Oh yes I do! From the moment I saw her chubby little face and her thick head of glossy black hair. She was so adorable, like a little fat doll. She grew more and more doll like every day, such a perfect little face, her features so tiny and skin so porcelain! I used to just stare into her face. Everyone was enamored with little 4. She was just that kind of baby, the kind that got attention wherever she went.

like a baby doll

Just like a baby doll

I used to look after her and her brother (2) quite a bit. Each week on Wednesday they would arrive for the whole day, giving their mother a break and giving 3 a couple of playmates for the day. 4 was the shyest little thing too, her face would press into my shoulder whenever anyone spoke to her. She wanted to be carried around a lot, and of course who could deny her that?

4 spoke in the most timid, soft voice, you really had to strain to hear her, and when she did speak loud enough, I often needed 2 to translate. One word I knew just from sheer repetition, and that word was “wa-wa”. This meant she wanted a drink of water, and believe me, this toddler could drink some water. All day long, “wa-wa, shanku?” I was so in love with her, and so proud whenever we went to town. We would often walk down to town the four of us, just for something to do. We’d have a juice at the coffee shop, and meet up with friends. I simply loved to show her off! She was so shy she would never venture away from my knee, whereas 2 and 3 would try to run amok whenever they had a chance.

After many months of coming to my house on a weekly basis without her parents, she began to relax a bit and would play rough games with the boys, but they were always pretty careful with her, as I said, she was tiny, and looked like a china doll! They were so afraid they’d hurt her.

I’ll never forget looking after that little girl, something about her really struck me. I was pregnant with 5 by then, and I longed for a little girl just like her! We formed a precious bond then, one that came in very handy for me later in our lives, when things weren’t quite so easy for us.

1 and 2, with tiny 4 in front.

1 and 2, with tiny 4 in front.

I lost contact with both Fitty and his ex wife around the time when their marriage split up, and for various reasons, we all went our separate ways. Our very close friendship had ended. (Little did I realize then what the future would hold?)

After years of heartbreak and loss, Fitty went on to have 2 more children with his 2nd partner, 7 and 8’s mum. Whom ironically I have also known since she was about 8 years old, (being the daughter of one of my partner’s friends.) Small towns….

Fitty and I would occasionally see each other around, but it was awkward, things had changed and we were no longer the people we were in our first partnership’s having our young families together. I rarely saw his children, but when I did they were withdrawn and shy. It hurt me to have no contact with them. Especially little 4 who I was so fond of.

Fast forward several years, and Fitty and I  (both single and not looking for love at all!) ran into each other on a rather random night out. We kept seeing each other out at various venues, until finally, we became partners. Things moved very slowly for us as we both prioritized our children. Weekends were for the kids, and late week-nights were for us. We went back and forth for years, spending nights at each others houses until finally, I had only 6 left at home, and we decided to move in together. It made sense. I was sick of driving back and forth and so was Fitty.

Stunning at 14/15

Stunning at 14/15

At the same time a 14 year old 4, was struggling with her relationships at home with her mother, and had decided to move in with Fitty too! I talked to her about whether she’d prefer if I didn’t move in, and she said she was fine. I’m fairly sure now, that she wasn’t fine with my moving in at the time, as she was a little distant and cold for a time. Slowly she began to thaw, and I expect the fact that I never pushed her helped a lot. I just sat back and waited for her to come to certain realizations, and she did!

I was rewarded with a most wonderful friend and stepdaughter. Together we shopped and gossiped, watched endless SATC and Friends re-runs, snuggled on the couch with cups of tea. Dreamed and talked of our pasts, futures and other interesting things…We got to know each other all over again, and I just know that bond I made with her as a baby and toddler was what made it so easy for me to get through the tough times we had. I simply loved this girl, and nothing was ever going to change that.

photogenic 4

photogenic 4

4 is a very crafty girl. Her attention to detail and artistic skill are amazing. She creates wonderful things, from personalized Birthday cards for every family member, to pretty drawings, bags and clothing. She is a talented dress-maker, her major work for her Higher School Certificate blew my mind with it’s creativity and excellence. She’s a girlie girl, (finally!), and is always dressed impeccably and styled beyond mere mortal status. I fail to see how anyone could be so beautiful without magic! She loves to dress up, and her father loves to photograph her, she is a natural photographic model. Actually, all our kids are, they all seem to be naturals in front of the camera.

I know that one day I will see her name on a label. I just need to be patient and wait until she has done all the things she wants to do first. I  am hoping all roads will lead her back to her incredible talent. You just can’t ignore talent like that!

4 I love you dearly, you are the closest thing I have to my own daughter, while being my very best friend. I am so proud of the way you have handled yourself since you left us. You’ve come a long way from the girl who was too afraid to answer the phone! Look at you now, Managing a Menswear Shop! I bet you have to answer the phone all day long?

I will always be here for you, no matter what you need. You can count on me. I love you my darling girl.

A cupcake for my cupcake?

A cupcake for my cupcake?

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