Dear Daughter I didn’t have,

I have had all these dreams for you. They started before you existed.  Before you were a thought in my mind.

I knew I would not drape you in bows and fuchsia.  I knew you wouldn’t be forced to be someone you wouldn’t be.  I wanted you to be you.

I imagined you to be fearless and fierce.  Smart and sassy.  It would all come naturally to you.

I would expose you to new experiences.  You would be cultured.  No one would speak to you like a baby.  You are too smart for that.

You’d travel and explore, understand and inquire.  The world would be yours.

People will want to you be your friend.

You will have dreams and experiences, unlike mine, that are limitless.

Things won’t come hard, because you are resilient.  Obviously.

And then you came.

Everything was different.   You were everything I hoped you would be, and yet nothing like I had imagined.  You were perfect.

But as the years go on, and the problems get bigger, you drift further and further away from who I had imagined you to be.  I worry.  I worry every second of every day.  You love pink, and that’s the least of my worries.

While you are fierce, and smart and sassy, you are sensitive.  You feel deeply.  You think profoundly.  There are days you are confident, and some when you can’t see you worth.  People don’t know this about you.  I do, though.  

And I cry for you, when you try to be strong and get in your own way.  You compensate for this in ways that get you in trouble, and I struggle to find ways to support you. I won’t give up on you though, even if you give up on yourself. As you get older, and the problems get more complicated, I will continue to fight for you.

No one ever spoke to you like a baby.  It has gifted you with the best adult friends a girl can have.  You are wise, in some ways, beyond your years.  In others, you are your age.   This brings you challenges.  Sometimes, you can’t compute. I feel like now you just have to hold on through childhood, because who you will be as an adult is a force. In the meantime, I will be there for you.

It’s not easy for you to make friends. In this way, you are like me, and I hate it. You are good with a few, not good in a crowd. People make fun of you. Kids hit you. Often. You hold it in. And you don’t tell me – unless I ask.

How did this happen? Where did I fail you? Where is the child who I assumed would think that I could be someone to turn to?  

I imagine how this will manifest.  I wonder if it will continue.  Grow.  Spawn.  Consume you.  I cry some more.

I dry my tears, and come to yours and tell you everything is going to be alright, even if I don’t know it to be true.  I suddenly understand the need to lie.

I come back to the moment.  The moment when I see your impulsiveness and even as I worry, I grow impatient.  Sometimes I yell.  Why won’t you get it?  Why aren’t you who I thought you’d be?

And in the same instant I feel regret.  You shouldn’t be who I thought you’d be.  You should be who you are.  The yelling lessens to a whisper.

Growing pains are not simply for your bones and muscles, they are in your mind and heart.  There will be times when they consume you, and you will struggle.  I should have expected you would go through this.  We all do.  How else will you become resilient?

You should know that not everyone will like you for who you are, and that it will be okay.  You don’t need to be friends with everyone.  So, why do I all of a sudden care that you are?  

That’s on me…not you.   

That’s how you will be fierce and fearless in your future endeavours.  This is what is going to make you a fantastic adult whose dreams will be actualized in any way you want them to be because you won’t let the naysayers get to you.  You’ll tell them to beat it and not be afraid to take risks even if you are the only one that believes in you.

Expect I will be there.  Believing in you.  Every part of you.  Every part that I had never imagined, and yet every part that makes me adore you with every part of me.

Because, you see, who I thought you would be, who I imagined, has nothing to do with you.  It is me getting in the way of letting you be who you are now – who you will eventually be.  

In this, I realize that life won’t be easy for you simply because I imagined it to be so, way back when you were a glimmer in my mind.  It is not my job to make things perfect for you.  It is to help you find the beauty in the imperfections of life and help you ease through it, struggle through it, fail at it and succeed through it all, with a champion in your corner, someone you can fall back on, until you can stand on your own. Listening to the things you don’t say, ignoring the way I think it should be, and letting you figure it all out.

You will not be the daughter I never had, but the individual you imagine yourself to be.


Featured Image: Natasha Poly with daughter Aleksandra
Shot by Mario Testino for Vogue, October 2014.


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