My Dearest Daughter,
I need to let you in on a little secret – I was a bit of a crybaby (still am!) when I was young. I remember crying when your grandfather (who you’ve not had the opportunity to meet, may he rest in peace) dropped me off in class. During recess, I had somehow managed to get lost even though I was standing right in front of my classroom…but I truly believed I was lost so I cried buckets. I stopped abruptly when someone tapped me on my shoulder and asked me why I was crying. It was your grandfather, he had come back to check on me and couldn’t fathom why I was standing and crying outside my classroom.
Today, on your first day of school, I thought you were very brave. You put on your new uniform like it was any other day, asked to brush your teeth and comb your hair. You ate your breakfast quietly. We walked to your school and I could feel your confidence wavering as you stared at all the older kids. The chatter and activity seemed a little overwhelming. When we got to your classroom, many of your classmates were there with their parents. Most of your classmates were distracted with play but not you. You wanted me to hold your hand, whilst you observed everyone around you. You said a wobbly hello to your teachers and clung on…knowing that I had to leave eventually.
As your tears fell and you looked up at me, eyes pleading with me not to go, my heart swelled with a wealth of emotion. In a rush of memories I remember how tiny and helpless you were when I first gave birth to you. How I nursed you and held you close those early months…and how you blossomed from a shy, stumbling toddler into a confident and beguiling little girl. You are only 4! Yet the wisdom and maturity in your eyes belie your years. Your kindness and patience, are already in abundance. I knew that at that very moment I had to be brave. I could not give in to my tears although I was crying inside. I could not cling on to you even though all I wanted to was to hold you and wish you would stay the way you are forever…I watched proudly as you hugged your teacher and waved goodbye to me through your tears.
I felt the very same way the first day you went to nursery. I sat at a cafe five minutes from the nursery and cried my heart out. But today, I am wiser.
You are growing up. There is a long journey ahead. All I can do is to be there for you and enable you to find your wings. I can’t promise that I’ll be physically present for every scraped knee, every unmet expectation, every unanswered question, (and eventually) every broken heart but I promise you I will always listen and I will always care.
Years from now when you read this, know that I am grateful that I have had this opportunity to share your journey with you – thank you for coming into my life and bringing with you a special joy that just multiplies the longer I know you.
I love you dearly my little rice cake. Whether you’re 4 or 40.
Lots of Love and Hugs,