[To Mimi, on her fifth birthday]
Mine. That’s what I named you.
You were the baby girl I always wanted. Even though I really did not expect to be expecting five months after your brother was born. I did not know then you were the baby girl I always wanted.
You were mine, and then I became yours. You claimed me, loudly intensely, entirely. You would brook no argument. Mine, you said, my mummy, only mine, always mine.
Our resident diva, nothing about you was expected. Your arrival, the way you stubbornly sat in my stomach and refused to turn, the way you decided for me when and how you would arrive, your stubbornness as a baby, how you would refuse to be distracted when you wanted something. Your curls, your temper, the tempest of your emotions, the thunderstorm of your love, your intense concentration, your determination to be pretty and to dash my theories with your pursuit of the feminine.
In so many ways we are similar. Our tastes – we can only eat those particular fish, we only like chocolate and not much else sweet, we prefer salt. Our passion for animals – how you can spend ours lavishing attention on one particular puppy. Our love of fashion. Our touch-me-notness.
And possibly our drama. I was never so dramatic, I like to think. But lately I see your storms mirror mine, at least in their vocabulary.
It took French feminism for me to understand you, to understand us. Dare I say it, I understand you best. I can see the emotions battle on your face and these days I know where they come from.
You test me every other day, and if I can conquer my emotions around you, I will be well on the road to sainthood. I’m not there yet, but I am trying, always trying.