I'm well into the time-frame when I get all angsty and emotional about my child's birthday. Ella will be 7 tomorrow and I can hardly believe this is the same baby we first moved to Ireland:
Ireland was rough on her at first. She was known to eat sand by the plastic-shovel-full and frequently fell into the saltwater tide. We suffered along with her during the early days of car sickness when, exactly ten minutes after every arrival, she'd lose her lunch.
For the newbies, you should know we've lived here before. I repeat this fact all the time, whenever they hear my accent and want to know when we came. I tell them January, but I'm quick to clarify. First, it was Meath, I say. For two years. Two long, hard, beautiful years. And in that time, our lass changed from this:
And now, three more years later and on the precipice of 7, she has become this:
Her hair is wild and her room is blue. She wears black and turquoise on the days she's free from navy blue pinafore and oxford tie. She is making strides with reading and occasionally cheats at her maths. Like her mother, she loves the sea and has an irrational fear of Willy Wonka. And she's not sure, yet, if she wants to become a mother. She defies every expectation we had, making our hearts grow and quiver with every wall climb and high jump.
And she still asks us, months and years and houses later, if this is where we'll stay. She's moved seven times in seven years and her adventuresome heart longs for a place belonging just to her. When we say, yes - yes, this is where we're staying, indefinitely - she decorates her walls and hardwood floors with permanent marker. I try to discipline her, but she's not buying it, "You said this is our home, you know."
Yes, I certainly did. You go right ahead and we'll explain it to the landlord later.