June 7, 2016

An Open Letter To My Daughter—Before We Meet.


Dear Daughter,

Hello there little mystery. It’s me. Your mum. Well, the woman who is getting ready to be your mum anyway.

I have never been a mother before. Not officially. I have however, been other things: a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a girlfriend, an ex, an employee, a boss, a winner, a loser, a student, a teenager, and a very young girl myself.

There are a few things I have learned upon my hopscotch journey of life that I hope I don’t forget to teach you.

Although truthfully, who knows what we will be up to after you’re born. I certainly do not.

We may very well end up being busy applying for your NASA scholarship, starting a family band, living in a tree, raising goats, stopping climate change, dying your hair blue, consulting medical professionals on your fascination with eating sand, writing movie scripts, picking boarding schools, or chasing you across the world when you run off with a sketchy sky-diver named Darby.

So before you and I meet (and you undoubtably become my sun and my sky, bringing with you a pirate ship full of fun treasures in the form of brand new lessons) I thought I’d write you a letter.

Hopefully this helps me remember who I am now—and what she wants you to know from this place.

From me to you, woman to woman (in slightly different time zones).

1. It is not your job to make me happy.

You already do, of course. Your existence is enough. I can’t even imagine how overjoyed I will be to actually see your face and smile.

However, there will also be times when I am frustrated, sad, grieving, confused, or angry. For a universe of reasons. It is never your responsibility to remedy these.

It is up to your father and I to find the energy, not only to take care of you, but also to take care of ourselves. And each other. We will manage that balance. We will no doubt stumble and scramble, but we will figure it out. We are in charge of making our own dreams come true and staying happy. You are not.

There is nothing you need to be, nothing you need to achieve, nothing you need to give me, in order to bring me joy. You just be you, do your best to fill your own heart and be kind along the way.

2. You are not alone.

One thing my parents have really drilled into my heart and head is that no matter what, they will always be there. There will be no giving up.

Even if I find myself stuck in a Mexican jail for illegal smuggling, or joining a cult that worships slugs, or in a pickle with the mafia, or kidnapped in the Himalayas, they will always be there.

Luckily none of these things have ever actually occurred—yet. We’ve come close. (I have definitely used “emergency” credit cards for purposes such as “Swedish Ski Passes” and the likes). However I have always known, that even if my parents and I fought, even if I disappointed them, even if we weren’t speaking, even if they weren’t together, I have a team behind me.

Deep down I know, if I ever really need them, my parents will sell absolutely everything they own to save me.

I want you to always know the same. Wholeheartedly. That this forever applies to you.

(Aka. We will sell all your Grandparents’ assets).

But if you ever do feel alone…please know that you are not alone in that loneliness. It is one of the unfortunate weights of humanity.

It breaks my heart that I will not always be able to save you from the trials of this life but I have great hope you will allow them to make you strong. Not scared.

That you will accept sorrow, to keep you soft. That you will understand sadness, to show compassion. That you will invite love into your life, to bring you the rainbow of lights. The deep darks and the shiny shiny brights.

Don’t be frightened of these feelings (as I have so often been). They will become part of your beauty. A beauty that you, and only you alone, can create.

3. Make your heart and head as beautiful as your bedroom.

(And you my dear, due to hard work, many-a-paint-can, fairy lights and creativity, will have a GREAT bedroom).

Please don’t forget to be as equally vigilant with your thoughts. Pick the greatest colours to fill your head. Because your beautiful thoughts are your real home. They are where you spend most of your time.

Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with your mind. Be gracious to your feelings. Let them be. Fill them with sunlight. Give yourself a break.

No one can design your thoughts, control them or write them for you. So please please please learn that you can decide to keep them beautiful. That you deserve to keep them beautiful. Everyone does.

Here is one of my favourite stories about an old Cherokee teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win Grandpa?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Don’t be afraid dear daughter. We got this. I can’t wait to meet you. Watch you become a woman. Help you along the way. And love you forever and forever.

xxx Matisse. (The woman who will be your mother).


Author: Matisse Walkden-Brown 

Editor: Pippa Sorley

Images: Alexander Poenaru; author’s own.

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