As I sat somewhere between Rockhampton and Airlie beach in the passenger seat of the car with your brother driving ... and me alone with my thoughts (missing you terribly on this trip and wishing you were with us), I shut my eyes and thought back to a time when you were almost four and he just a few months old. You, with your sing song voice and winning ways could keep him entertained with your sweet little tunes for hours. It only mattered that you were near. His world exisiting because you were in it. You would kneel down next to your baby brother and his arms would suddenly wave wildly in excitement, his chubby little legs kicking in delight just because you were there, beside him. You made him smile, his face lighting up whenever you were close. You have always been the one to make him chuckle that heartfelt sound from the depths of his belly. Your love for a good laugh has always set you apart.
As the hours dragged by I had plenty of time to think on our first road trip without you, and I thought back to a time when you skipped around the house singing your little heart out every day, all day. Oh how I miss those days. I knew then that my prayers had been answered, here was the the voice I had waited a lifetime to have. The voice of an angel sang out from this little girl with the twinkly eyes and the sweetest soul. My heart so full, rested content in the knowledge that I had been blessed with the most beautiful gift. If only the voice of critics were darts that didn't find their mark. If only the words of the wise were the ones that nestled safely into little hearts. Does the world not realise that shaking the burgeoning tree makes it lose its leaves?
You were the cutest firefly at the end of your first year of school, lighting up the whole stage at the end of year dance recital. You twirled along with all the other fireflies but you were the stand out with your shimmering gold wings and serious smile. Grandma and I watched you and I remember my heart bursting with pride. I had never seen a more delightful little dancer. Then when you entered Year Two I couldn't believe how focused you were, so determined and eager for what lay ahead of you. You ended up receiving the 'Diligent and Faithful' award at the end of the school year. But then something happened that shook your belief in yourself, oh how my heart ached when the words of others stung and you began to doubt yourself. How I wished a mothers love could shield her child from the hurtfulness of the world.
Remember the time I made you swim the length of the pool at the school swimming carnival when I found out that the novelty event was for poor swimmers? I knew you could do it, even if you doubted yourself. You looked at me curiously, uncertainty written on your face but got in the pool anyway, trusting me. I felt torn. Should I wrap you up and keep you from pushing yourself to the edge of your ability or do I allow you to think that possibility is within your reach? You made it to the end of the pool. You were upset with me though, you came in last. How could I make you do that! .... but right then as you got out of the pool dripping wet and furious with me, I knew in that moment that you were a fighter! You had just pushed yourself beyond your own borders and even though you didn't know it yet, you would need to know this without a doubt for the difficult years ahead.
And then remember when I bought you new shoes for the school Fun Run because you were sure you could run faster, except the shoes fell off half way into the race! I felt sick, my heart rate increased as you tripped and fell. Tears wedged in the corners of my eyes as I watched you lying there on the track willing you to get up and keep going. I knew how you would be feeling, how anxious you would be in that moment. I wanted to run over straight away and brush you off. I just wanted to pick you up and tell you it didn't matter, except it did matter to you. I stayed where I was cheering you on. You got up. You kept going. Right then I learnt something about you, I realised you wouldn't take anything lying down! Can you see it now, how I see you? You are stronger than you know, braver than you realise, always have been!
A mothers journey has to be the hardest of all, to watch her child falter and fall is a pain all on its own. To stand by and watch as your child finds their own way through the struggle has been harder than expected. How do you hold on to their heart and let go of their hand all at the same time?
There have been ups and downs to be sure. But, you have navigated your journey well. You have been let down and carried pain you were never meant to bear but despite it all you have followed your heart and found your way through it all. There is a tenacity about you that pushes the limits, a raw fierceness at the core of your being. You are both sweet and fierce, vulnerable and determined - a fighter not a quitter! My sweet girl, channel all the beauty of you into worthwhile pursuits, the world needs the bravery etched into the framework of your soul. It needs the broken bits of an aching heart to bring healing to others, allow the intensity of your passion to fuel the fire in those around you. My darling firefly, shine bright in the darkness, there is a light inside of you that draws others into a beauty that is uniquely you. No-one can be who you are suppose to be to the earth right now. Protect that light so it doesn't grow dim, let it shine ever brighter.
My darling girl, you will always have my heart.