A Letter to My Daughter.
To my Beautiful little Girl,
Fifteen months have passed since you entered the world, fresh and pure, ready to develop and evolve.
Giving birth to you was the best experience of my life to date. It was visceral and all-encompassing for me physically, emotionally and spiritually. Since that day you have been an overwhelmingly magnificent source of wonderment and amazement to me.
You are inquisitive, fearless and courageous as you approach life and take on new challenges. I often wonder if I am the teacher or if I am being taught. Daily you challenge me to see life through your lens, that I often think it is the latter.
I watch the ferocity of examination in you, something innocuous like a bunch of keys demand your utmost attention. You pick them up inspecting them with your chubby little fingers, manipulating, pulling, pushing and poking them into submission. The excitement of something new, undiscovered, fresh is unmistakable; finally, when nothing else has worked, you pull a single key to your mouth. Deftly you flick your tongue in every groove to see what it tastes like, not content with your mission when all else fails you clamp down your four toothy pegs to see if it is edible.
When you have explored it to your saturation point you crawl speedily but expertly towards the coffee table, it’s like you’re in a race. You have been crawling for 3 months now, you are an expert. You have mastered the practice beautifully. Crawling is what you know, you have perfected it and it takes you places swiftly and means you can travel seamlessly to the next adventure. How wonderful! However, nature has other ideas, it is willing you to grow and extend your abilities.
When you arrive at the coffee table, unexpectedly one hand reaches up to the top, then another and you begin to pull yourself up one little grunt at a time. This is new and strange for you in equal measure. Your feet are pulled into place as you begin to bear weight on them. The intensity of concentration is palpable, and I sit and watch you just as intently. Your face is puzzled, unsure of what this is.You look to me, just a glance, and I look back, waiting to see what your next move is.
You have hauled yourself into a vertical position, something you haven’t done before on your own and you hold the stance momentarily. Puzzled, you wibble and wobble as onechubby leg begins to buckle, unaccustomed to the weight that is being put on it, starts to give way, the other leg too is not refined in this practice and can’t hold out any longer. In a split second, your bottom is back on the floor.You’re momentarily stunned at what has just happened, but you process the event in a flash and are neither scared nor distressed by it. You throw me a cursory glance and you shuffle back onto all fours and scuttle away to your toys. Off for a new adventure.
It leaves me reflecting strongly on how much I have to learn just from this one action.
You didn’t cry because you didn’t get it right the first time. You didn’t second guess yourself or ask “Should you be doing this”, “Is it right for you”? You didn’t scream because it didn’t work out for you and you didn’t compare yourself to anyone either.
You didn’t admonish yourself for trying something that at this stage was beyond your current ability.
You didn’t wait for acceptance or permission to try something out of your league; you also didn’t wait for criticism “Look at you trying something out of your reach, who do you think you are?” Your actions didn’t request advice, and it wasn’t a task completed for recognition.
And why? Because you had no expectations of a result.
Nature is pulling you to learn a new skill, and you will try again. You didn’t expect to get it right first time. You tried, and that was enough, one day soon you will probably try again, and again. One day you will put it all together and eventually walk perfectly. Interestingly you probably won’t remember you ever crawled, because walking will be the norm for you.
I think about this as an adult and how I can embrace this beautiful naivety in my life more. Why have I been my own worst critic if I have tried something and didn’t get it right the first time? Why have I not accepted that the mastering of new skills, behaviours and emotions take time,patience, understanding and resilience?
It’s important to be my own cheerleader, loving myself that little bit more for trying and hanging in there, progressing piece by piece.Why I shouldn’t take on others comments and criticisms as if they are the truth. They are not MY truth.
You and I will continue on life’s new adventures and I will take that lesson with us. I pledge to be fearless in pursuit of my passions and determined in the face of adversity. I’ll be unaffected by others negativity and remain open to the endless possibilities that this wonderful life has to offer us. OUR life.
My beautiful baby girl, today you were the teacher and I thank you and love you xx.
First Published on SRN.net.
Petra McCloughlin is a thought leader with the Royal Society. Believing that life can feel fulfilling, sweeter, fun and enjoyable. Connect with her on Facebook.