Facebook just served me up some memories, including one of my love letters I'd written about my girls a few years ago...so, I figured it was time to write another, updated one!
At this moment in time, Sofia is 10 years and 4 months old and Samina is 7 and a half.
As we enter into the pre-tween years with you, Sofia, things have become...slightly more complex. The tween years mean growth, and growth means pain. You are starting to move away from me, question me, rebel against me, hold anger towards me. I have to remind myself on the daily that this is all normal and healthy and, well, required in so many ways. I've always believed that people who never rebelled against their parents in some form never really grew to their full potential. And, as with all things, our girl is ahead of the times. 10 seems so early to me for all this painful change, but I know that you are just ready for it. You are so in touch with yourself and what it is you expect from this world. I know those expectations will get blown to bits, especially over the next 5-10 years, and that scares me so much that it keeps me up at night sometimes. You are going to be disappointed, heartbroken and so, so, so angry -- and all I will be able to do (and can presently do) is BE THERE. Entirely, wholly, without judgement and without trying to fix anything. And that is so hard for me, and perhaps the biggest life lesson that Parenthood has taught me, thus far.
There are so many wonderful things about this new growth, too, though. You have become an avid reader, you remain one of the most curious people I know, you will try any food in the universe - some I would even avoid! - and you are so filled with empathy and a keen understanding of the workings of the human heart. You just love to laugh, and you give love with such a force - that same force that nearly knocks me over when you're mad. The ups are Up and the downs are Down. And I can see myself in you, in so many ways and for so many reasons. My greatest wish for you is that you are able to keep that fire lit in yourself, but find a way to manage it and give it focus and utilize it in a constructive way. And that you find people in her life, besides your family, who will love you unconditionally for that fire - not despite it, but because of it.
Which thus brings me to Sofia's biggest fan: Samina. Samina, you are a tough nut to crack. You prefer to keep your emotions to yourself most of the time. But, man, are you funny. Your silliness is a salve in this house, as is the gentleness that you on occasion bring out, to our utter glory. Sometimes after a hard day, the only thing that makes me feel better is snuggling with you, right up face-to-face with my Pookie. You have a calming effect on me that nobody else has - though, make no mistake, you also can drive me totally bonkers sometimes.
Your sense of independence is the thing I admire most about you: your clothes, your music, your playing, your decisions. They are all purely yours, 110% and without apology. This can be frustrating for your papà and I, but you should know that we also love it. My greatest hope for you, Sami, is that you are able to keep that unapologetic love for yourself alive, to not give into peer pressure or the weight of the culture around you and lose sight of who you are and want to be. I will be here to remind you, every chance I can get, that we love you for who you are. 110%.
When you both were born, the moment they put you into my arms, I felt like I'd known you before. There was a familiarity, a sense of having-lived-this-before, that rushed over me like warm water. With each day that passes, with each day that becomes a month that becomes a year, that eventually becomes a decade in your case Sofia, I feel that connection to you both grow deeper. Our days ebb and flow - I am not always the best version of myself with you two, admittedly, and some nights I am filled with regret about that. Watching you grow fills me with love and admiration and pride, but also anxiety and grief and a previously-unknown feeling of mourning. For the moments we will never get back, for the racing sands of time, for my desperate hope that your papà and I will be given the chance to witness all the future has in store for you both.
So, my wish for both of you is this: that you always, without fail and without condition, know how much we love you. That you are unafraid to take new risks and find new paths, because you know we are here for you. That you recognize, at least one day, that our nagging and pushing comes from a place of adoration and a hope that you both can realize your full potential; meaning, that you both can become the very best versions of yourself that you can be. Whatever, absolutely whatever, that entails.
I love you, my silly, beautiful girls.