Happy Birthday baby girl.

Exactly eighteen years ago on this day I was very excitedly and impatiently awaiting the arrival of a new baby. At two weeks overdue and showing no signs of arriving of her own, she was being evicted. Having spent the night before in hospital, I had awoken to an early scan and been given the go-ahead for an induction. Naturally, with large hospitals being what they are, what actually happened next was many many hours of sit-around-and-wait-for-something-to-happen.

After a short and easy delivery, I met my daughter at seven that evening.

The thought swirling round my head that I still remember most clearly was “oh my God her eyes are like milk chocolate*”. That and “holy shit I actually have a girl!!!”

Coming as she did after two brothers and a shitload of male cousins and friends, the excitement levels were through the roof. Ironically she was the least pretty of all my kids as a newborn, but hands down the easiest baby ever born: waking once a night for a short feed by the time she was only a few days old and sleeping all night by two weeks, she spent the first few months of her life doing exactly what she had been doing in utero: sleeping. She was basically a living breathing dress up doll who demanded very little attention, despite being the centre of it.

She was supposed to be called Evangeline ever since her dad and I had been teenagers still dating, but the moment she was in my arms the name no longer felt right, and I wasn’t expecting that. My husband loved the name Zara, and I had no other name I really loved, so Zara she became. A couple of middle names were thrown in to honour her ancestors and our family background because we figured we might not get another shot at naming a girl, ultimately leaving her with three names that, when strung together, make her sound like a Russian tsarina.

Our beautiful girl has been the sunshine and light of our family, blessed with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen and a capacity for love that leaves me in awe. She is simply the very best sister I could have dreamed up for my three sons and the kind of girl I always wanted to be when I grew up. As a friend she is loyal and generous, and an example to me of how to tackle differences head on and truly move forward with forgiveness. She cries at absolutely anything {speeches, TV ads, you name it}, and goes from a giggle to laugh-crying in seconds. She’s a bit kooky and a bit crazy and a total sweetheart.

She has happily skipped a party this year because her birthday present is a trip to New York when uni wraps up, and is happy with a shopping and lunch kind of day instead. We’re also skipping the birthday cake because a. no party, and b. I always throw too much out, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to pull off that donut tower I saw on Pinterest instead. I’ve made her a movie because she loves that kind of thing, and you bet she’s going to cry when she watches it later tonight.

To my beautiful beautiful girl: happy 18th. You have waited SOOOO long and I know how excited you are to party with your friends this weekend. You make your father and I so proud every day {he gets all teary when he talks about it}, and never in a million years did I ever even dream when I was dressing you up in pink everything that you would grow up to be as spectacularly amazing as you are.

The love you show your family and friends takes my breath away, and our lives were truly blessed and changed forever on the twenty-seventh of April 1999.

I wish you love, laughter, champagne, hugs, Lola snuggles, and good people who will always make you feel as loved as you deserve to be.

Love you so crazily much,



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