It's been a while since I wrote a letter to you, hasn't it? When was the last time? Oh, yes. I think it was the one where I spoke to you about your tomorrows.
That one resonated with a lot of people and I am glad you enjoyed it too, although I suspect you didn't understand most of it. Perhaps it's because you're too young or maybe it's because you're a dreamy and relaxed child.
What's today's letter about?
It's partly a set of reminiscences, but mostly about celebrating that spark of life that you embody. A friend of a friend lost a child today. She was much younger than you. Reading about it brought tears to my eyes and for a whole hour afterwards, I wondered how it must feel for that mother, the father and every person who has ever met or heard about that child. If the loss of someone I didn't even know could touch me so deeply, how much more must it hurt the one who has lost her forever?
I'm really hard on you, Gy and I know it. I get snappy when you don't bring your books back home from school, either to study or do homework. I get irritated when you sit and toy with your breakfast, lunch and dinner, spending an hour eating food that should take just 15 minutes. It frustrates me no end when you linger over your tasks and leave them mostly unfinished. Sarcasm comes to my rescue when you leave your clothes on the floor or your toys on your study table. Annoyance overwhelms me when I walk into your bedroom expecting it to be clean and find that apparently a tornado has visited it in the last hour or so.
I forget so many things that make you wonderful when I am gripped by these emotions. I must remind myself of them ever so often, like today.
I marvel at the kindness that you show animals and how you instinctively feel drawn to them. That kindness doesn't come naturally to everyone and I feel blessed to watch you show that so comfortably! (To tell you the truth, I am fond of dogs but terrified of cows, but that's a story for another day).
I adore your sense of exploration.The farthest I have gone is the time three months ago when I jumped off a 20 foot platform for a Zip line ride that lasted 12 seconds. Your youth is your greatest gift. Don't lose that sense of wonder. Ever.
I envy your innocence. Do you recall this moment when you walked into a phone booth and 'talked' for ten minutes to your grandfather? You were too young, all of 4, but I remember the moment like it was this morning.
I love your spontaneity! You know that moment when you saw a big, red fire truck identical to the toy your aunt gifted you? Do you remember standing here and posing in front of it, so that you would have this moment to treasure forever? I wonder when I will learn that from you.
I am terrified of slides, did you know? Oh yes, the fact that I have to trust a slippery slope to deposit me safely at the other end is too much for me! I let go of it briefly once at a water park and came careening down one and feeling absolute terror! But look at you! You're smiling, you're happy and you're enjoying yourself. What's not to love about that?
And I know that all this is you. All of these beautiful, sensitive, spark-in-the-eyes behaviour is so incredibly and uniquely you. It's the you that emerges when you aren't pushed, prodded, compelled. It's the dreamy, relaxed, supremely beautiful you that I have fallen in love with, ever since the day you were born.
Remind me of these things, will you? Every single day in your own, unique way? Let me learn to treasure you for who you are and celebrate you.
You must be wondering why I've written this letter to you and yet put it up on the blog for everyone to read. I know many children like you and many parents like me. I understand the pull that we feel, torn as we are between our instinct to help you along and the necessity to let you be. This is for all those children and all those parents. There's also another reason: Life is too short. I am not saying that in a morbid sense, but I just mean that we tend to take things for granted and forget to value them when they are around.
So, in a sense, this letter is more a reminder to myself, especially on the days I feel frustrated, angry or that there is no hope in life. It's a way for me to look back at the wonder of childhood and look ahead at the promise of the future and realise that there is much to be savoured in this world and look for answers to the questions that plague me.
And the answer to all of those questions lies in celebrating life the way you do: dreamily, happily and without judgement.
Labels: Hands free parenting, Letter from a mother, letters, letting go, life lessons, parenting