Right now, there’s a blank page and a cursor staring at me, but that’s not from a lack of interest or not having anything to say. In fact, Mina, it’s quite the opposite. There is just so much I want to say that I am finding it difficult to know where to begin. Because I feel the pressure to be all…insightful. And intelligent. And deep. And write things that impress you and make you think your Mum knows stuff. But, in reality, the way I feel about you can literally be summed up in one single word: awesome.
I have been chomping at the bit to write this post all week. I have been trying to think of the best angle to try and make it all witty and about me and all that… but… you know, as you get older, these posts become less about me and how *I* feel, and more about you, and how incredible you are. Which, for a full blown narcissist like me, is tough to admit… but… you are becoming your very own person.
And I love that. I love that you are growing into this… person. With, like, opinions. And thoughts. And the ability to go to the toilet on your own and put on your own clothes… and play computer games and stuff. I still marvel at this person who has been a part of my life for 9 years and 8 months… that raven haired, intense little baby girl, growing into a beautiful, smart, intense person.
The intensity has always been there, but the one thing that amazes me is your ability to understand things that are so much bigger than other kids your age. I spent a lot of time trying to shelter you from the world, but this last year, you have had to live with experiences that you really shouldn’t have to… especially not all together in such a short time. Watching your Dad go from worker, to injured, to suicidal, to “mother”. Watching your mother sob, in your arms, in a way you’ve never seen her sob before, having to comfort her, because the only person she has is lying in a hospice bed waiting to die. Watching your parents marriage slowly disintegrate, and possibly knowing it was over well before either of us were able to say it. Realising lots of things about the world, and how hard and unfair it can be, on top of being 8 and the world being scary anyway… and… you know… it’s been a remarkable year. A really, really shit year.
There are lots of ordinary people out there, and I think you are starting to become aware of it already. And I think you know already, that you aren’t like the other kids. My heart broke into a million pieces a few weeks ago when you came home, burst into tears, and told me that everyone thinks that you are weird. And I know how it feels to be the weird kid, because I was the weird kid. And my heart broke into a million pieces because I, too, was 9 once. I, too, was creative and smart and saw the world differently from everyone else, including my family. And I escaped into music, and books, and my own head. From time to time, I would meet a teacher who got me, but for the most part, I lived the life of the weird kid… and to hear you talk about it, it’s not what I wanted for you.
But you know, if there’s one thing I am learning, is that eventually you will appreciate it. You are in for a bit of a hard time in high school – there is no doubt about that – but, if there is one thing I can emphasise, it’s that being weird is a good thing. Being different is a good thing. Seeing the world differently to everyone else? Yes, it can sometimes be a curse, but it is actually a precious gift. You may not realise it in your teens, or your twenties, or even beyond, but eventually, there will come a time where you realise that you are special, because you are wise. And wisdom is not something you can learn – it is something inate, inborn, and as sorry as I am for you feeling like the weird kid right now, on the other hand I am thrilled that you are different. You are also lucky, because no matter how you feel about it, I get it. I’ve been there. I understand that constant struggle to try and fit in even when you know you are different. And you know this already but you have me and I understand.
You make me laugh, because you are such a control freak it drives me crazy. You make lists, and notes, and try to plan things down to the finest detail. You requested I make you cupcakes – 10 pink, 10 purple, 10 blue. You made a list. you then checked up on me to see I was making them correctly. And I got a bit pissy because I was being micromanaged by my 9 year old daughter. And then I laughed. Because there is only one thing worse than being micromanaged by your child – and that is the sudden realisation that your daughter is exactly like her mother. You drive me nuts because we are the same and it makes me laugh.
You are like me to the point where I hear Grandma Chris’ little sayings creeping in, like “you are a genius but you have no common sense”, or “that girl will NOT SLEEP”. And I laugh. Because as much as Grandma lives on in me, I like to think that on some level the relationship I had with her, will live on in you and I. And that makes me smile. Because much like me and Grandma shared an understanding that noone else quite got, I hope that you and I will remain connected, even when we clash, at some fundamental level – with you knowing that I get you. And I love you. And I would do anything to protect you from the pain and harshness of the world, even when I know that it is impossible, and even when I know that you are tough enough to handle anything.
The next letter I write to you will be you turning 10. Heading into the teens, becoming someone who is bound to hate me for some of the time. And that’s OK. I find it bizarre that I have a 9 year old daughter, especially one that will help by getting her brothers breakfast and letting the dog out. But I watch you, and it helps me to feel like I am doing an OK job. And as messy as things might get, I want you to know that even when it doesn’t appear that way, you come first. Always.
And I hope that when I leave this earth, that you and your brothers will mourn with the intensity and gut-wrenching sadness that I do for Grandma. That I can create memories that become your saviour when you miss me and can’t see straight for the grief. And that there will be moments, where you talk to your own children, and you hear my voice. And laugh. And then I’ll know I did OK. And you will laugh, because you’ll be weird and warped like me and that will be a good thing.
I love you Mina and I am proud of you. Hang in there, it’ll be OK.