A Letter To My Daughter On Her Sixth Birthday
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, with lots of family obligations. Moreover, I’m going to a conference in SF (yay! Follow my twitter where I will try to keep up with the other smart people!). Therefore, I’m publishing this letter a bit earlier, and will return to serious research once I’ve settled back into London.
My Kind Girl,
We’ve had a bit of a rough year. Well, the second part was a bit rough. You sailed through it though, with your typical grace and extraordinary care for other people. I don’t think many 5-year-olds would run to get a glass of water for their mum when the latter is on the floor in pieces. I wish you hadn’t had this image to contend with in your mind, but sometimes life is unfair. You kept your head and you responded with kindness. I won’t forget it, it has helped me more than you can imagine.
You have grown so much this year. You are still small, and you still make up with personality for what you lack in size. This year you have matured a lot, and we both learned how to keep our emotions in check. We worked on techniques to calm down, and we worked on talking about our feelings. How girly.
Speaking of girly, you are the girlyest girl I know. You taught me to embrace my feminine side, and to be a more resolute feminist because of it. I do thank you for that. Your love for ballet solidified this year, and I can see that there’s no other choice for me but to be a ballet mum. So I learned how to do a ballet bun, and I’m working through the positions. It’s hard work to remember all the moves and moving parts of the show you will be a part of next month. It’s hard work to perform them flawlessly with a smile. I admire you for keeping up with the much bigger girls with such grace that the ballerina in you shines through.
We are into the world of boys this year. You have decided to marry at least four different boys since the beginning of the year. Every time you come back from school excited about the new-found love, making plans for elaborate weddings. A few weeks (or days) later, you’d come back in tears because your love-subject said something unkind or said he didn’t want to marry you. Then I get a bit of practice for the teenage years, in comforting you for being sad, and helping you rebound. In a healthy way. I hope you’ll keep consulting me and coming to me for comfort even when you’re older. I hope you know I’ll be here as long as I can for you.
You have such a vivid and rich imagination. I remember living in a make-up world when I was your age. I was told to stop day-dreaming, to stop making things up, to live in the real world, to grow up. It took me so long, and so much work, to release these prohibitions, to connect to my imagination again, to understand that it’s ok to be creative. That is why I insist on telling you that using your imagination is a great thing. That artists, writers, dancers, all use their imaginations and make the world a nicer place to live in because of it.
So this year, I wish for you to keep using your imagination. To keep creating drawings, cut-outs, crowns, and dances to express yourself. Use your voice in whatever way you like; and make sure everyone can hear.