About a year ago - Jason and I embarked on a journey, one which we knew was important - to find the school for Maddy.
It already felt like such a tough task and my heart ached in sadness for the day that we would be sending Mads off to her first day at school - could our firstborn seriously be that age already? What would the other children be like? Would she like it or hate it? and what would her teacher be like?
It was around this time that I remembered a teacher who was part of my life when I was very young - 5 or 6 for the first time and then later on when I was 10. She was a teacher at my primary school (kindergarten) and from the first day I was in her class, she made me feel safe. Her smile was warm, and her face was pretty and kind.
When she found me upset and crying and very frustrated in class at aged 6, I remember her taking me to sit on her lap in her wooden chair and I was cuddled better - I felt like the most special little girl in the world - and safe, very safe.
My school year at aged 10 was fraught with sadness after the sudden death of my best friend, a few months later I was once again in her class and in her care. It was during this year that I remember most about her compassion and love - the sadness of losing my friend seemed endless and overwhelming.
In the midst of all the chaos, I remember a quiet time of being taken outside to sit on a grassy hill with my teacher - where her simple questions of 'How are you? and 'what is happening?' were enough for a glimmer of light to be shed on the whole sorry situation and to open the door to help.
I realise now, in those few moments of talking with me, that she has taught me a lesson which, 21 years on, I strive to live with my children.
Last year, I remembered all of these feelings whilst looking for a school for Maddy and realising that I was looking for a teacher just like my sweet teacher for my daughter.
It dawned on me that I had never had the chance to say thank you, thank you for being so inspirational and kind, thank you for the comfort and safety - thank you for showing me so clearly what beauty inside and out looks like.
With that in mind, last year I contacted my old school, knowing full well that she had long since retired, but hoping that there was still some glimmer of hope that they may have a forwarding address so that I could write to her...
...they did! and my little package was forwarded to France where she had retired. I had a hand-written letter back from her within the month and I wept happy tears whilst reading every word.
Tomorrow, another package will be on its way to France, more bulky this time and filled with a bright quilt which I have been working on for her. The vibrant colours and unusual design are a world away from what I have ever worked on before - which I though was pretty appropriate for such a special lady.
Its by no means perfect!! and I think I have spent as much time unpicking the quilting on this quilt than I did actually quilting it - but it has been made with a whole lot of love, more than I can say.