Letter To A One Year Old

Dear Aviya,

Happy birthday my beautiful  beautiful little girl. We celebrated your birthday the other day and it was just a lovely day. You are just such a treasure. 

I’d love to sit here and tell you what an amazing year it’s been and how everything’s just been wonderful and beautiful and magical, but it hasn’t. It’s been a tough year and there’s no point really in pretending otherwise.

It’s been a difficult year from long before you were born, so it wasn’t you that made it difficult.  Mama and Daddy were struggling with money, we  weren’t able to pay rent, we didn’t know whether we’d be able to stay in our house, we didn’t have enough money for food sometimes, and sometimes even our friends had to bring us food, and we had to borrow money from our own parents.

Mama and Daddy were struggling too, because Daddy was feeling sad a lot of the time, and Mommy was trying to work and be pregnant and be sick and pregnant and trying to keep us afloat and there were just times when it was almost all too much.

I look back at the last year and I try to picture it as a whole year and despite all the difficult things – including Nana getting sick and going to Australia and living with other people, which was very hard for Mama sometimes – but I look back at all of it, and I try to think of it as one picture, and you know the one picture I see in my head all the time is just you.

You as a baby, smiling,  looking up at me, being joyful. You are just beautiful and smiley. You have a contagious and infectious smile, amidst and in spite of all the crazy things in our life. Everyone looks at you and says you’re such a smiley joyful child and they are right. I am so incredibly grateful that we have that in you and that we were gifted with this child who can cut through the darkness and radiate light from your eyes. I have no idea how we got so lucky, but we did and I am so very grateful.

I have to tell you there were times in my pregnancy when I didn’t know if you were going to be okay because of the sickness medicine and because I was so sick and there were times when I felt like nothing was ever going to come right again. There were times when you were a newborn that I felt so worried that we were never going to be able to do right by you, and we were never gong to be able to give you the best, be the best parents, or give you everything you deserve.

But you are so low maintenance and so full of love and… I keep coming back to the word joy, because that’s what you have and that’s what you are: a joyful little pixie elf girl. 

You know, with your sister i thought my life had changed so much I didn’t recognise it. It was all awe and amazement. I look at you and I never thought with a second child I would feel all that awe and amazement, but you know what? You are so different to her, that you bring your own bags of awe and amazement with you and, it’s a miracle.

Having you has opened my eyes to so much about people and differences and life.

I love you so very, very much. Not just because of who you are or just because of how you’ve changed me, but all of it. As a package deal , you’re amazing.

So… some of your milestones:

You are walking, but you were a slower starter than your sister. You were walking at 10 months and 10 days, and before your first birthday you were toddling around on your own.

Now, at 12 months you say Oupa and Nana and ‘Meli (Ameli) and  you babble and point at things and use inflections to show us what you want. And my goodness when you want something you make sure we know it! You don’t take no for an answer. Your screeching isn’t much fun, but your babbling is fantastic.

You’re a really good flyer – you just lie down on your belly in the bassinet and that’s you for about 8 hours with minor wake ups here and there. A real star in the air.

Unfortunately I can’t say you’re enjoying the UK winter too much. I think it’s the sheer amount of clothes you have to suddenly wear, making you look like the Oros man! I know how you feel.

You’re on solid foods, but you don’t do meals, really. Just a bite here and there.  It doesn’t replace your milk, but you nibble. You still have a lot of milk through the night and now and then, but your main source of solids is stealing food off your sisters plate! She doesn’t mind too much though and is normally happy to share with you.

You’re in about the same sized clothes as Ameli. She’s taller than you, but body-wise you wear the same clothes. You’re not fat or anything, but you’re just… well, Mama’s child!

You are going for your first, way overdue haircut this week. You badly need it, but I wanted your first haircut to be special so we had to wait till we were back here.

I think that’s about it for now.

I just want to say thank you again for choosing us to be your family  Thank you for coming to us and bringing light into what has been a very dark time. I know some people might say I shouldn’t tell you about how hard it’s been and what a rough time we’ve had, but the fact is, you have been a LIGHT. A light in a VERY dark time. When I look back over the year and I think of all the hardships, every picture in my head isn’t about struggling, and food, and rent. The pictures in my head for your first year are a little girl, smiling, laughing, nursing, crawling. Those are the things that 10 years from now I’m gong to look back on and remember, and I really, really, really thank you for that.

I adore you baby girl.




Dear Aviya – Letter To A Two Month Old

Dear Aviya

When life revolved around just us and Ameli and work, I thought time went by so fast. Now I have you and Ameli and work and well, there just aren’t two empty seconds next to each other in the day. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard in all my life. I don’t think the time has moved as far either.Read more: Dear Aviya – Letter To A Two Month Old

Letter To A 28/29 Month Old – Last Letter To An Only Child

Dear Ameli,

I’m a few weeks late with your 28 month letter – so late, in fact, that it’s nearer to a 29 month letter now, but I really wanted to write to you one more time as an only child. I suppose technically you haven’t been an only child for almost nine months now, but you’re just not aware of it yet. While Daddy and I have been making space in the home and our lives, hearts and thinking for this new baby, you’ve been blissfully unaware of how everything in your world is about to change.Read more: Letter To A 28/29 Month Old – Last Letter To An Only Child

Dear Ameli – Letter To A 27 Month Old

Dear Ameli,

Happy 27 months my girl. I was putting you down for a nap this afternoon and lying there, watching you I thought, “this is a kind of magic”.  You had your one arm under my neck and the other on my waist and as you were drifting off you whispered, “Don’t leave me, Mama.” I lay with you for a little while and stared at your face. This is a kind of magic.Read more: Dear Ameli – Letter To A 27 Month Old

Dear Ameli– Letter to a 23 month old

Hello beautiful girl.

You are 23 months old! In just one month, you are going to be a two year old. I can’t even begin to tell you how that fact flabbergasts me.

We’ve spent the last month in South Africa, and you’ve just blossomed. Aunty Deshaine saw you four weeks ago, and this week again and she can’t believe how much you’ve changed in just that time. You have new words, many of them, and your comprehension is phenomenal. You know what things mean – like if I say we’ll see aunty Desh on Monday, and you see her, you will ‘remind’ me, that it’s Monday and there’s aunty Desh. It’s amazing. You amaze me.

I guess being here, being played with, being in the sun, active and involved with the world around you has made a big impact, since you have been so much better at sleeping this month. You normally go down for a nap in the day, and at night there’s no fight about sleeping. It’s been wonderful. Refreshing, and wonderful.
Read more: Dear Ameli– Letter to a 23 month old

Letter To A 21 Month Old – Dear Ameli

Hello beautiful girl,

Yesterday you turned 21 months old, and right now, I think of you and little butterflies flutter in my heart and bring a smile to my face. I wish I could formulate words to tell you how perfect I think you are. Of course, you’re a toddler. You refuse to pick up your toys when I ask you, and turn your head away pretending you can’t hear me when I ask you to go call Daddy for me. You’re by no means ‘perfect’, but you are my perfect little girl.
Read more: Letter To A 21 Month Old – Dear Ameli

Dear Ameli- Letter To A 20 Month Old

Dear Ameli,

The days go by so fast. I can’t believe so many things: We’ve been back in the UK for two months, you’re twenty months old, all but your nappies have changed from baby to little girl.

Your development is out of this world. I’ve been taking little videos of you almost every day, just to try to keep up. New words enter your vocabulary all the time, and honestly, sometimes you come up with the cutest things.
Read more: Dear Ameli- Letter To A 20 Month Old

Dear Ameli- Letter To An 18 Month Old

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,