From the second my daughter was born, I felt an intense need to dream for her. When she would keep me awake at all hours as an infant, I’d rock her to sleep for the umpteenth time and think to myself: “Maybe I’m rocking the future president, or the next Eve Ensler”. Those notions of the future would motivate me, through those vomit-filled and sleepless nights.
As she’s grown up, all too quickly, those dreams and ideas have changed. But, there are a few things I will always want for her, and I hope she will lead a life rich in texture. Every parent wishes only the very best for their babies, but the truth is that life sometimes gives us the best perspectives, by giving us some of the worst times. It is most often through rocky times, that we find the truest joys of life.
I want you to fight with me. Yes, I do mean slamming of doors and yelling. Not when you’re a teenager though – let it be when we disagree over what you’re going to study once you’ve finished school. I want you to learn to stand up for yourself, and be willing to fight for it, at any turn. Your life dreams will change as you grow up – that’s okay. I want you to know those dreams, and have to defend them at some point. Even to me.
I want you to have your heart broken, once. Only once, and may it be because of something that will – in three years time, be inconsequential. May whoever does it be remorseful for a long time (don’t worry, I’ll help them be haha!). And may you get over it, so that you can learn how resilient your spirit is.
I want you to mess up, so that you know that it’s okay. Nothing illegal, or life-threatening, please. Just a total screw-up that leads you to come running home, cry on my shoulder and ask me to help you to fix it. I promise you this – I will, to the best of my ability.
I want you to fail a test, once. Just so that you know how it feels to fail. Failure is not the end of the world – it is a way to learn. Just don’t fail a grade or your final mathematics examination, please. I failed a science test in Standard Four (that’s your Grade Six). If I close my eyes, I can still see the test paper. It sticks with me, not because I failed, but because I knew I could’ve done better if I’d just studied for it (I didn’t). That failure taught me that I needed to want to try, even if I hated doing something.
I want you to desire something so dearly, and have to work really hard to get it. Let it be a pair of shoes, or a shiny car. Heck, let it be a trip to Paris that you save for. On that note, if you do go to Paris, bring me back some hideous memento, because I will treasure it just like I do every Mother’s Day card you make me.
I want you to lose a friend over something. I don’t want either of you to get hurt, but I want you to lose a friend, at some point, because it’ll teach you about the value of true friends. Let that friend be transitory, and not someone who has known you since you were born. Trust me, the people who knew you when you were still pooping your pants, are the ones you will come home to in your thirties.
But, mostly, I want you to live with the magic of childhood for longer than you should. I know that seems silly, and it’ll seem so ridiculous to you at nineteen that I let you do it. We’ve lost the Easter Bunny now to reality, but please can we hold on to Santa for just a little bit longer? Please be the last kid in your class to let go of that little sparkle of mystery. You’ll thank me for this, one day.