Dear Jessica,

When you were born four years ago everything changed. After all of that waiting and wondering about you, suddenly there you were and I couldn’t believe how much I loved you. 

You as a person were an abstract concept when I was pregnant. You were the moving blob on the ultrasound screen and the wriggling lump that kept kicking me in the ribs.  I thought I understood what having you would mean, turns out I had absolutely no idea.

From the second I held you in my arms and felt the weight of you pressed close to me, I knew then that I would do everything I could to do right by you. I wanted to never ever let you down. I wanted to be perfect for you, because you were, and still are, perfect. 

Becoming a mother is hard. There’s no manual. You can read a thousand books and still be left utterly clueless, holding a screaming baby at 3am. 

Those early baby days hit me hard. The worry over breastfeeding, panicking over why you were crying and eating every meal with one hand took its toll. 

I tried my best, but I always felt like I was not getting this motherhood thing right. I wanted to be perfect for you. 

And despite all of my very best intentions, I am not perfect for you.

Some days I feel like I’m not a good enough mother for you. I shout. I ran out of your favourite snack. I forgot to wash your favourite top. I left you sitting in front of the TV. 

I remember clearly one day in the early weeks how I cried as I held you in my arms, because it had all become too much. I held back the sobs because I didn’t want to scare you, but the tears and the screwed-up ugly face were both there. You gazed up at me and smiled. Really, really smiled. This wasn’t gas or a fluke. You saw me pulling a different face and found it funny. And I couldn’t help by smile back.

And that’s what you do for me every day. You take moments where I am pretty much on my knees and make me feel better, purely because you exist. 

You, and your sister, are the reason for everything. Without you I would be completely and utterly lost. 

And those are just my feelings towards you as your mother. But I want you to know that these four years seeing you grow and become the person that you are have been a privilege that I am so lucky to have witnessed. I love you because you are my baby, forever, but I am amazed by you because of how extraordinary you truly are. 

You are so so clever. You remember things with utter clarity that happened years ago. You say words most adults would struggle to pronounce. You’re already writing your name.

You are so kind. When your sister needs something, you rush to get it for her. When I ask for a cuddle you always rush over to give me one. 

You are so funny. Just hearing you laugh makes me smile, but when you point out or do silly things I crack up every time. 

You are already such a wonderful person, and still there is so much more to come for you. 

Happy fourth birthday my darling girl. I love you. Forever.