In a few more days, you will turn two. And as the day approaches, I find myself thinking about how much meaning you have given to the ordinary life I was living and how much purpose you have lent to my existence in this world. As I sit here, scribbling in my notebook I am overwhelmed by the variety of emotions I am feeling; my eyes tear up with joy and satisfaction, my ears are constantly ringing with the sound of your laughter and your voice calling out my name, my heart has never known love and fulfillment like this before, my mind is blown away by a sense of wonder at being this fortunate. You came into my normal, conventional life and showed me all the extraordinary beauty it held, all that I am capable of and taught me so much about living that I would never have known if it wasn’t for you. My dear sweet girl, you have taught me to love, laugh and live and today I want to share the five best life lessons I have learnt by watching you be.
1. I was never known for expressing love. Anger I could express, but love, I really never knew how. There were times when I had wanted to speak but words had failed me, times when I had wanted to show how much I loved someone, but I couldn’t move a single muscle in my body. But when you came into my life and showered me with kisses and hugs, night and day, for no apparent reason rather just for being there at that moment, I was surprised by the joy I felt. There is such a sense of elation in being told that you are loved and if I can feel it, so can the people who matter to me. So I decided that from now on, I will not hesitate and make a big deal out of showing affection. Now I express love more easily and more often.
2. All my adult life, I had never gained any sense of joy out of my work. I didn’t study what interested me, my work didn’t inspire me and I never pursued my real passion. I worked because I was educated and because I was earning well. But when you came along and your father and I talked about the future, I told him that I will make sure that you follow your passions and not be stuck in an education or a job that doesn’t inspire you. But to set an example for you, I first needed to follow my own long forgotten dreams. I have made up my mind that from now onwards, I will only do what makes me happy, work hard on it, grow and develop myself and become a person who can proudly say that I love what I do for a living. All so you can look up to me and feel proud of who I am.
3. I have never been very good at speaking out for my rights. I mostly hold back, inadvertently concerned with what is expected out of me as a woman, even though I am aware of the damage this causes and realize that this needs to be changed. So when I see you, fighting for your right, taking what is yours, untainted by any false expectations and unafraid of the consequences, I never reprimand you. In fact, I am proud of the courage you show in that moment because I know that you are a little shy. Yet when you are sure about what is rightfully yours, no one can claim it from you. I want to see this courage in myself and by watching you, I am learning to speak out when I should and not be concerned with expectations and impressions, when I am sure that I am right.
4. Once when you were little, I read about the importance of crying in a person’s life, be it a child or an adult. As you grew older, I never stopped you from crying if you got hurt or were feeling unhappy. Rather I consoled you and told you that I understood why you felt the need to cry. I saw that this calmed you down a lot sooner than I had expected because instead of shushing you, I had held you close and allowed you to express all that you were feeling. I have decided to apply this to my life as well. I am gradually convincing myself that there is no shame in expressing my true feelings and sometimes all you need to feel better, is a good old cry.
5. I am amazed to see you, a two year old, possessing such superior qualities of character. You are brave and strong, yet you are kindhearted when you see someone upset. You share easily, smile readily and never put your blame on anyone else. You are driven and determined. You care about the displeasure of the people you love and apologize for your mistakes. I believe that all of us are born with these traits, but we end up suppressing them them as we grow in the pursuit of our goals. As your mother, I am obligated to raise you in a way that you retain all these qualities. But before that, I need to reach in and resurface all these qualities in my own self. You are a reflection of me and if I want to see you grow into a compassionate, courageous and self-confident woman, I need to be one myself.
This year again, like last year, I want to thank you for being mine. You have helped me discover myself and find my place in this vast universe. I am your mother and this is how I want to be known before anything else. Forever.
Happy Birthday Baby Girl!