change our future.
I hope that one day, when you are older than seven, you will understand that you being there is enough for me – birthday or no birthday.