Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy 18th Birthday to my lovely niece, Laura

I know exactly what I was doing 18 years ago today. I was in Harrogate at Liberal Democrat Federal Conference, completely unaware of the events unfolding in Perth, where my sister was in hospital, giving birth 6 weeks early to my niece Laura.

It was only when I was walking around the Conference Centre the next day in that typical early morning hungover Conference haze that I saw my name on one of the screens asking me to go to the Registration Desk. The message they had was that I should phone my mother.

Anyway I soon learned the dramatic events of the previous couple of days and was relieved to find out that the baby was fine, albeit in an incubator in Special Care.

We went up north as soon as Conference finished. We expected to find a scrawny, tiny looking baby that wasn't especially pretty due to the fact that she was so early. But no, she was, at that time, the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. Sure, she was tiny, but she had loads of hair, was a lot plumper than I'd expected and had the sweetest face.

I was pretty much besotted from that moment on. 

A few months later, I sat up in the middle of the night cuddling her as Bill Clinton was elected President of the USA.

When she was 3, she caught Chicken Pox and for reasons of practicality, the only member of the family who hadn't had this common childhood complaint - and then I came down with it on the morning of my Granny's funeral.

I've looked on in admiration as she's packed herself up and gone to music festivals, how she's developed her musical tastes and found her favourite bands, looking outside the mainstream for new and original stuff. She knows her own mind and is clear about what she likes and isn't worried about being different - or if she is, she sticks to the old adage of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

I've been incredibly proud of her as she's got on with her school work and managed to achieve marvellous results in sometimes very difficult circumstances.

I love the way she went off to Paris on her own last year to see her friend who was studying there.

There are so many stories I could tell you, of her childhood and teenage years but I had better not. I know I write a lot about Anna on here, but every single word is vetted by her, and there are some things that she just refuses to let me put up. She's entitled to her privacy and so is Laura.

Just be sure that the last 18 years have been filled with happy times, with laughter, with thought provoking originality. She's beautiful and talented - heavens, she even has her own radio show. We all love her to bits and are so proud of her. We all hope she has a wonderful day and an adulthood filled with health, happiness and success.

This post, by the magic of technology is timed to appear at 15:37, the exact hour Laura was born! I have to confess that I hadn't remembered it right - I was an hour and 4 minutes to soon, but her mum put me right.

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