An Open Letter To My Darling Emily
Today, I wake as a mother of a 16-year-old daughter.
I can still remember the moment we found out we were going to be parents. Nothing fancy, me sat on the toilet, in shock, pregnancy test in one hand and phone in the other speaking to Dad, who was pretty speechless.
I worried in those early days that my life would be different. I would lose my independence, having to be responsible for someone else and having to transition to one of ‘those’ Mum’s, all Pinterest perfect, power-walking with the latest stroller!
Honestly, despite the many “My life won’t change!” declarations, from that day, even though I really didn’t know it in that moment, my life did change, forever.
There is a joy to impending motherhood but it’s also very scary. Dad and I really didn’t discuss or contemplate how having you would change us, until you happened. We freely admit, we have been kind of winging it from those early days and everyday.
After 38 weeks of pregnancy, sickness, pre-eclampsia, fat feet, hospital stays and a lemon pie addiction you came, as you do in life, full of surprise and on your own terms. 5 lbs 11 ounces of perfection. My best Christmas present ever!
From the moment we thought we had lost you, to the terror of not hearing your heartbeat. From the trauma of an emergency c-section to your Dad taking a funny turn when he first held you! Through all that drama and turmoil, when they put you in my arms everything suddenly calmed and it just became you and me, as it has been so ever since.
It was in that moment I realized I couldn’t live without you. I had been given something so precious that I never knew was missing in my life and all the fighting with myself and the resistance to change dispersed in an instant and an intense desperation to love and care for you swept over me.
Over the past 16 years I have questioned myself so many times. Truthfully, I question myself all the time. I don’t think that will ever change. The biggest question I throw out to the universe is what I did so well to deserve you?
Parenting is the single most difficult job in the world where everyone else seems to be the expert. Rest assured they are not, despite their façade. No one knows what the hell they are doing and we are all trying to get through this the best way we can. All aspects of life are very much the same, never wait until you have all the answers or until you’re ready, learn as you go and wing it like a champ.
My worry about doing everything perfectly can come across as pushy and hard, I know. I never want to upset or frustrate you, I just see so much in you and want you to see it too. I never, ever, want you to settle for just ‘OK’ – there is nothing just OK about you. You are extraordinary and deserve the greatest life this world can offer you, if you have the courage and determination to seize it.
Every day I wish I could stop time so I could enjoy you at this specific moment, in the past year alone you have grown so quickly and it’s just too fast, I’m desperately trying hard to keep up.
I want to still hold you like I used to when you fit in my arms, I wish for those moments and relive them in my mind. I know you are growing and I have to start letting go, but please never forget those impromptu hugs and snuggles on the couch. I live for them and you will never be too old for them.
I know you will have to travel your own path and it’s so hard for me to step back and allow you to fail. But know you will fail and know that it’s fine to do so. Mistakes are lessons and life is full of them. Use them to make you stronger, not to wear you down. I will be here for you, always.
Anyone who knows you well knows there’s so much to love.
I love your confidence and that independent nature of yours (you know you get that from me right?)
I love your openness, your spirit for adventure and that you have the trust in yourself to wear your heart on your sleeve.
I love your silliness and sense of fun and I love your compassion for life and for others.
As you enter this next stage in your life journey, know that the Mom advice will never cease. So, to celebrate your 16 years, here’s some snippets of advice from the person you loves you the most and for you to take with you as you enter one of the most exciting periods of your life. A period of change, new demands, choices, love and adventure.
♥ Life is not found on your screen. Put down the phone and open your eyes. Social media sucks. It’s fake. #nofilter is bullshit. Real people don’t look like that. Real women have cellulite and jiggle.
♥ See the world with a little wonder from time to time, it’s a pretty magical place, allow it to surprise you. Always be open to all the possibilities the world has to offer. Travel…extensively.
♥ Be a student of life. Be curious. Be adventurous. Have stories to tell and memories to share, not stuff to show.
♥ If you love someone tell them. Not on Snapchat, in person. Love is not always reciprocated, and that’s ok, but never be scared to put your love out there.
♥ Men are not the enemy. Despite the rhetoric, a loving, respectful man who does things for you is not sexist, chauvinistic or controlling. Know the difference and when it doubt, look to your Dad. Never has there been a more wonderful man than him.
♥ Relationships are private. Always keep your private business between the two of you and talk to each other. Your feelings are not fodder for gossips. Interference kills romance! If you find yourself in a situation you need help with, have a friend you can truly trust or come to me or dad, we know stuff 😉
♥ Your gut instinct is your best guide. Never question it, trust it and follow it.
♥ Apologizing is a sign of strength, not weakness. We all screw up, when you own up to it, you grow from it. HOWEVER, don’t apologize for someone else’s mistake and NEVER apologize for being you.
♥ Learn to say no and say it often. Don’t let anyone in your life guilt trip you into doing something you don’t want to do or are uncomfortable with.
♥ Life is the ultimate high! You don’t need to drink, smoke or do drugs to have fun. Although, if you have to drink, drink something classy like a Martini or a Cosmo and drink in moderation.
♥ Find someone who makes you melt when they kiss you. When you find them, kiss them often.
♥ You’re allowed to question authority. You’re allowed to question EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!
♥ Pick your people wisely. Who you surround yourself with will always be your greatest influence. Choose your friends carefully. They will have a deep impact on how you do life. It’s okay to let unhealthy relationships fall by the wayside. The older you get the smaller your circle will become. Remember your greatest friend will always be you, be kind to her.
♥ Don’t take everything personally. Most things that others say or do aren’t even about you at all … It’s about them and their own insecurities!
♥ Don’t worry what people think. You literally won’t see or talk to most of these people in 10 years.
♥ Look after your body. Nourish it well and move it often. Your body will change over time, embrace that change and relish your beauty.
♥ Never compromise your integrity to be polite – Your respectfulness and manners are always impeccable, but remember, it’s OK to tell someone to FUCK OFF if you need to.
♥ Never be afraid to make the first move. Only the weak are intimidated by confident, strong women. If your strength unnerves them, you need to know that sooner rather than later.
♥ Take defeat on the chin and with a smile but come back fighting like a bobcat!
♥ Journal – You are living your own bestseller. Make notes, journal and always read back to see how far you have come.
♥ There is no one that compares to you. You’ll never know who you truly are if you compare yourself to others. When you look at others to measure your worth, you are neglecting everything that is wonderful about you. Honour who you were created to be and spend your life celebrating you.
I think those few little words of wisdom will see you through the next few years but I’m always here for more when you need them, I have hundreds of them to keep you going 😉
As you enter your 17th year know that you are loved beyond measure and being your ‘Mumma’ has brought nothing but wonder and joy into my life. You are God’s greatest gift to me.
Continue to let me be a part of your journey and wherever life leads you I will always be by your side.
Have the happiest of birthdays my beautiful girl.
I love you
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