Dear Young one,
How have you been today? Did you smile? Did you cry? Were you mad at me or embarrassed by me? I’m sorry if I’m not very good at this. It never has been or ever will be my intention to hurt you. Just be patient with me, okay? I’ve probably screwed up a lot and I’m going to continue doing stuff that irks you. This parenting thing is hard.
I’m writing this before I know if you’ll exist or not. I really hope you do though. I’d love to have you in my life whether I have to spend nine months cowering over the toilet every morning or whether I have to fight unfair systems and cross-oceans to hold you in my arms.
I’m writing this now, while I’m still in the prime of my youth. Naïve still. Not so sure what the world is about. I want to write this now so you can’t turn to me in a fit of rage one day and say, “What do you know about being young?”
I wanted my first letter to you to be about love. It’s quite a wonderful feeling and I hope I can teach you to give and accept it from the people around you. I hope that I can teach you to be open with your heart, generous. But not too generous, I want you to be able to walk away from situations and people who could take advantage of you. Unfortunately, the world is filled with these people.
You’ll have siblings. Maybe sisters or brothers or both. You’ll fight a lot. You’ll possibly hate them at times. But deep down inside, I want you to know that you’re connected to them in a way that you’ll never be connected to anyone else. The stuff they’re made of, it’s what you’re made of too. And no matter what, you’ll never be able to change that. Try to see things their way sometimes, even when you’re shoving each other into walls and tattle tailing on each other out of spite. Love them because I know what it’s like not have that. To watch others with longing, waiting for the day that the stork finally comes to visit with a bushy haired bundle who shares my nose and inherited quirks. Be appreciative to have people in your life to fight with. A lot of people would give anything for that.
I want you to love learning too. Not just going to school but holding ants in your hands and eating sand kind of learning. I want you to question things. I want you to question everything. Never settle for ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Constantly wonder why things are the way they are. Pester me. Pester your teachers. Demand answers.
Now comes the scary part of love. The part you don’t really want to talk to me about. Maybe I’ll scar you for life but everything you know about this aspect of love will come from home. When others take out stolen magazines and point to certain appendages on the anatomy of the glossy girl printed on paper, I want you to yawn and tell them you’ve already seen it all and it doesn’t interest you just yet because that isn’t love. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t interest you, don’t get me wrong. It’s perfectly normal if it does. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that that’s what it’s about.
Inevitably you’re going to start noticing cute smiles of boys or girls, maybe boys and girls. Sometimes these boys and/or girls are going to leave you high and dry. It’s going to hurt like hell. And that’s okay because if anything, hurting makes you humble. It makes you grateful when the real deal comes along.
These boys and/or girls are going to want to put their hands on you. A few of them probably will. But don’t ever let me catch you letting any of them put their hands on you without first getting to know what’s in your head and in your heart. What you are on the outside is just a shell. But dents on the shell don’t always just stay outside, they penetrate hard, scar the insides a lot. Be careful but don’t be scared because I’ll always be here to help you pick up the pieces.
I have to go for now. I have a lot more adventures and journeys to go on too. The lazy Sunday afternoon stories I tell you as you lay next to me needs another chapter.
Forever with arms that will always be open and shoulder that will always be ready to lean against,