“The greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly. I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you.” – Brene Brown
Last year, in the days leading up to the spinal surgery on my neck, I wrote a letter to each of my children to be opened on the event of my death during surgery. You can see that it was a very real thought for me, the seriousness and potential for things to go wrong is possible in surgery anyway and, it turns out, you have quite a lot of important functions for life going on in your neck. In any event, I’m sure you’ve realised, that these letters lie unopened with my other important documents as I am still here to tell the tale! I have been thinking about them recently with my reflections on this important transition for my daughter between primary and secondary school. What haven’t I told her or passed on to her? What does she need to know to ‘set her up’ for life? So I decided to write her a letter now and here is a first draft. I would love to know what else I could include - what would you say?
To my darling daughter,
Now you are making this transition from primary to secondary school I felt it was time to write to you and tell you just how important you are and just how much I love you. I hope you already know that, but just in case. From the very first moment you were placed in my tired arms, there you were, the most incredible thing I had ever seen. You are beautiful inside and out, strong and caring. With your hard work and fantastic attitude you will achieve incredible things in your life, even if they are seen as ‘small things’. Life to me is all about following your heart and listening to your intuition, living each moment in the best way that you can. It is about being kind to and treating with respect the people that you meet along the way (even the tricky ones, maybe especially those ones, as maybe they need more love in their lives) as well as being equally kind to yourself. Do not let anyone put you down or act in unloving ways towards you. Choose to do the right thing rather than the easy thing.
It’s about being true to yourself and fostering inner strength for the inevitable ups and downs and changes in life, and cultivating joy and gratitude whenever you can. Be your own best friend, have your own back. Don’t be frightened of being frightened. Always choose love over fear. You have this one wild and precious life, how do you want to live it? The choice is yours. You know better than anyone else, you have the answer to any question, sometimes it just takes time to find it. Something I heard Oprah say recently which I think is interesting to ponder when making a decision or choice “Am I willing to accept the consequence of it?” whatever that consequence is. In life, I believe, it is more important to try your best than to be the best. You are perfect now just as you are. I am already proud of you beyond measure. All I wish for you and your future is a happy, contented and full life, whatever you deem that to be. Live lightly on this planet and all that is in it; take time to appreciate nature, wonder at its beauty and stop to look up at the stars. I love you very, very much. You have already brought immense happiness, learning and wonder into my life and I am extremely grateful for that. The world is a better place because you are in it.
All my love, hugs and kisses too,
Well, there’s a starter for 10. What have I forgotten? What do you think are the ingredients to a good and meaningful life? Add comments below. Always, wear sunscreen?! Reading this back it reminds me of the Baz Luhrmann song (I must look that up as I haven’t heard it for a while and it’s a classic). I still have time to hone this letter...there’s a whole 6 weeks of summer holidays until she starts secondary school. As well as a secretive smile, I think I know her response already, “You’re so embarrassing Mum!”
I feel I must let the profoundly inspiring Dr Maya Angelou have the final word:
“Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”
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