She had just finished playing with her virtual Pony on her Dad's Nintendo DS (which she has negotiated part shares in). I was slipping into the salty sea air of Coastliners (you haven't read Joanne Harris? Do).
A soft silence snuggled around us.
After a few minutes, Ella mused "I wonder what I was born for, Mummy".
I put my book down and met her intense gaze. "I don't know love. What do you think you were born for?"
I watched her purse her lips and frown a little as she searched for a reply. "Well, Mummy I think that it is up to you".
Amazed at this profundity I exclaimed, "Oh, sweetie that's so clever of you! Yes, I think it is completely up to you to choose what you are born for.
"You can decide who you want to be, what you want to do, what you want your life to be about..." I could feel myself go into Babble Mode, so excited was I at the prospect of having co-created a mini philosopher. Such wise words from a five year old!
"No, Mummy. I mean I think it's up to you to decide what I was born for".
"I don't think so, sweetie. I think it's up to you. I really wouldn't want that responsibility. But thanks anyway."
This morning, I watched Ella have breakfast and felt one of those random feelings of parental joy that grip you sweetly when you least expect them.
She's such a sweet, kind girl. I feel so lucky to be her mother sometimes. Lots of times. Not during whining or moaning times though.
I felt compelled to tell Ella why I love her - I mean why apart from the biological imperative to do so. It's too easy to keep wrapping it all up in a nondescript "I love you". So I told her.
"Did you know, Els, that I think you are clever and kind. You're pretty, you're cute and I feel really lucky to be your mummy." She looked up briefly, smiled and went back to eating her raisin bagel.
"You're so loving and you're so easy to love" I added.
Ella dropped her bagel and locked eyes with me. Hers were as wide as her smile. "Mummy!" she exclaimed in a 'Eureka!' tone, "that's what I was born for".
Do you know, I think that's what I was born for too. Giving love and getting it has always been my main drive. For me, being loving and being loved are the greatest pleasures in life.
I always wondered what my life purpose is.
This post was written by Anna Colette, a mum of one who is getting married in March. You can read more at her blog, Part Mummy, Part Me.
Photo credit: Bunch of pants