To my Niece on your First Birthday xo

Freya Scarlet, my bug, baby paws and Princess,

A year ago today my life changed. I knew it would but had no idea how much, even sitting with you in my arms on your first day in this world I didn’t know what was in store.

Since that day I’ve changed and so have you, you’ve come so far. From those days where you wore a leg brace to fix your tiny hips to now chasing your puppy around the room. I’m proud of your perseverance, your determination to do those things you probably shouldn’t be doing like opening tubs of biscuits to help yourself and the way you grin when you see people you know walk through the door.

You won’t remember in ten or twenty years time but I’ve been there for quite a few of your firsts, your first day, your first feed, first Christmas, first time on a beach (you weren’t so sure about the sand at first.) Your first holiday and your first carousel ride (one of your Aunty Fay’s favourites!) There have been many more. Watching you grow, learn and discover new things has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me and I love spending time with you, planning new things for us to do and watching you grow. Don’t worry, I’ll always have plenty of photos to embarrass you with…especially when you bring a new partner round!

There are a few things I want you to know…first, yes I’m the crazy aunt (I have at least three, you’re lucky you’ve just got me as the wacky one.) I will at some point make you tour the Harry Potter studios with me (you’re probably gathering I am the big kid of the family!) We will take far too many selfies together because that’s what I do and you are currently the only person I will share my Disney collection with, everyone else, hands off.

When you were born I made a few promises to myself and they’ve expanded over the last year, I want to share them with you.

  • First, I promise that no matter where I am, where you are, I will never be more than a phonecall away. My plans and goals over the last year have changed and maybe I won’t always be just up the road from you but I’ll always be on the end of the phone and whenever you need an escape or some free time you’ll always be welcome to come and be with me.
  • I will do everything I can to help your mum and dad make sure you experience the best childhood, get to try new things, visit new places and spend time doing those things that you enjoy.
  • I will always support your dreams, goals and ambitions, no matter how ‘out there’ they might be. I’ve had lots of people tell me “You’re crazy.” “but you can’t” or “You’ll never do it.” Please know that you will never get that reaction from me, you want to join the circus? Sure, let’s go and find out how you do it. You want to move to a far away land and set up a beach side bar? Let’s go and find the perfect spot. I’ve only recently realised that it’s ok to have different dreams to those around you but you’ll know that from being tiny because I’ll make sure of it.
  • I will make sure you do your school work…you may hate me for it but at times I had to fight to finish my education and it’s more invaluable than you realise at first, you will learn about how to meet deadlines with homework, organise your time and remember information. All things you will need in life.
  • I’ll always be here for you, whether it’s a bad day at school, your parents won’t let you do something, you don’t want to talk to them or you simply just want to watch films and relax. I’m here.
  • You will argue with your parents. If you’re anything like your mum you’ll be stubborn and fiery. Not necessarily a bad thing but just remember that they’re doing their best, they are new to this parenting thing and every day is a new experience for them, whether you’re 2, 12 or 22, they won’t have been through that stage before, they are doing a great job…try to remember that.
  • YOU ARE ENOUGH. Whatever life throws at you,Β you can handle, it won’t always be easy and it won’t always be perfect, it might take a long time to get to what you feel is perfect but that’s ok. You’re enough, your smile, heart, mind, determination and dreams are enough to get to where you want to be and on those days you don’t think you are, I’ll be there to help you see that, to guide you if you need it or help you find another way to get there. You’re not going to be alone.
  • You aren’t always going to get on with everyone. Sometimes those people you don’t see eye to eye with might be family or close friends. That’s ok, it doesn’t mean you don’t love them or have to stop caring about them but it’s ok to take a step back from anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable, angry, upset or hurt, no matter how close you’ve been. I don’t speak to every member of our family, neither do your parents, it doesn’t mean we don’t care about them or love them…it just means we are different people who don’t necessarily have a place in each other’s lives anymore. I don’t want you to grow up with any hate towards anyone or any misconceptions, you have to find out for yourself who you want around you and who will lift you up.
  • Don’t ever feel guilty for doing what’s best for you. At the end of the day you need to be happy in whatever your choice is, even if those around you aren’t (they’ll come round eventually and if they don’t then you know where your support is.) Your happiness comes first, so don’t stay in that job that makes you unhappy, don’t stay in a relationship that’s not right. You may not have a plan, that’s ok, things have a way of working themselves out in the end.
  • Believe in yourself. I believe in you. I know you can and will do anything you set your mind to, it won’t ever be easy but this world isn’t easy, you just have to stay true to yourself. You don’t have to have it all figured out at first, no one does, I’m still learning, changing and growing and I’m 22. Just remember, no goal is too high if you put your mind to it.

I am sure these will develop and change as you grow but the themes will remain the same. I’m going to be right next to you through every stage of growing up and beyond, to help you gain new experiences, laugh with you (and cry sometimes) guide you and support you on whatever path you choose to take.

I try my best to be a good example for you and always will, my hope is that I can be a positive influence in your life. I’m not perfect and everyone makes mistakes but I will try to introduce you to things and let you see the things I do that will hopefully help you in your future and support you in becoming the amazing, kind hearted, caring person I already see that you are (you’re amazing with your little cousins already.) And I hope that one day you will be proud of me just like I am of all the incredible people I’ve had and still have around me that have entered my life at lots of different stages.

I will always be proud of you. No matter where we are in the world I’ll always love you and be right here for you.

Happy Birthday sweetheart.

YourΒ (slightly emotional, ever fabulous)Β Aunty Fay xxxxxx

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