Yesterday we went to a wnderful Christmas party with Piccolo music. It did not take overly long before half way through Jingle Bells and I was fighting back tears as my daughter stared lovingly at the Gruffalo (sized suspiciously like a 4 year old boy) sat next to us. I am blaming it on a hormones, too many mince pies before 10am and the recent passing of what should have been Wriggles' second birthday if she had had the decency to arrive on time rather than three months early. I can't help it, I try, I've really tried but sometimes I just get caught unawares and it is like an enormous smack in the face remembering everything. It isn't so much a terrible way, it's more a bewilderment that all the hardship has lead us to this moment of joyful normality I never hoped to dream we could take part in.
So many times I have sat. By an incubator. By a cot. By a hospital bed. In the doctors surgery. In A&E. In an ambulance. In intensive care. In clinics, so many clinics. At the child development centre. The hospital canteen. So many tears I have cried, so many nerves I have wrung dry.
What have I to show for it?
This beautiful face. This smile. These twinkling eyes. This full-of-beans-zest-for-life-loving this thing. And Christmas really brings it home. It is such a time of hope and joy, not to mention family and celebration. Last Christmas, Wriggles had no mobility and was not even a reliable sitter-upper at over a year old. She may still be yet to walk, talk or eat by herself but the progress she has made in a year is astonishing despite acquiring a diagnosis and tube. As this morning we sang along to our festive CD, she giggled like a lunatic and copied the actions, sometime with prompting and sometimes spontaneously.
It is impossible to erase the past. It happened and really is a huge part of our lives. To some people it may seem like needless torturing yourself but really is it fair to forget? Especially when so many have trodden this path before, many with different outcomes, some happier, some sadder. At this time of year, as much as the celebration it is time to remember the babies who fought but were not so lucky, babies and children who were loved enough for a thousand lives but are not here now. We were so nearly them, more than once and that is why these little moments are all the more special for us.