You turned two this week. Two. You’re two. Wow, it’s just not setting in, regardless of how many times I repeat it. It seems like you were born yesterday, and I had to pry open your closed fists and quickly clean your hands with a piece of cotton before you clenched them again. Now, you wash your hands yourself, often at your initiative. It feels like you have transformed overnight from that little baby I used to hug and cuddle, into a little girl who sometimes refuses to give me my good morning kiss, because she just doesn’t feel like it.
I’m writing this to you because I want you to know that you have not only brought unimaginable happiness and contentment into my life, but have taught me so much about myself and the world. You’re my guiltless chocolate cake, a demanding manager and a PhD, all in one.
Sometimes I like to sit and stare at you as you go about your day, busy with your idiosyncratic activities, and wonder how it is possible for your simple little acts to bring me as much joy as they do. Just watching you shake side to side as you sing, “I’m a little teapot”, brings me more happiness than receiving my Oxford degree. When you discovered that you could carry your little stool around with you and use it to climb furniture, I was horrified yet proud, much prouder than I’ve ever been of myself.
You are the smartest, strongest and most courageous child I know (of course this opinion is skewed because I don’t know a lot of children – plus I doubt there exists any parent that doesn’t share this opinion of their own child). I am often left speechless by the intelligence you demonstrate when dealing with issues, when responding to people and in getting a one-up on me. I still laugh when I think back to you deliberately dirtying your hands because you wanted more hand sanitizer. You are unafraid of trying new things, and I am in awe of your resilience and perseverance. Every time we go to the playground, you try to climb the big kids slide. The size of that thing scares me, but not you. Very rarely do I see you cry when you fall. Instead, you get up, rise to the occasion (not to mention dust your hands) and try again.
I greatly admire your kind soul, your uninhibited love and your unmatched emotional intelligence. You do not care where a person is from, what they do for a living, or what the colour of their skin is when you decide to befriend them. You show as much zeal hi-fiving people on the street as you do when meeting mommy’s friends. You will share your ice-cream with the stranger at the ice-cream store, and run concerned to a baby crying in the mall toilet. You kiss me when I complain of a headache and quietly pack away your toys if you see that I’m having a tough day.
Every day of these last two years, you’ve helped me become a better version of myself, sometimes by teaching me, and sometimes by showing me. Your independent spirit and your desire to do everything yourself has taught me patience. After two years of nursing you (through a difficult start and returning to work), I have learnt commitment and perseverance. Your gentle spirit and unexpected sharing attitude have taught me kindness and compassion. Your bad days have taught me that even good people have bad days and I owe everyone the benefit of the doubt. Your fearlessness and eagerness to try everything new has reignited within me a passion to find my true calling. Every day of your existence has fuelled within me a desire to be an even better person, someone you can look up to, and be proud of.
A few months ago, when I was contemplating quitting my job and going through an identity crisis, a friend of mine said something to me that I didn’t pay much attention to then, but it now rings true. He said you shouldn’t worry that without a full-time job, you won’t feel any sense of achievement, because when you see the way your child is growing up, you will find that sense of achievement. I look at you today: you’re strong, independent, kind and so intelligent, and I am so very proud of you. That said, I am so very proud of myself too, because I have tried so hard in these last two years to be a good mother to you, and seeing you today, I know that I’ve done a good job. I know I can’t hang you on the wall or decorate you on the shelf, and that’s even better, because I get to see you make the world a better place.
From the very depths of my heart, from every particle of my existence, I wish that you retain your strong independent spirit, your kindness, your emotional intelligence and your brilliance as you grow from a little girl into a young woman. I pray that you find love, happiness and fulfilment in everything you pursue. I hope that you find your true calling and give it every ounce of yourself, and then some more. I pray that you make a positive difference in the lives of the people you touch, and that you actively do so. I wish that as you invest in yourself, your career and your relationships, you invest even more in your children, because while rearing children is put out to be the most thankless job in the world, it is the most important. This is not advice that I would’ve given you two years ago, but today, as a mother, as a citizen of a world where I see new horrors every day, I cannot stress enough the importance of investing in your children. Raising good, kind children that respect and love others is the one sure-shot way of making a positive difference in the world. Spending not just your money, but your time on your child, is a sure-shot way off making yourself a better, kinder, more patient and more compassionate person.
Sweetheart, I pray that the world you grow up in is a kinder place than the world we live in now. I hope that people see you for the kind, brilliant person that you are, and not for your gender, or the colour of your skin, or the colour of your passport. Remember though, you are not defined by the labels might people put on you. Have faith in yourself, my superstar, and keep shining as bright as you do today!
I love you, my baby. Forever, and for always.