Some time ago, my friend Mary Tod (author of the just released book of historical fiction Unravelled) wrote several letters to her daughter Leslie and I posted them here on my blog. The reaction to her letters was very, very positive and gave me an idea!! What if others wrote similar letters to their granddaughters, daughters and/or nieces and allowed me to post it on my blog?
This is the first letter I received in response to a request I sent out some time ago. I held on to it, hoping more of you would read it, once we were all ” back to school!!”
A Letter for Nicolle
Children were never a part of my master plan, so this is a letter that I never imagined I would write.
I wasn’t much good at taking the advice of those who were “well-meaning” so why would I think that I would be good at giving the same kind of advice?
My daughter got lucky in a way – she inherited me in a marriage and didn’t have the disadvantages of my questionable genes. She did, however, have a boat-load of other biological mother “challenges.” With the guidance of an incredibly supportive father, she has overcome tremendous odds on her journey to become the incredible human being she is.
So when it comes down to who has the wisdom in our relationship, or who is the teacher and who is the student, I think I will learn more from my daughter, than she will ever learn from me.
At 23, she still finds the child-like wonder in a baby bird frantically flapping its wings to keep up with its parents. She cries at the mere thought of a wounded or unwanted animal. And she is overjoyed at the simple pleasure of watching her nephew play his first season of soccer.
Unlike me, she is still so very soft – not yet hardened by life’s disappointments. She can be very emotional and we tread lightly at times, afraid to admit that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny might not be real.
She is proud of her accomplishments because she worked really, really hard for each and every one. She is all about the sanctity of relationships. What she wants most in this world is to be loved and accepted without question or condition.
And as I watch her and listen to her, I learn from her.
She teaches me patience when things don’t come to her as quickly as they do to others. She shows me strength when she stands up for herself in the most difficult of situations and class when she chooses to walk away from a fight she can’t win. She guides me down the path of courage as she confronts the demons of her past, and she instructs me on the art of expressing her love for those she cherishes.
I fear the only battle she will lose is the one to cure my incurable potty-mouth!
I took a lot of wrong turns in my life and handled many things poorly that would bite me down the road. The only pearls of wisdom I can offer are those that were offered to me by people in my life who knew things I didn’t know…
There is nothing in this letter so profound as to change the direction of my daughter’s life. I am not arrogant enough as to think I am that smart or that good with words that I could influence another’s behaviour.
Together, my daughter and I will learn about life. Because the day that I stop learning, or the day that I stop laughing, is the day that I take residence on the other side of the grass.
All I really need for her to know is that no matter what, she is loved.
Please let me know what you think in the Comments section below. And if you would like to write a letter to your daughter, granddaughter and/or niece, I would be thrilled to post it!!
Thank you to Nicolle and her mother for agreeing to share this letter!!