12 Years Old

So – it’s official – our middle daughter has been alive for twelve orbits of the sun. Nine of those orbits have been spent with us as her parents – we adopted her when she was three years old. Where on earth has the time gone ?I remember the tiny little girl that ran from room to room when she first visited our house with her foster carer – running with a teddy bear in a push-chair at breakneck speed while filling the house with whoops of joy. I remember bath times with beards made from bubbles, and hair formed into a single spike atop her head while she played with foam letters stuck to the edge of the bath tub. I remember her first weeks of school – clinging to my leg on the days I took her before a teacher prised her away in the authoritative way only teachers seem to know.

I remember so many past birthdays – among them the one when we decorated the lounge like a jungle (she was mad on Dora and Diego that year), and the one when we went ice skating – or rather half her class from junior school did – I looked after a mountain of coats.

I remember spending Sunday mornings for several years standing on the touchline of Rugby pitches – come rain or shine – she was the only girl in the squad. I strangely miss walking home from the rugby club covered in mud, sharing her chips, and persuading her that – yes – she really did need a bath.

She has grown in so many ways. She is a child of extremes – she has the highest spirits, the most disastrous lows, the most academic ability, the clumsiest, the strongest… She loves fiercely, defends staunchly, and is a rubbish liar. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and is often hurt when others mock her for it.

She isn’t like anybody I’ve ever met, and I love her for that.

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