This one goes out to the one I love
I want to tell you about an amazing event happened this day in 2002. My little daughter was born. I say little, but to be honest she is firmly on the way to turning into a fine young lady. I don’t normally talk about my family, except in passing, but I’m going to make an exception here. I want to tell you about my daughter and I want to tell you what she has taught me about myself and about my views on other people.
I’m blessed to have two fantastic children, and as any parent I am proud as punch. My son is two years older than his sis and has always been very close to me. In a lot of ways we are very alike. He is studious, he is quiet, reserved and he is quite emotional. All, believe it or not are traits that I recognise in myself. If he has homework from school generally he will settle down to it and get it done. If he has a meal he eats the vegetables first to make sure they are done with. I could extol his virtues all day, but I’m not here to speak about him.
My daughter is everything that takes me out of my comfort zone. At school she is fair to middling. But she doesn’t mind. She told me that she was on the second lowest table for maths. “Are you ok with that?” I asked. “Yep” she replied, “It’s good, it means I don’t have to do the hard stuff”. A little while ago she came up to see me, “Dad” she said, “What’s a rectangle?” (at this time she was 7!), “Umm……its a shape a bit like a square” I replied nervously, “Thanks Dad, you’re right, I forgot”. I’ll be honest there were lots of times when I felt angst. There were worried conversations with my parents as I fretted about whether she would ever learn to spell the basic connectives. This wasn’t the sort of kid that I knew or understood. And I am so ashamed to say, that at times I thought I had failed.
But as time has gone on I have discovered a magic that she has, that has opened my eyes. Leave her alone and she will happily play, making up games, creating new worlds and adventures. Put her in a room with other kids and she will have a whole series of friends within minutes. A few years ago on holiday she became inseparable from two little Dutch girls despite the fact that they had no language in common. Another time one of the parents of another child that had become attached asked me, “Do kids always stick to her like this?” and the truth is they do. Someone gets hurt she is there picking them up, dusting them down and getting them back on their feet.
She is true to herself, she is about as “authentic” as you will ever get. When she gets dressed sometimes it looks like she has dived into a drawer and come out wearing whatever stuck to her, but somehow she still manages to pull it off. She is dippy and dozy and sure she isn’t the brightest kid in the class. But what she does have is charisma, charm and a huge, huge heart. She goes about life her way, she does things how she likes and she ploughs her own furrow in this world. I know she is still young, but I hope that she will always continue to do so.
I used to think to get on in life you had to fulfil a set pattern, that you had to follow the steps to success. I used to think that there were those who did well in school and therefore life, and those that didn’t. I used to think that if you weren’t good at something then you could and should get better just by working harder. I used to think you could compare people and work out who was best.
And now I realise how naive I was, how stupid I was to think that in any way she was a failure. My little one proved me wrong. And I can’t begin to tell you what a lesson this has been and how much I’m a better person for having her in my life.
Happy Birthday x