There was a look of challenge in her eye which told me that she thought I wouldn’t know. Forgive me for feeling just a little smug then as I told her that I had written it all down and would love to show her. I should have said ‘at some point’ because the next 24 hours (except when at work/school) consisted of Ellie asking me when she could see my ‘list’ and me hunting down the box with everything in it. That will teach me to feel smug.
Fortunately, I located the box (not without stress I might add) and the time came where we were both sat down next to my rather excessively large box full of ‘Ellie memories’. I should point out that this is just the things I’ve kept from pregnancy to age 4. I wonder if I should be classed as a hoarder?!
We both carefully unfolded the cardboard to peer inside the box. I watched Ellie’s eyes widen with anticipation…as though she’d found a treasure trove. I found myself feeling incredibly excited to be sharing this time and these memories with her.
The first thing she saw was her christening dress (on the top so as not to get totally squashed). I had to give an explanation of what it was and answer the more challenging question – what does being blessed mean? Suffices to say I kept my answer pretty simple and swiftly dived back into the box.
As we moved on we discovered pictures and art work from the two nurseries Ellie had gone to, gifts received for her christening and birthday cards from every one of her years. The pictures got the most interest from Ellie who I could see wracking her brains trying to remember these things, places and people. At one point, she seemed genuinely frustrated that she couldn’t remember all the names of the children from her nursery.
Clearly though by far the most interesting pictures to Ellie were the following…..
Me 38 weeks pregnant with Ellie:
Ellie just after she was born, when she was in Special Care Baby Unit at Ipswich hospital:
She glared at both of these pictures for some time – I could literally see the smoke coming out of her ears. Eventually she simply turned to me and gave me her conclusion: she looked just like her baby step sister.
Finally, I revealed my messy but pretty complete note pad which I’d used to write down all the key moments from Ellie’s early development. It also seemed to include a number of things which in hindsight don’t seem so key – but that I think is a sign of life moving on. We quickly found when she first sat up, when she first rolled and when she got her first tooth. At that Ellie was clearly satisfied. She promptly took the one picture she’d decided to claim and walked off, marking the end of a very enjoyable shared mum and daughter moment.
There are of course things I didn’t show her this time – pictures when her Dad and I got married, my pregnancy diary and indeed the book I wrote and published about having Ellie. These are things I will share with her when she’s older of course and might appreciate them fully.
And so there we are – Ellie got her answers and I got…well a clear reminder about how important it is to take pictures and keep memories. I also can’t hide my smile when I think how much fun it was to share the past with Ellie.
I’m pleased to be linking this post up with: