At 4.30am this morning Frankie woke up distressed and I decided to take her into my bed. I lay her down, coaxing her back to sleep with a rhythmic, gentle shushing. But this time, I wasn't able to join her in a state of blissful slumber. Instead, I remained awake and positioned myself so that her dream-breath kissed my face. I love the smell of her breath; it sticks to my skin like laundry powder on fresh linen.
Frankie is turning one this week. Time is never truly measurable until you have a child and witness the change that a day can make. It can mean the difference between a stumble, and a stride. A gurgle, and a word.
The bad days pass agonisingly slowly, and yet by the time dawn breaks the child you put to bed is not the child you now hold in your arms. She is bigger. Wiser. Stronger. And always, eternally, surprising. The good days are the ones you brag about. The ones that you simply can't hold the pride inside, and must share it with the world or you will burst. They're the days that you bombard Facebook with videos, or call your cousins just to say 'hello' (but secretly, to brag a little bit that your baby is now crawling!)
Frankie - Frances - because of you I now live on a wide, flat plain of love. There is air, there is earth, and there is you.
Happy birthday, my love.