18 years ago today - we left Fowey for the hospital really early in the morning and we were second on the list for theatre so you were born about 10am I think. There was music playing although I can't remember what, and the surgeons and nurses were very chatty, it was all about what everyone had done over Christmas and what the plans for New Year were. You and I were going to be in hospital when we went into 1999.
I cried so hard when they told me you were a girl, after two boys I hadn't really realised how much I wanted a daughter! I'd have been delighted if you were a boy, you would have been called Finn, but here you were.....the perfect Alice! The perfect Alice with the biggest feet, that was the first thing Jill noticed! And I thought how lucky you were to have two big brothers to look after you and despite what they say I know they really do love you!
Despite spending the first 4 months of your life in a hip brace and the 'attention' of your big brothers you were a very content & smiley baby, sleeping through the night from 9 weeks old, what a star!
One of the things I loved doing the most was sewing you little pinafore dresses, the first one I made you was before you could walk and you crawled up inside it and got stuck which made us all laugh and you get frustrated so dungarees it was till you could walk! I managed to get four years of dressing you in what I wanted and after that your very impressive determination and character kicked in and that was it, if you wanted to wear a pink tutu, red wellies and a policeman's hat then that's what you wore, no amount of persuasion from me would sway you!
You were also a little beach & water baby and at every opportunity would strip off and jump into the sea, river, pond, lake or pool and given the right circumstances I don't think you've grown out of that!
You and I have had a sometimes rocky relationship and we've had to work really hard at being mother & daughter but I think we've got it right now, don't you?
I could write about embarrassing & funny stories, of temper tantrums in inappropriate places or how amazing it is I still have an intact tongue from the amount of times I have to bite it but I won't! What I want you to know on your 18th birthday is what an absolutely AWESOME daughter and young woman you have grown into and how incredibly proud of you I am. At your core you are a kind, loving and loyal young woman and nothing makes me prouder. You have worked so hard to achieve the things you have and that takes courage and tenacity. Two people missing in your life are Granddaddy and Granny but I know without a shadow of a doubt they would agree with me and your Grandfather would be so impressed & proud that you passed your driving test before your older brothers!!
Actually, I have to tell one story.....the one about the advent calendar I made because I think that was the first time it was obvious to me you were a total chocoholic!
It was the Christmas before you were two and I had made a large fabric advent calendar with little pockets and we've used it almost every December since. I hung it on the wall and filled all the pockets with chocolate pennies, three in each. I'd gone upstairs for something and when I came down there you were standing on a chair smothered in chocolate and penny wrappers all round you on the floor! You'd pushed the chair up to the wall and taken out all the pennies you could reach and stuffed them in you mouth, impressive work for less than two minutes that I was gone! So from then on I could only fill the pocket the night before and even then Jack and Paddy had to get there first or you'd eat their chocolate as well!!
As if I haven't embarrassed you enough with all this, I just want you to know these things.......I love you from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, all the way to the moon and back, in a way only a mother can love her child. I think you're a beautiful girl with a beautiful soul and there simply aren't the words to tell you how proud I am to be your mummy. XXX