This past long weekend I have watched you, my sweet daughter. You have nimbly climbed a tower of cut wood, dug holes in the sand pit, played dinosaurs and sat side-by-side watching videos in the camper with your best “boyfriend”.
Even when you thought I was busy with your brother, I saw you.
I saw you better than I ever have.
Today you turn four. Four years, and you have already accomplished what I have been trying to my entire life.
You know who you are already.
You are you.
While I watched you, the other parents made comments like, “she is so brave, out there with all those boys” and “wow, she is so independent already”. You only came to me when you lost your shoes or your favourite dinosaur.
During this weekend, you struck me like a freight-train.
You won’t be mine for much longer. You will become your best friend’s. Your teacher’s. Your daddy’s. Maybe even your boyfriend’s one day.
And I won’t get you back for a long, long time.
I remember being my mother’s. We watched shows, cuddled under a blanket on the couch and ate popcorn, every single damn day until my first day of school. Even though I was only three and probably watched way more Fred Penner and Polka Dot Door than what would now be considered healthy, those were the moments that made me feel loved the most.
I hope you will remember our moments together like that too.
When I started school, I didn’t know who I was, how to act like a proper girl or what to say – so I mimicked everyone around me. I did what I felt other people would want me to do. I cared about boys far too early in life, and hurt many of them as I didn’t understand the effect of my actions. I was bullied, and I was a bully.
I wasn’t who I wanted to be.
In high school, I still didn’t know who I was. I read horoscopes and read books on personality types, wrote teenage angst-filled poems, shut myself in, drank and smoked and did the odd drug all the while having absolutely no clue who I was.
But I was beginning to understand who I wanted to be.
In University, I knew I didn’t fit in. I cared, but I cared a lot less. I found someone who knew me better than I knew myself. I didn’t have to pretend any more.
He loved me.
And that person helped me finally understand who I am.
That person is your dad, and he is by my side while I still to this day try to sift through the turmoil within me.
Your dad. The one who is always there for you, but who you always hug last. The one who we always joke that you got your stubborn streak from when we all really know it’s from me.
In reality, you got your very best trait from him.
You are you, unwavering and unapologetically so very you, and we are all incredibly lucky for it.
So, to my daughter turning four and going to school this fall all on your very own –
Please don’t change yourself for anyone.
Don’t lose yourself in childish drama, to your relationships, within your own head or to drugs and alcohol.
You are enough.
Take care of yourself.
And try not to forget about your sappy, old, embarrassing mom.
I see you. I will always see you.
And I will be waiting patiently until you come back to me again.