And last Friday would have been her 18th birthday.
Milestones are hard because you are reminded so much of the 'should have been'. All the hopes and dreams and the loss of that potential. 18 is such a big birthday and one you imagine for such a long time, it was an event we had discussed and something Elspeth had always yearned to reach.
My partner didn't know I'd make a cake, and he also bought one, so forever more February 12th will be 'double cake day' and we will celebrate Elspeth's birthday in a way she would very much have appreciated. And we will smile.
This month I had a guest post published by Mumsnet. I was flattered to be asked, and really it is an update of where we are now, so I don't want to repeat myself here too much - it's actually exhausting writing personally sometimes, once a month is cathartic, writing too often becomes saddening.
We have come on, we're all in a much better place than we were before Christmas, and I can feel the rest of my family relaxing into a rhythm, a more normal routine. My problem now is that I'm struggling to accept this really. Over the last 3 years every time that I've had a chance to catch up a little and feel the manic pace slowing, it's come crashing down. It should be slowing, people are well, our children are getting older and we only have 3 school-aged children now, life should be getting easier. I just dread anything else happening and I have to work on getting over that fear and accepting a little normality as being 'normal'. It's probably way past my turn for a bit of mundane...
We had some good smiles this month with snow, lots of toys to test, a trip to Sealife in Manchester and some Maya The Bee boppers that wouldn't stay on my son's head!
If you can't see your smiles then look, they're always there... and please share your smiles on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #tbcsmiles because we love to see them.