I can't believe my daughter is six tomorrow. Six years since she flew out of me, into my arms, with fierceness and will and laughter.
I used to think I was doing fine, but for the last few years I've been troubled by the sense of my constant failure.
Difficult, she won't let there be ease, she fights it almost all the time. She makes things so hard.
Perhaps this will purge early, perhaps when she gets a little older, things will shift and she will allow herself, and us, and me, a little more peace.
Because I look at her in her tshirt and jeans, and her six year old body with it's long hair and shining blue eyes is the perfect miniature of adult female beauty. We have spa night and as she lounges on the bed I take in her rosy, peachy, creamy perfection in awe and say I'm just amazed by how gorgeous she is.
'Why?' she asks, a spark in her eye, 'did you think I was going to be really ugly?' and a demonic chuckle bubbles out of her, with such humour and self knowledge. 'Did you think I was going to be gross?'
Today at her birthday party her aunt nods at her on the bouncy castle and asks if she's got a boyfriend - and I look up and there she is, wrapped around her best friend, head in his neck, a mini teen already.
It's bizarre. Six years of sharing our lives with this girl who makes putting her socks on into a trial akin to climbing Everest, but who also asks the most incisive questions, makes the most incredible art, laughs with the appreciation and comprehension of adult and when she wants to can be perfectly polite and sweet and selfless. I am terrified by the weight of responsibility my role holds, but also mostly, spectacularly proud.
And here, is a far more moving hymn to a daughter than this one. Beautiful.