* Updated: There is a new aged photo of Madeleine McCann as she might look aged 9. Please take a look and keep Madeleine in your mind.

This post was originally published on 12 May 2012, and was updated with this image on 26 April 2012.

Yesterday was Madeleine’s 8th birthday. Mummy has pored over the McCann news articles for several days now, reliving the horror that another mother has experienced on a loop for the last 4 years. I am aware that something is upsetting her, though she would never let me in on the facts. I am also conscious of the fact that Mummy is very protective of me and the Bug. Paranoid, is what Daddy calls it.

I don’t know when the paranoia set in – all I know is that Mummy has a tendency towards panic if we are out without her. Even on the school playground if she loses sight of us her voice has an edge of fear as she self-consciously yells our names.

The fact that we holidayed in an appartment opposite the McCann’s the year before her abduction has made the whole thing more tangible for my Mummy. She can picture the setting, and torment herself with ‘what-if’s’. We had availed ourselves of Mark Warner baby-listening services previously, but we never will again. Similarly there are lots of other actions we may have taken before, that Mummy will not consider in the future. I imagine that this will be a constant source of friction between us as I grow up. I want sleepovers, camping trips, independence – she does not.

Has the McCann tragedy taught us all a useful lesson, or have we succumbed to fear, and a curtailment of our enjoyment of family life in a way that should not be necessary in a normal society?

We pray daily for Madeleine’s return to her family.

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