In five days time you will be ten. 10-years-old! It only feels like yesterday when I held you in my arms for the very first time, pondering how I created something so truly beautiful. It was love at first heartbeat, but as I peered down at your tiny hand wrapped around my finger, I felt my heart grow more with every little breath you took. Suddenly, this dream felt all so real. You were my daughter, and I, your mother.
Merely an adult myself, I soon learned the hardships of motherhood. Before long, you had puked ALL over my Mothercare catalogue fantasy and showed me a less glamorous side of parenthood. My freedom was exchanged for sleepless nights, early mornings, hysterical crying and tantrums. My social life, a thing of the past. Life wasn’t about me anymore – it was about you! You became the most important person in my life, and as long as you were happy, nothing else seemed to matter.
Our journey didn’t start smoothly, there were many cracks upon our road. I tried to protect you every bump of the way. I tried to take the right roads, but often, discovered I was travelling the wrong. But that’s life. Life is one big journey of not knowing which way to go. Life is one long winding road of twists and wrong turns. We get lost, we backtrack and we learn with every step we take. You, too, will become lost someday. You, too, will make mistakes. You, too, will learn how to find your feet in this big scary world.
But before you release yourself from mother’s protective wing, allow me to give you some of my pearls of wisdom…
Always be yourself
“An original is always worth more than a copy”, that’s what my mother always told me. It’s true, the world would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same. Rather than chasing the dreams of everyone else, go against the grain of society and be who you truly want to be! You are who you are, and that’s ALL you should ever want to be!
“Let people see the real, imperfect, weird, flawed, quirky, beautiful, magical person you are.”– Mandy Hale.
Be comfortable in your own skin
You wanna know why I hate that Disney channel trash you so dotingly watch? It’s because those picture perfect princesses are NOT reality. No, I don’t mean Cinderella, Belle or Rapunzel. I’m talking about the all singing – all dancing, preened-to-perfection idols you look up to so admirably. You see, they might appear to have it all – the looks, the talent, the glamorous lives – but perfection is nothing but a notion, my child, and nothing in this world is perfect. After all, we are born to be real, not perfect. And you, my dear, are beautiful the way you are!
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” –Thich Nhat Hanh.
You will hear this a million times in your lifetime, but I’ll say it again – True beauty comes from within. Feeling confident and being comfortable in your own skin, this is what really makes us beautiful. Always remember that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, and nobody, I said NOBODY, has the right to make you feel like you’re not!
“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within”. – Elisabeth Kumbler-Ross
You ARE good enough
You ARE good enough. You ARE smart enough, You ARE beautiful enough, you ARE strong enough – so believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to! Don’t ever let your confidence hold you back. If someone ever tells you that you can’t do something, you get out there and show them that you bloody well can!
“The world is your oyster, it’s up to you to find the pearls” – Chris Gardner
Kiss a few frogs, but settle for the prince
Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince charming. Mummy had to kiss a pond full of big warty frogs before she found her prince. One day, you might have to kiss a few too. But always remember, you are a princess, and therefore, you deserve to be treated as one! Never settle for anyone less than what you truly deserve.
“Someday, someone will walk into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else” – unknown.
Do what makes YOU happy
Do what makes YOU happy and screw what everyone else thinks! Life only comes around once, so make it count. I wasted too much precious time making others happy, so much so, I became miserable and resentful – So, do what makes you happy and be done with all the rest! If you want to be an actress, be an actress. If you want to be a dancer, be a dancer. If you want to flip burgers, be a burger flipper! Your choice, your life, your rules.
“Do what makes you happy, Be with who makes you smile, Laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live” – Rachel Ann Nunes.
Go explore the big wide world
Pack up your suitcase for there is a big old world out there, waiting to be explored. Before life ties its hefty anchor upon your ship, sail free into the unknown, travel the world to its edges and sleep under unfamiliar stars. My only regret in life is not having the opportunity to travel to all the places I have dreamt of travelling. Instead of saying “One day”, follow your heart, let the adventure unfold, and make some beautiful memories along the way
“In twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do far more than the things you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, catch the trade wind in your sails”. – Mark Twain.
Learn to let go
You know the song, you screech it into my ear on every other car journey – Let it go….LET IT GOOOOO! Don’t waste your life carrying around the heaviness of bitterness, resentment and yesterday’s hurt – just let it go! That’s right, pop it in a balloon and let it go! After all, you can’t reach for anything new with yesterday’s junk in your hands!
“Sometimes, the best way to be happy is to learn to let go of things you tried hard to hold on to that are no longer good for you” – Unknown.
Don’t be afraid of failure
Don’t EVER be afraid to fail. Always look at your mistakes as a learning experience. If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again. Don’t be ashamed of the mistakes you make, but rather, embrace them and turn them into positives. Geez, I’m really starting to sound like a hippy, aren’t I? But seriously… Never give up!
“Failures are part of life. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never change” – Unknown.
And last, but most importantly….
Don’t worry, be happy
Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and simply say to yourself….
“Don’t worry, be happy”
…And all will fall into place.
It’s been one heck of a road, kid. We have travelled a journey of happiness, laughter and joy. A journey of sadness, tears and hurt. There have been times when you thought you hated me, and times when I thought I didn’t like you all that much. There have even been times when you have told me you didn’t love me anymore. Well, guess what? There will be more tears to come! That’s right! There will be more slammed doors, harsh words, long silences and tantrums. But, you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because through all the hurt, the anger and the tears, we always manage to survive life’s bumpy terrain, find our feet, and chase the sunset once again.
As long as we have each other, there will always be light. For a mother’s love is never broken, it is continuous, and you can always depend on it. A mother’s love is patient and forgiving, it never fails or falters, even when the heart is breaking. Until my last breath, I will love you unconditionally.
So, keep your head held high, keep your chin up and keep on smiling – because life is beautiful, and there’s so much to smile about.
As I unleash you from my protective wing, I urge you to go live your life to the fullest and know that I’ll always be here when you need me – tissues in hand, and kettle on standby.
BUT WAIT! You are still so young, and let’s not wish your life away. Get back under my wing, little one, you have the rest of your life to explore the bright future ahead of you. But for now, let’s just embrace these precious moments.
You make me proud in so many ways!
I love you from the bottom of my heart,
Your loving mother.
My daughter, Phoebe, aged 4.
Life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy – Ritu Ghatourey.