To my daughter on your 5th birthday

It doesn’t seem like five years since you made your way into the world - in the wee small hours of a Wednesday morning, where you looked around you before promptly falling asleep, all 6lbs 9oz of perfect baby-ness.

You completed our family - and for the last five years you have brought so much joy to me, your daddy and your big brother and we love you so very much.

But as you reach that big five - there are some words of wisdom I would like to share with you.

1) Harry Styles is not the man for you. You are five. You know little about him except that he has nice hair and once made your auntie a cup of tea. Believe me pet, there are better out there. You may not realise now, but him not showing up for your birthday tea will not be in the end of the world.

2) Always be yourself. Don’t try to grow up too soon. I know you love your big cousins and want to be like them, but being five is pretty cool. You will miss it when it’s gone. As the saying goes, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon. Enjoy building dens, playing with Barbie, being read to and watching Tom and Jerry. It gets complicated later - not necessarily bad, but complicated. Enjoy the uncomplicated.

3) Remember that even as you get older and you decide I am distinctly uncool, embarrassing and set in my ways that I will always be your mammy. And I will always be here for you as long as there is breath in my body.

4) You are beautiful. But you are also so much more than how you look. You are your funny jokes, your funky dance moves, your drawing talent, your ability to be compassionate, your intelligence, your singing at the top of your voice when you think no-one else is listening.

5) Eat more vegetables, brush your teeth and accept I am not being extra mean when I suggest you have a bath. When you are older you will relish the chance of a bath, in peace, with bubbles but you won’t get so many chances!

6) It’s okay to like pink toys, and play with Barbies and want to star in a Disney movie. It’s also okay to want to be a lifeguard, a firefighter or a pirate. (Well, maybe not a pirate). Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t want to be.

7) As the sign in our house says, remember you are loved. Always. On the bad days and the good days. On the days you feel lonely. On the days when, as a teenager, you scream at me. Whether you are five, fifteen or fifty you will always have a home with me.

Much love,