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Dear Ameli

Today I feel like a terrible mother. See, it’s the 1st of April, and tonight we fly back to England from South Africa. We’ve had six months where you’ve grown so attached to your Oupa and Nana, but mostly to your aunty Deshaine, and tonight we take you away from it all.
For myself, I’m excited to be going home, and back to the life we’ve forged for ourselves. I’m excited to have our family unit back, and I’m excited to resume our habits and ways. I’m sad about the people we’re leaving behind, and I’m gutted about our Kat, and the fact that I’ve not managed to find a home for this creature who appeared on our bed when we woke up one morning.

For you, however, I feel sick right into the very pit of my stomach. I know you’re a child, and I know you’ll adapt. But I am very scared. See, yesterday you and I were home alone for a couple of hours, and I was trying to finish up my work before we travel and go offline for a few days. You started calling “Dee, Dee” and when aunty Deshaine didn’t materialise, you started pulling on my hand.

Knowing she wasn’t here, I didn’t move, but eventually you had rivulets of tears running down your cheeks, and my sick feeling became panic. I got up and let you lead me where you wanted to go to look for her. We walked out through the glass doors, out the garden gate, through the little alley between the neighbour’s houses and as you rounded the corner and saw her car wasn’t there, looked up at me with such surprise, raised your hands in a question and said, “Car?”.

I welled up. I didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t there, and you started sobbing and wandering around the complex looking for her car.

I have no words for how awful I felt. And still feel.

So tonight, we bundle you on a plane, and we say goodbye and we take you off to a life that you don’t remember, surrounded by people you don’t remember, and away from everyone you love.

I can’t help feel that we’re doing you a grave injustice. Yet, there are no alternatives. This is our life.

So, on Monday you will be 18 months old. You have a fantastic vocabulary. You tell us when you want something, and you definitely tell us when you don’t. You can communicate your needs and wants so well, I sometimes feel like we’re having a conversation, even though your words aren’t perfect yet.

You’ve lost so much of your baby fat over the last month, and shot up too. Dresses that were under your knees when we arrived here six months ago are now shirts, trousers are now capris, and I’m going to have to buy you a new wardrobe soon.

You’ve started drawing, and every discovery of a pen leads to a ‘draw’ exclamation. So far, however, your favourite thing to draw on is yourself. A couple of months ago you just held the pen and squiggled – now you actually know what drawing is, although it’s still a squiggle. I’m really looking forward to getting into arts and crafts with you.

So, little girl. Herewith starts our next phase.

I have no idea what the future holds, or where it will lead us. I’m sorry for the pain, uncertainty, loneliness or longing that you’re about to experience. I’m not sure if you even know that that’s what they are, but baby girl, I am so sorry.

All my love,

Mama

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Dear Ameli- Letter To An 18 Month Old

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