Letter to my daughter

Be assured that I love you,
I have done since day one.
I am proud of the person you are today
and of the woman you’ll soon become.

You have many gifts and talents,
too numerous to count.
You’re growing strong, kind and beautiful
both on the inside and the out.

Your creative spirit and energy
give joy to those you’re with.
May you continue to be giving… generous.
May you choose wisely how you live.

Sweetheart, when I’m no longer here,
reflect on these words I say.
Use your wisdom, love and patience
to guide you when you lose your way.

For life is like a journey.
It’s cliché, but it’s true.
Often we make silly mistakes,
but we can learn important lessons too.

So, move forward, don’t harbour regrets.
Laugh, cry, hug. Express yourself.
Tell people what they mean to you.
Look after both your physical and mental health.

Remember that you’re loved and cherished.
Never take for granted these simple things in life.
Often a moment of appreciation
can uplift you in times of strife.

Darling, be an encourager,
don’t belittle, mock, nor judge.
Instead, help others who aren’t as strong as you.
Forgive quickly. Don’t bear a grudge.     

Be inquisitive, hardworking, diligent.
Gather knowledge. Seek the truth.
Continue learning throughout your life
in old age, not just in youth.

Have adventures and keep exploring.
The world is yours to discover and appreciate.
Experience and enjoy new cultures.
Show respect. Don’t allow your heart to hate.

Be a tenacious, vibrant woman
who strives to make our planet a better place.
Don’t be afraid of what others think.
Choose friends wisely. Act with grace.

Yes, have confidence, but humility too.
Fight intolerance, injustice and apathy.
Use humour to make others laugh.
Take time to listen. Be honest. Show empathy.

My darling, you will face many challenges
in our complex, chaotic society,
so remember that when the going gets tough,
have faith. Believe. Trust your own identity.

Your exciting future lies ahead of you and
if you use your gifts abundantly,
you’ll be an empowered, warrior woman,
the very person you were born to be.
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I’m doing the world a favour

‘I’m doing the world a favour’, I often tell myself,
particularly as I glance at the magazines upon the shelf.
On the cover of the majority, there are glossy, smug photos
of baby riddled celebrities adopting their polished, self-satisfied pose.

Exiting the corner shop, I almost stumble over a child
who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and is whining loudly in the aisle.
The exasperated parent patiently oversees the situation.
She is ‘just trying to get some shopping done’. I sense her growing irritation.

I meet my friend for coffee. She begins to tell me how tired and low she feels,
but she doesn’t get to finish as from the buggy comes several high pitched squeals.
Now she has to dash off to a play date for her eldest.
She tries to get the youngest’ coat back on. Crying, he furiously resists.

Another friend says she’s lost her identity. She has no more sense of ‘self’.
Her children are often rude to her, defiant and it's affecting her mental health.
She blames herself and seems confused, questioning her parenting skills.
She wonders if she should ask the doctor for some ‘special’ little pills.

I log in to social media to message a long distance friend of mine,
images of people’s offspring flood the screen and demand my time.
Trying not to become distracted, I ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on a few.
Of course, these are lovely photos, but there are so many to scroll through.

At times, it’s overwhelming, our increasingly child obsessed society.
I witness pressure and expectation causing imbalance and insidious anxiety.
Success, peace and happiness one could say, are now subliminally measured
by one’s ability to bear a child, be a family and take a thousand photos treasured.

Children can indeed bring happiness, but should we be so quick to conform?
With our frazzled brains and short circuit minds, I see many struggling to ‘perform’
the role of ideal and perfect family whose ‘spinning plates’ steadily multiply.
From birth to adolescence, they don’t seem to diminish as the years goes by.

Then there’s obesity and poverty, war, starvation and depression.
Paranoia and megalomania grips our incompetent, corrupt politicians.
How can we protect our children? Why bring them into this crumbling world?
Even more anxiety to contemplate as around us chaos is unfurled.

Racism, hate fuelled terrorism, sexism, homophobia and persecution,
we also have to teach our kids how to battle for a fairer, kinder evolution.
This responsibility is ours to bear, as well as getting World Book Day outfits right.
Perhaps, not having children after all, is a blessing and not such a woeful plight.