To my darling sons,
As you near your 4th and 6th birthdays and our conversations are focused on the types of cakes we’ll have, the games we’ll play and whether we’ll have a Paw Patrol or Angry Birds party - there’s another conversation I’d like to share with you. It’s the one that goes on in my mind in the wee hours of the morning whilst you’re both sound asleep in your beds; one flat on your back sleeping blissfully, the other curled up in a ball in the safety of your doona ‘cocoon’. It’s full of silent promises I make to you both, when only the universe is listening.
There have been times, and there will continue to be times, where I don’t handle situations the best way that I could. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I say something stupid. Sometimes I even take my bad mood out on you. Because even though I’m your mum, I’m human and I’m learning, and to be honest sometimes I’m just really really tired. I can’t promise this won’t continue to happen at times, but I can promise to try harder. I can also promise you that no matter what, I will never put you to bed without hugging, kissing and telling you I love you. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure you know that I love you beyond measure and that nothing could ever change that. No bad mood, no poor decision, no badly spoken word. Nothing.
I promise to be there for you whenever you need me. I promise to let you go when you need to learn something for yourself. I promise to protect you with everything I have, but I also promise to allow you to fall, to fail, and to make your own choices (even if you will later look at them as mistakes, and even if letting you make them causes me to age ten years in a day). Because this is what being a good parent is all about. I can’t live your life for you, I can’t protect you from ever being hurt, but I can provide a safe place to always return to. You will always have a place to go. No matter what.
I promise to tell you every single day how important you are. I will remind you when you’re feeling insecure or anxious or scared, that no matter what – you have all the tools inside you to take on anything you want to. I will fill your bucket so high that it won’t matter how many bumps and cracks and holes it gets along your journey through life, it’ll never run dry.
When someone puts you down or doesn’t want to play with you, I promise to help you through those times without allowing the lioness inside me to take over. I promise to suggest to you that perhaps they were just having a bad day and that they took their bad mood out on you. Or I’ll remind you that not everyone in life likes the same things, because if they did there wouldn’t be enough polony and sauce sandwiches to go around. And then I’ll teach you that this extends to people too. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok…because you like you and lots of other people do too, especially me.
When you’re doubting yourself and you want to quit, I promise to remind you that you don’t have to be the best at everything you do. You just need to try YOUR best. I will explain that you don’t need to be better than anyone else, because focusing on being better than others will make you forget that we all share the same universe and that you as much as anyone else adds value. I’ll teach you to celebrate the ‘successes’ of others, and treat others with the same kindness and compassion that I will teach you to show yourself.
I promise all these things to you, but most of all I promise to teach you how important it is to love yourself. Sometimes I will teach you through conversations, through praise, or by working through your feelings on good and bad days. Other times I will teach you through actions, including loving myself enough to do things for me sometimes, because it’s important that you see me living my life in the way I wish for you.
I promise to make this my biggest promise because when you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does. It doesn’t matter whether you get that big job, or if you captain the footy team. It doesn’t matter where you finish in the running race, or whether you’ve got more money than your neighbour. It doesn’t matter whether the sun is shining or if you’re buffed up or skinny.
If you love yourself, you won’t spend a lifetime chasing happiness – trying to find it in other people, in possessions, in achievements. When you truly love yourself; happiness naturally follows. This is my ultimate wish for you both – happiness, in its most pure form. Happiness unrelated to anything other than just being. So I promise to do everything I possibly can to ensure you are brought up to believe in yourself and to know your own worth and value, and to love and honour yourself as a result. And if at the end of the day you love yourself with even a quarter of the amount of love I have for you – then I’ve done my job.
So happy birthday my angels! May your days be bursting with expressions of love from family and friends, and your hearts and tummies full enough to carry you through another beautiful year…