Twelve years since you made your entrance into this world. Twelve years since you first threw the unexpected at those who loved you the most. Twelve years since the first doctor first declared you'd have to make your own mind up about when to wake up. Twelve years since those first moments of joy and despair mixed, of wondering who and how you would become the person you are.
I didn't know you then. But I've been here for every birthday ever since. And I know that joy and desolation, hope and fear, love and sorrow and blessing that you carry.
There were times earlier this year when I didn't think we'd make it this far. You, so tired, throwing ever more complications our way. And yet, here you are, wide awake and singing at 5am. Genuinely, delightedly, excited for the day ahead. Laughing in anticipation, awake still when your sister was up, ready to open presents four or more hours earlier than your usual start to the day.
Later, helping to blow out candles, choosing cuddles, taking your nurses for a walk to the cafe and drinking coffee with them.
Family parties later still, and precious friends here the week before. A quieter birthday than last year's. But a beautifully gently perfect one nevertheless.
Happy, happy Birthday my precious one.