Sometimes when Betty is playing downstairs with her granny or her dad, I sneak into her bedroom and sit in the silence for a while.
Betty’s room is full of her personality. Her sweet, unique scent drifts up from her clothes and toys, better than any perfume, the most reassuring smell I’ve ever known.
Everything around me is proof of her perfect existence, and it all tells a little story that only she can understand. The five blocks neatly piled on top of one another underneath her cot. Her toy bus with two half-eaten biscuits, a clothes peg and some tomatoes as passengers. A little collection of stones and berries, carefully placed in a small tin bucket on the radiator. The drawings on the wall which she has somehow managed to create using coloured wooden blocks. Her beloved duck, wrapped in a nappy and lying on her changing mat.
All these things that say: ‘Betty was here’ make the top of my chest pull and tighten, and the blood rush to my head. I could never have imagined a love this overpowering and intense before her arrival in the Button household.
I wonder how I could possibly love another child as much as I love Betty. Even though I know that of course the new baby Button will be equally adored, I find it hard to imagine right now.