This is one from the archives. My niece turns 3 in June, but I never had a chance to publish it. With my sister’s permission and with a view to updating it:
Not even a year old and you’ve turned our world around. First born of the next generation, my little niece. I’m writing to you on this International Women’s Day to thank you for being.
I have learnt so much of myself through you already and each time I see you it is amazing to see how much you have learnt about how you work and fit into the world around you and the joy in which you experience it with. It is infectious and I hope you never change.
I hope you grow up knowing how loved you are, not only by your moma and dada, your grandparents and great grandparents, aunts and uncles, but also in your own ability to love yourself. For you are loved and lovable – a lesson I’m still learning myself.
I have seen the transition in my sister, your mother: from girl, to woman, to wife and then to mother. And it makes me smile. I am proud to be part of your story and that of your family as you grow in each other. It gives me hope of a family of my own one day and glimpses of what also might be.
First born, I sense a connection. Through observation at our sensitivity and inability to laugh at ourselves, reminiscing with photos and afternoon cuddles. I pray you never lose sight of that inner child of yours. You swim in a pool of adult attention so effortlessly – the centre of everyone’s world. You brighten our days with your little chatterbox and you remind us of what we once were.
Your smallness in comparison to the size of your uncles, your fragility and yet the strength in those hands, your persistence in standing up, exploring and inviting us into your world of bright lights, loud sounds – technicolour. No wonder it sometimes overwhelms you.
I wish for you a future of happiness, containment and contentment in who you are and all that you can be. I pray you will be happy in all that you do and that your path be blessed. May all doors be open to you for who you are not and hindered by the views of the world defined by biology.
Little girl, may you grow up to be a fierce woman. Proud of who and what you are. Tender hearted, loyal and aware of all you are: potential sister, friend and mother. May your steps be blessed.
And as I learn to parent myself more, may you continue to be my example. To let down my sword of battling and to experience the childlike joy at the world around you. To not be bitter at the judgments people may make about being a woman but to explore each and every shadow. To be content in my own journey and to have grace with others. Take all that life has to offer, often mouth first, as you do.
Dear heart, thank you for helping me to see past my own fear, to take of the glasses of struggling and recognise the call to just live. To stretch out and expand into all that I can be. For the change is through me and you too my sweet. Not only through words and actions but by being. Life is there for us to experience and hopefully many more afternoon cuddles.