Little Miss Parenting

A Letter to my Daughter on her First Day at School

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Congratulations! Today is your day!
You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

– Oh The Places You’ll Go, Dr Seuss

When you were born this day seemed so far in the future it didn’t worry me. You were my baby. I could hold you and cuddle you and raise you completely on my own. But yet here we are, four years in the future and I helped you put on your school uniform this morning for the first time. The first day of the next 12 years. I helped you hang up your bag on your named peg, I helped you put your book in your draw. Then I kissed you goodbye and walked away. You didn’t see me wipe my eyes, tears of both heartbreak at letting you go, and pride at how comfortable you looked in your new surroundings. Because although knowing I have you less in my life than I have ever had so far is breaking me, I know you’re going to shine like a star.

You are ready. More than ready to take those first steps out into the world on your own. To spend more than 6 hours a day learning more than I could ever offer to teach you. Making friends your age who you will grow with. You are ready to explore on your own and I’m so blessed that I am the one person who gets to watch you. I get to be the first person to hear about your triumphs, I get to celebrate with you as you learn to read and write, as you win and lose at sports. I will be by your side every step even if I’m not there in person I’ll be at the school gate as you finish your day.

My heart will heal, each day will get easier. I won’t always feel like I’m missing part of me during those hours. You have been my rock through everything that has happened to us. You are my reason for rising in the morning, why I stay up late working just so we have money, why when you’re sick I give up my bed just to make sure you never feel like you’re suffering along. I would not have survived without you which is why I want to repay you by giving you the world. You have no idea how much you have helped me these last few years. Your smile is what I live for, your laughter is my favourite sound. You’re my greatest achievement and now I get to watch you go and have achievements of your own.

The world is your oyster. You are incredibly bright, and so perceptive. But best of all, you want to learn. You want to be in class. You are curious, you ask questions, I love that you want to know. What I love is how you see the world. It’s wondrous how you come to your own conclusions and how you make sense of things in your own head. You try to read, you try to write. But you’re creative. You’re so creative and I couldn’t be prouder. You love to draw and write and colour, you love singing, dancing and acting, and now you’re getting into music. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you love, or that it’s stupid. Being creative is a wonderful gift. I hope your creative curiosity continues to grow, I can’t wait to see where it takes you.

You won’t be good at everything and that’s okay. No one is. You might not be very good at maths, or struggle learning your letters. You might never be a great swimmer or be able to excel at any sports. You might not even ever master the guitar. But try. Always try your best, no one can ask more or expect less. For me, your best will always be good enough and it should be for you too. Don’t be disappointed in yourself, don’t ever feel sad if you don’t reach your own high expectations. Simply try and try to let that be enough. Disappointment is a bitter taste and you will inevitably deal with it but don’t let it be at your own cost. Other things in life will disappoint you, but never be disappointed in yourself if you tried your best.

I’m your mum, and I tried to give you all the best parts of me. You’re fair and kind, and although looks aren’t important, you’re beautiful, inside and out. And I’m proud, so proud of you. I know you’ll continue to make me proud in all that you do both in school and out.

This is the first day of the rest of your life.. Kid, you’ll move mountains.

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