I was a stepmother before I was a mother, to the lovely Hugo and Julia, who were still little enough to really mother and look after.
“This is perfect,” I used to say to Rupert. “Two beautiful children and I still get to keep my figure.”
Then something took over that made me want to have my own beautiful child. And so 11 years ago today, at around 8am English summer time, Olivia was born. Here she is on her first birthday, doing what most babies do, eating the packaging her present came in.
Actually she was not called Olivia when she was born, she was called Holly. I had just seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the 104th time and was inspired by Audrey. I should probably have called her Audrey.
Olivia was one of the names we liked, but my best (and only) friend in the village we lived in also had a daughter called Olivia. At the time I could not envisage moving, so it seemed too complicated to have two Olivias.
Then we moved to France and Holly became an impossibility. In French it sounds like ‘to bed’ so I changed her name by Deedpoll.
This morning my beautiful, elegant and very tall Olivia lay in my arms as I kissed her happy birthday and I remembered how her whole little body used to fit on my chest just in between and slightly above my breasts, her favourite sleeping spot. Now of course she wears my clothes, plays piano beautifully and tells me how everything in the world works.
She is a most accomplished, graceful and lovely girl, and I’m very proud of her. Happy Birthday Olivia.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2010