To Dylan on your fifth birthday

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Dear Dylan,

 Today you turn five but I am still reminded of the sweet, helpless baby I cradled in my arms. From before you even existed I was scared for you, scared for the child who might never be, scared for the child who may be taken from my arms. Being a parent is incredible, rewarding and heart-breaking.

  No matter how much you grow, that fear never fades, instead it increases with every new word you learn and every inch you grow; as I learn to know you more, the more I long to keep you safe. I have accepted fear as part of my life, but I do not wish it to burden yours. Confide in me and let me carry your fears for you.

 When you grow older and hold your own child in your arms for the first time, the smell of their soft skin warming your nostrils and your heart swelling against your chest with pride, know that that is how you make me feel every day.

 When you are not home at night there is an absence of your smell as I pass your open door, the warmth fades and I long to plant a tender kiss on your forehead and revel in the knowledge that your heart is still beating, the rhythm of the your chest and the smell of your scent  intoxicating my senses.

 I embrace that moment of perfection every night as you sleep, stroking your hair and telling you in unheard whispers that I love you, before tiptoeing barefoot through the Lego battlefield of your bedroom floor, leaving you none the wiser. And later in the night when you wake me from a peaceful sleep and my eyes fight through the phosphenes buzzing in the darkness, I am thankful to see your face emerging from them, sweet, innocent and content in the knowledge that I am there.

 So as you turn five and become exposed to the idea that motherly displays of  affections are no longer cool, remember that my arms are always open to you.

 Thank you for being my son. Happy Birthday Dylan Theo. x

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