I have a new partner. At first my daughter wasn’t sure what to think about my newfound happiness. ‘She won’t want to go out with you,’ she told me suspiciously. ‘She’s younger than you.’ When it turned out she did want to go out with me, my daughter approached each new stage in our relationship with the same degree of scepticism. She was very uncertain that she’d want to stay over, then highly doubtful that she’d ever want to move in.
Nevertheless she was welcoming and generous-spirited as ever, and probably secretly quite relieved that it wasn’t going to be just her and me anymore. Although not everything’s changed - we often still sit around together in our pyjamas in front of the television, when we should probably be doing something more useful.
My new partner and I are getting married soon. When I told my daughter the news she was quiet for a while, but in the end she came and put her arms around me. And we’re going to have a baby too. I asked my daughter what she thought about having a brother or a sister and she said she wasn’t keen. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because you might spend more time with them than me,’ she said, ‘and love them more.’ I told her that of course I wouldn’t love them any more than I love her. That there was plenty of love to go around in my world. And once again she flung her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly.
And as I hugged her back, feeling the comfort of having her in my arms as always, I realised that what I hadn’t told her was that I wouldn’t be having another baby if I hadn’t loved every single moment of having her as my daughter.