I treasured the first picture of you as a mere blurry, half-baked blob, weeks before you arrived searching for, and finding, that heartbeat.

Your first cry pierced the air as you announced your late arrival and your distaste at this bright, big, unfamiliar world, wrenched from the comfort of your cocoon.

That first smile – a wince perhaps – as we kept the dark hours company, your little finger clasped around mine as Pa snored in the nursing chair, his face animated with his constant smile.

A first taste of ice cream, a grimace, a deft lick along the lips and your chubby fingers grabbing at the spoon demanding more of the chocolate chilli chip I craved whilst you were growing inside me.

The first words we expected are now a bone of contention, Pa says Papa, I say Mama but I suspect it was neither; more Nana, the dog who guards you night and day.

That first step, confident and uncaring, steps you denied yourself for weeks as crawling on all fours was quicker and took you to the dog bed for your shared afternoon nap.

Noah, your first friend and a connection that would withstand you pushing him from the swing and the friend who would become your love, your life.

I dreaded that first day of school convinced that you were too young, a place with corridors that whispered and rumoured and bullied those that were different, a place that you would come to hate.

Your first drawing hangs framed on the living room wall for all to see; a dragon, a unicorn, and a warrior girl with a head of red curls, like the ones that bounced on your shoulders.

And now I cradle in my arms, your first child, my first precious grandchild, gazing into those trusting eyes which reflect your own and I know that you will cherish all her firsts.

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