Nine years ago today my life changed forever when Lily was born. It only seems like yesterday, yet I can't recall life without her - it seems she has always been here. But no matter how the passing of time plays tricks with your mind, the fact she is nine is somehow hard to fathom. I am all to aware that those innocent years are now in short supply. Next year will be 'double figures' and before we know it she'll be a teenager.
Nine. I've been trying of late to remember what it was like. For me that would have been 1981. It was the year of the royal wedding with street parties and union jacks. It was also the year that saw Bucks Fizz win the Eurovision Song Contest and their glossy poster was blue-tacked to the back of my bedroom door. My life was full of visits to grandparents, playing outdoors, hair ribbons, The Multicoloured Swap Shop and The Muppet Show, 10p mix bags from the corner shop and a pirouette clown obsession. Looking back now, 1981 also saw serious riots and hunger strikes, but that seemed to surpass the nine year old me. At nine life was still uncomplicated.
Much of Lily is still that little girl: she still looks sweet in her pretty hair bands, she still wants bedtime stories read to her and she'll still willingly hold my hand when walking down the street. But somehow nine is different: that little bit older. This year I signed off her birthday card with 'Mum & Dad', not 'Mummy & Daddy'. For a moment that saddened me.
So is it any different being a nine year old in 2014? Well, children today don't have the freedom we once had and computer games and 24 hour multi-channel TV weren't part of our everyday lives. We were recently explaining the concept of the Top 40 to Lily and how we would buy 7 inch singles in Woolworths and listen to the radio on a Sunday to catch who had made it to the number one spot, pressing 'play' and 'record' down on our radio/cassettes to capture our favourite tunes. Then come Thursday evening, if we were lucky, we might be able to stay up and watch Top of the Pops. Our enthusiastic musings must have sounded prehistoric to her young ears.
But swap the colourful hair ribbons for Weevz bracelets, Diana for Kate and Bucks Fizz for Olly Murs and I think that maybe being 9 hasn't changed all that much.
Happy Birthday Lily - you make life sweet. xxxx