Shortly after you were born, I told your Nana that I was happy with my two boys and that I didn’t need a girl. But I also said I was sad I wouldn’t have a daughter who I could help with her babies, as Nana did for me. I told her that I already feared the time when my boys would have babies and I would have to sit at home waiting for my invite to visit. As a mum of three girls and a boy, she smiled and said, “You have a daughter for life and a son until he finds a wife.”

I cried that night, and I held you in my arms and told your Papa that I wasn’t prepared to let you go. I already knew I wouldn’t be able to keep your older brother – he is already so independent and determined he will be gone as soon as his little legs are fully grown. I can’t have you leave me as well – I grew you for nine months while I ate healthier than ever before, studied hypnobirthing and contemplated the implications of every birth option possible. Then I delivered you as calmly as I could, so your entrance into the world would be as smooth as possible and, for your first night in the world, you slept in my arms while I watched you, barely breathing in case I woke you. And I’ve spent every day since then watching you and supporting you and loving you while you grow. I can’t bear the idea that one day you will leave and I will be left waiting for your phone calls.

But even though it pains me to say it, your Papa is right – I can’t keep you and I know that, so instead I’ll make you a deal. Give me the next 18 years – I’ll try my best to show you the world and together we will learn everything we can about it. Your Papa will teach you how to be a true man so you can always have respect for yourself and others. And together we will show you what real love should look and feel like. And then, when you’re grown, you have to take those things you’ve learnt and live a life full of fun and adventure, and you can carry those things you’ve learnt on to your own family. And I promise we’ll wait for the invite to visit the new baby, and I’ll try my hardest not to be the dreaded ‘monster-in-law’, but you have to promise me you’ll call me at least once a week.

Luckily your Nana has another, happier saying – “Give them roots and wings”. So I guess I’ll just spend the next 18 years trying to focus on that instead.

Love, Mummy xx

Photo by Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Tess, mum to Dylan and Finley, works full time. Here they wear the following:

Dress, Dh699, Scotch & Soda
Boots, Dh3,100, Golden Goose at Comptoir 102
Necklace, Dh900, Mathilde Danglade at Comptoir 102

Finley, five months
Two-piece Fox tracksuit, Dh230, Gymboree

Dylan, four
Tee, Dh50, Name It at
Jeans, Dh89, Minoti at
Shoes, Dh59, H&M Kids

Styling by Gemma Jones

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