A letter to my daughter

Dear G,

You are the reason I do most things. The fear of losing you makes me quite manic sometimes. But you’ll never know it by looking at me.

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You always had a mind of your own, even when very young.

In fact, the one time I did ( lose you) I thought I was going to lose my mind as well. Do you remember the one time you wandered off, and I called in the police, helicopters and dogs and one Kaspar? Thank gawd the UAE takes missing kids seriously. I shudder to think what I would have done if it had been in SA!

Since then I have worked very hard to let you know that I am not going to let my fear dictate what you can do and where you can go. I  try to hide the fact that I check up on you a thousand times a day.

 

 

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Nature fascinates you.
I fear for the long term damage my style of parenting may have on you. By asking you to justify every opinion you have, am I ruining your childhood?

By teaching you to critically think on every little thing you read or hear, am I taking away the fantasy of imagination?

By always telling you the truth ( the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and The Big One are stories made up by people a long, long time ago) and refusing to lie when you ask me any questions ( I know most times the answer is “I don’t know, let’s find out”, but still) am I forever robbing you of the fun that is childhood?

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You’ve got a strong creative streak
I think of the best ways to let you be yourself , while consciously stopping myself and everyone else from defining who you are and who they think you should be. It makes for unpleasant dinners sometimes, as you may have noticed.

People will always have an opinion on how you should behave, what you should be like and who you should emulate. Don’t listen to them.

 

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You have a way of looking right through people
I am concerned that your right to ask questions and to demand answers, is going to be viewed as disrespectful by those who don’t know, but won’t admit it.

I am aware that many people in our lives think that respect is a given because they are older than you. I am aware that they won’t like you (and me) because of that.

Always remember, baby: Respect is earned. No one can demand you give it to them. Not even if they’re older than Methusaleh.

Wisdom is not something gifted to everyone in old age. Stupid people stay stupid until they die.

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The zoo is your favourite place to visit

I worry that you’re not learning enough to be self-sufficient.

I worry that letting you make your own PB&J sandwich when you were 4 damaged you irrevocably. Should I have made it for you? Are you too independent, or not enough?

 

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You loved dancing when you were little, and demanded we put you in ballet classes.
Am I teaching you how to know love when you see it, and not just what love is? More importantly, will you know how to show love when someone deserves it?

I worry that you won’t be emotionally strong enough to handle the ups and downs of life.

Will you be able to deal with the first heartbreak, job loss, sadness (my death)?

Did I teach you to be overly reliant on me for too many things? I worry that what I have taught you in the 10 years you’ve been in my life, isn’t enough at all.

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Your smile lights a room
I worry that money will change you. I worry that it won’t. Growing up with it can be just as awful as growing up without it.

I worry about your need to please people. I hope you don’t mistake users for real friends. I worry that you have so few friends and that you don’t seem to mourn the loss of any of them when they leave or when they don’t want to play with you any more.  You don’t seem to let the lack of BFF’s hamper you.

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Books hold a strong fascination that I’ve always encouraged. “Readers make leaders.”
Did my words, “Only stupid people get bored”, make you too insular? My refusal to read fairy stories and my nightly ritual of listening to podcasts or reading newspapers to you at bedtime? In my defence, I let you get one when you asked for it. Frozen barely gets my stamp of approval but you did want it and the princess is pretty kick ass! When you’re sitting alone in your room reading Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton or a copy of a science mag – are you happy?

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Reaching for the highest possible good.
I know that you’re smart because you’ve proved that to me and to your teachers every day. But does my stubborn refusal to celebrate every victory make you feel….not enough? I want to build you up, but not in the way the world wants. Also -rans are also -rans for a reason. They didn’t win.

I have always expected that you do well. I have always expected you to do better than expected. But I am sorry if not crowing about your every achievement on Facebook, made you feel that I didn’t care about it at all. I promise you that one day, when you tell me that YOU’RE proud of something you’ve achieved, I’ll shout it from the rooftops!

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Always individual, never a copy.
I worry that my “no princesses” policy with you from birth ( except your 7th birthday – I lost THAT argument!), may make you think that you’re NOT beautiful, to be treasured or to be worthy of adoration. My baby, you are! All that and more.

But you are so much more than just your looks. You are smart. You are knowledgeable. You are kind. You’re helpful. You’re a fighter. You are what every little person in the world should be told they are. Every day!

 

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The ONE time I gave in and let you have a Princess themed birthday party.
When I look at you, with your beautiful brown eyes and beautiful soul, I cannot imagine that I made you (your daddy may have had some input!). The one thing I did right!

In fact, that was my line whenever someone said, “Shame, just the one?”

“Yeah, I got it right the first time!”

And I did.

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My G.
So, one day when you’re all grown up, and you wonder why you are the way you are, read this letter and understand that your mommy loved you more than life itself.

Understand that she wasn’t perfect and that she did try to give  you all the things you needed rather than wanted, and that she questioned her decisons and choices every day.

I hope you’ll appreciate that you were never meant to fit in, but born to stand out. And that with every breath in my body, I wanted for you to revel and bask in that fact!

Love always,

Your mom.

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Until next I blog, 

K.

 

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7 thoughts on “A letter to my daughter

  1. Oh my this has left me speechless and on the verge of tears. I wish I had your strength and awareness when I was brining up my children. Only now do I see the damage done by society in trying to make us think and behave in the same way. Some of the concerns you raised are the worries I have about my grand-children, because I refuse to fit in and encourage them to be themselves. I read somewhere “Sameness Kills Joy”. Beautifully expressed letter, thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. Whilst writing it I was in tears half the time too. She read it for the first time and we had to hug it out before she could finish. I’ve always wanted to do this and the blog is the perfect vehicle.
      I’m glad it struck a cord with you, because allowing our children ( and grandchildren!) the right to be themselves is a wonderful thing. You’re doing an amazing thing with those grand babies , and I’m sure your kids turned out fine. Sometimes we really do worry too much, don’t we? Part of parenting I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

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