Dear Baby Girl,
I watch you sleep and marvel at how innocently your eyes shut away the world. I must have once slept like you, played like you, laughed like you, fought my siblings like you do your brother, refused to eat dinner (except sweets of course) like you.
Sometimes, when you are not looking, when your lower lip is tucked in between your teeth and I laughingly call you “Rabbit”, while you watch ‘Wabbit’, I stare at you and wonder where I was looking when you grew so quickly. It seemed like just this morning your dad was massaging (actually, he was almost breaking) the living daylight out of my back while you struggled to come through to the world, and when you finally arrived, for days it felt so unreal that I was a mom. In fact, for weeks, I struggled to believe I was a mother!
It was just the two of us alone at home at first while daddy went to the office, and I would place you in your rocker bouncing you up and down with my toe, while playing Jodi’s ‘Oh Baby’ on my phone to lull you to sleep, so I too could get a few minutes of rest.
I still play the song in my head to this day.
Now, you’re all grown. You’ve warned me not to call you a baby; that you’re a big girl. I hear you. If there were a tv series about you it would be titled ‘Everybody loves Z’, because you are such a smart, happy child. One of your uncles calls you “Sugar”, and everyone else has a nickname for you. I wonder why sometimes we can’t pause time, so I can really enjoy your sweet round face with its chubby cheeks and bright innocent eyes. I worry that you will grow too quickly; that one day, I will wake up and you will be eighteen, and your room will be empty, and your skinny arms will no longer circle my neck to say solemnly, “Mummy, I’m sorry…”
I know you enjoyed your fifth birthday over the weekend. Daddy bought you the biggest cake ever, but today, I want you to hold these precious words dear, and when you become mommy too, I hope you will pass them on to your daughter as well:
Learn to Stand up for yourself early
The patient dog, unfortunately, is long dead. Same too with the timid dog. I wish you courage to face your challenges, strength to rise from your failures and humility to admit when it’s time to move on.
You will face so many obstacles to your goals. Mom and dad won’t always be there to fight for you. In those times when the network fails, or you are too headstrong to call any of us, I wish you would stand firmly on your values – not on what the media tell you or what your friends say, but what you know is right. And when you do, I wish you will stand tall and tell everyone else to go hug a wet transformer, if they need to be told.[caption id="attachment_146" align="alignnone" width="492"] Credit: Huffington Post (Stand up for yourself like this 6th Grader)[/caption]
I hope Nigeria will be a better place for you
The other day in my car I felt sorry for myself for being this age smack right in the middle of a recession; a recession we hope will lift, and I wondered, if by the time you turn eighteen, your country will be more sane.
But my darling, look beyond your country and instead, look inwards at yourself. Be a better person for your country. It will keep you strong and hopeful.
Your grades count, but not so much
When I was younger, our grades were all that mattered. Our parents fought fears of having children that would never graduate from universities, never get good jobs. But life is so much different now. There are new standards, new strange things happening…heck, your grandfather texts me with smileys!
My little love, I hope you get good grades. I really do. That way, I can brag about how smart you are in school. But above all, I hope you discover your strengths on time. You see, your grades matter but not so much anymore. What really matters is what value you bring to the table and how dogged you are about pursuing your goals.
So, my dear, go ahead and kick ass at school, but as you do that, I hope you learn how to use your natural talents and skills early to make the world a better place.
I hope you’ll get all the opportunities in life that will take you to your life’s purpose
A few days ago, I received a mail from a stranger complaining that talents are never given the opportunity to at least, show their skills. It’s true. Not everyone of us will get such opportunities or know how to spot one.
But for you my dear, I wish you open doors, eyes to spot opportunities and the courage to walk through those doors when they open to you. I hope God grants you the wisdom to succeed at those opportunities.
Don’t believe in beauty; sometimes it lies
The media define what we judge as beauty today, and so when your dad worries about those dark marks on the back of your hands, I understand his worry.
But you know what, baby girl? Your scars are your trademark. They will go, yes, but even if they don’t, I want you to wear them like they were over-prized diamond bracelets. Mum teaches you not to use swear words, but really, if anyone you meet in your life judges you by those scars, laugh in that evil way Aunt Nma taught you to, and give them the ****
It will help you overcome the fear that stops most of us adults from reaching our goals.
…But not stupid
Don’t let anyone con you into doing what you don’t want to.
And as your dad and I celebrate the beautiful gift you are to us, the wonderful, precious blessing you are to us, I wish you will give love, receive love and find true happiness.
Because, honey, that is what everyone in the world is looking for.