A letter to you, at five.
Jaia, you are five years old. You are no longer a little baby, a toddler or even a preschooler. You, my little one, are officially a kid. Sometimes that fact still punches me in the gut and knocks the wind out of me, but I’ve come to learn that I cannot, in fact, stop time, so I have to just roll with it. Not always an easy task, I must admit.
Over the last 2 years you have taken on a lot of responsibility. You became a big sister, and that was a total game changer. You’ve had to fight for attention at times, fight for your toys and fight to be heard. But on the flip side, watching how much your little brother adores you makes my heart grow 5 sizes. Because you know what, I know how he feels.
I have spent the last five years in awe of you. You are ferocious. You attack every challenge that comes you way with an intensity I’ve never seen before. You are creative. Oh, so creative. And you are sweet. And kind. You let others take turns first and you never complain. You are gentle but strong-willed. And a little stubborn. You are polite. You never forget to thank others for the things they do for you. You are beautiful. Your smile melts me and your eyes, well, I could get lost in those baby blues.
But at five, my love, there are some things that I want you to know. Things that I wish I’d known. Things that you may choose to ignore, but I’ll have been glad to have said them, or in this case, written them down for you. Here goes:
1. Don’t chase boys.
Just don’t. Let them chase you. You are worth being chased. And if you do the chasing, they won’t respect you as much. And you, Jaia, deserve respect. DO NOT ever let anyone make you feel that you don’t. Trust me on this one. If someone treats you that way, they do not deserve you or your time.
2. Surround yourself with good people
Your friends will become your world in a few years. And some you will keep forever. Choose wisely. Trust your heart. They do not have to be exactly like you, in fact some of the most interesting people you will meet will be very different from you. Embrace those differences and appreciate them. Your friends will come to know more about you than anyone. So treat them well. Keep their secrets. Listen when they need you to. Tell them often that you appreciate them. And never take them for granted.
3. Never be embarrassed about being smart/good at something.
You are smart. There I said it. But it’s true. And for some reason, sometimes, especially as we get older , it seems to have less appeal. But that’s dumb. I promise you though, being dumb on purpose will never, ever, ever be the right choice. You are smart. Remember it and use it and, above all else, to be proud of it.
Believe in yourself. Believe good things can happen. Believe you deserve it all. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Believe you are beautiful. Believe you are dearly loved. Believe you can win. Believe what your parents tell you – as much as it won’t always seem like it, we know what we’re talking about and we have your best interests at heart.
I hope you grow to have a love of travel. The world is far too big to stay in one place. See as much of it as you can. Take in the sights. Try local food. Walk off the beaten path. Learn a new language. Make a new friend and ask them questions. Appreciate differences.
6. Learn how to fall
We learn as much from our failures as we do from our achievements. When you fall, pick yourself back up and try again. If everything was always easy, life would be boring. And you would never learn to truly appreciate anything if everything was just handed to you. A little struggle toughens you up and prepares you for the next challenge. Put your heart into it and it can be done. You, my love, can move mountains. And in the process, learn to laugh at yourself. You know, those great big belly laughs of yours. They really are the best medicine.
But above all else, just always be YOU. Hilarious, lovely, genuine, sweet, adorable you.
What advice do you want to pass on to your little ones? Is there one life lesson that you wished someone had shared with you while you were still young? Please do share…