Tomorrow my beautiful first born, Saoirse, will turn 13. The day we brought her home, when she was 2 days old, Mick and wrestled to get her in the car seat as we did not know there was a button the adjust the straps.

Nowadays we are still wrestling with her as she becomes a scary teen. But as we are on the cusp of that happening, I want to celebrate the last day before an adolescent appears in my kitchen, by telling you about my spectacular little girl (she’s going to kill me for saying that.)

Age 3

I had always wanted a daughter.  I don’t know why exactly but I just did.  My wish came true in December 2006, the perfect Christmas present.  I has always planned to call her Eden; I had read in in a book as a teenager and decided then and there that would be my choice.  But when I was trialling out names at a meeting in work, my colleague piped up “Eden Hayden? You sound like you are yodelling.”  He was right, so Eden was crossed off the list.

I trawled every baby name book I could find, looked at the credits at the end of every movie and looked up unique celebrity names on line.  But I just couldn’t find ‘the one’.  Then Mick said, if it was a girl, he would love to call her Saoirse.  I liked it, even though I wasn’t sure how to spell it!

When the mid-wife handed her to me, she said she had never seen a child that looked so much like their father and by god she was right.  She was a mini Mick and became known as Mick in a dress.   I loved her the second I saw her, but I came to learn a few weeks later, that the consuming love you feel for your children doesn’t always happen the very second you see them.  I was changing her nappy, when she was close to a month old, and I burst into tears, because I was just so happy and overwhelmed to be a Mum.  

I was hooked, being utterly besotted with my baby girl and could never be without her.  Her first smile was on January 24th 2007, I remember the date because it is my birthday, it is the best birthday present I know I will ever get. (Some Tiffany diamond earrings would make a close second Mick, if you are reading this.)  

When she was a baby, I used to dance around the kitchen with her and my favourite song was ‘Rule The World’ by Take That, I would sing it loudly and completely out of tune and she loved it.  

Age 5 1/2

I don’t have a favourite child, I love them all differently, but the same.  I know that doesn’t make sense but it’s true.   There are times when I have felt closer to each of my children, but the love is always equal.  But with Saoirse, she has the distinction that, I have loved her the longest.

About to turn 13 and now in Secondary School, I can’t believe where the years have gone.  She told me just before Christmas, last year the she “knew” the big secret.  I pretended not to know what she was talking about, but she was insistent that she wasn’t a little girl anymore and I wasn’t allowed to keep up the pretence any longer.  She warned me not to cry!  I wasn’t actually as upset as I thought I would be by her revelation.  It was a big indicator that she was growing up and hurtling towards womanhood a lot quicker than I would like, but our relationship was changing too.

I strongly believe in being a parent, before being a friend to our children, but we all hope to have a good and happy relationship with our kids.  I have always enjoyed being in Saoirse’s company, just nowadays it’s not because of the cute things she says but because of the intelligent things she says.  

She has always been a big reader, to the point that we have to remind her that it isn’t actually safe to walk through the school carpark reading a book and we would like her to stop doing it!  Of late Saoirse has taken to reading books about strong, impressive women in history and I believe she is becoming a strong, impressive young women too.  She respects people for who they are, she makes time for everyone and is a great sister to both of her siblings, even though some times it is hard.  

Saoirse is animal mad and wants to run her own animal rescue when she grows up.  Our home is filled will animals of all shapes and sizes, many of them have been freed from unpleasant lives, including our four battery hens, who she lovingly nursed back to full health, spending her own pocket money buying them chicken vitamins.  

Saoirse is a good person, everyone who meets her tells me how impressed by her they are.  I am so proud to have a daughter who thinks for herself, doesn’t judge people and makes a positive difference to the world.  Saoirse may never rule the world like the song says, but she has certainly changed mine, forever.

Age 12
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