To my dearest Bear and Bunni,
This is the first letter I have ever written to you both. It is New Year’s Day, 2018. You are three and one years old, respectively, and we have just (thoroughly) enjoyed our second Christmas together as a family of four. We have travelled up and down the M6, visiting our families and are now home, exhausted, a little fatter (that’s ok, don’t get hung up on your weight, my babies) and ready for the next chapter in our wonderfully, magical book.
2017 was a superb year for us as a family but we have been surrounded by sadness, fear and chaos. Things which you are too young to be burdened with. Things no child should ever live through but these are the times we find ourselves in and I hope that by showing you never ending love and kindness, you will grow into brave and compassionate adults who can affect change in the world around you.
I don’t know what 2018 has in store for us but I can promise you this, whatever gets thrown at us, Mummy & Daddy will weather the storm and shield you from the winds. That is our job. No, that’s not right. To call it a job makes it sound like a chore. It is not a chore, it is a privilege.
I cannot promise there won’t be any tears. In fact, I can guarantee that there will be, because being little is extremely difficult and it isn’t always fair. Sometimes other children can be cruel. Sometimes you may not want to share, and occasionally, you may feel sad without knowing why.
Mummy may not always remember how difficult it is to be so little and for that I am sorry. And for every time I made you feel like I wasn’t listening or didn’t understand you, I am sorry. You see, Mummy makes mistakes. I get things wrong more times than I would care to admit and nothing hurts me more than to see you hurting, especially if I am the cause of your upset.
I will strive to do better this year. I will try to be more patient and supportive of your feelings. All of them. Even the ones I do not understand because I have forgotten what it was like to be small – it has been many, many years.
I promise that there will be laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. We will smile everyday.
We will adventure together, taking walks in the woods, hunting for the ever elusive Gruffalo followed by hot chocolates with marshmallows to warm our tummies.
We will run on the beach in our wellies, before dipping our toes in the ice cold sea. It will always be cold, that’s half the fun.
We will fly kites in the wind and paint sunflowers on the patio in the summer.
We will read all the books we can get our hands on because there is nothing more important to me than expanding your beautiful little minds and opening up a world of imagination to which you hold the key.
We will teach you to swim, so you can paddle to brighter shores. We will learn to ride bikes so you can drift off into the sunset when it comes time to loosen the reins. To quote Dr Seuss, ‘oh, the places you’ll go’.
Please note, that whilst I write this, I am already having palpitations about letting you go it alone for the first time on your bike. I will be running behind at speed with a frantic look plastered on my face, trying desperately to ensure you stay on the right path and do not come a cropper. Also note, I am a grumpy swimmer. I hate people splashing. I am not confident in the water, so please be kind to Mummy when we swim.
I do not want you to be like me. I am shy and often cowardly. I want you to be brave and adventurous and show courage when needed, but the idea of giving you freedom, both saddens and terrifies me all at once.
Fortunately that day is a while off yet. Now is the time to play and make wishes, to dream and build a future. A future that is centred around family and friendships and showing kindness to others.
So, my babies. If you take nothing else from this garbled note, please know that I love you and will be holding your hand through all of the ups and the downs that the next year brings. And every year after that.
Don’t be scared. Look forwards. Look to the stars, but never look back.
Love from your Mummy.