My beautiful girl,
Today you are seven. Seven years old! So far as you are concerned, this means you can now get on and rule the world. And I think you are probably right.
Seven years ago, you came into our world like a whirlwind. As a baby, you were deceptively placid. I now suspect this was all part of your master plan, ensuring we had not a clue what you were about to unleash on us.
Because you are completely barking mad. Gloriously so, in a way which I think is entirely intentional. Why be a conformist, when you can be Beth?
You have an energy and a vibrancy unlike anyone I know. From morning to night you will be singing, shouting at your poor, long suffering brother, ordering me and your dad around and playing football.
You adore your football, and I cannot tell you how proud it makes me that you go each Saturday and Sunday and play for your team, in which you are the only girl. It makes me even prouder that you don’t even seem to clock the gender difference. You like football. You want to play football. So you are going to play football, and what does it matter if the other players are taller, shorter, older or a different gender to you? It is a total non event in your eyes. I wish more people thought like you baby, and had the chutzpah to JFDI. The world would be a much brighter place if they did.
Away from your football, you have never really learnt to play, something that fascinates me. While you will play, if requested to do so by others, it has never been something you have sought out. You would far rather spend your free time on practical activities: reading, practising your handwriting, or scoring goals.
You are so clever. You are right at the top of your class, and make your schoolwork seem effortless. Some of this is natural aptitude, but far more of it is down to hard work and an absolute love of learning. You remind me so much of myself as a child in that sense.
When the midwives in hospital told me you were a girl, I was terrified. There were so many reasons why the idea of having a daughter was alien to me. I have, throughout my life, struggled with female relationships. I did not know, really, quite how you and I would get on.
And so, my best girl, I need to thank you. Because you turned my misconceptions on my head and, from Day 1, gave me no alternative but to love you. And oh my goodness, love you I do, with a fervour I couldn’t properly explain to you if I tried. You and your brother are the centre of my world.
You are wise and have an emotional intelligence beyond your years, and there are days when I think you probably get me more than anyone else in the world. You’ve got my back. I know that for sure.
Happy, happy birthday, my beautiful, crazy, stoic, effervescent, dentist-licking lunatic. You are the absolute best.
Love you for ever,