thank goddess, my little warrior of light is recovering well. I was never seriously worried, but i was on the verge and it was great to see her beginning to be back to herself this morning. she hardly ate anything this weekend, but breastfed night and day. thank goddess for breastfeeding. thank goddess for my baby.
this week i’m going to start writing her a letter. in the weeks after she was born, i wrote her a letter describing who i was at the time of her birth, my feelings in the weeks after, and the changes she brought to my life. i described my relationship with her dad, what he was like and what shifts in our relationship had occurred. i described her as she came to us and the wishes and dreams i had for her as she blossoms. i wrote without plan or editing, more than a dozen pages, filling a entire set of writing paper than i’d had since my early twenties.
zi turns one in november and given that i probably get a clear 1/2 hour to myself each night, i’m going to have to start this letter early. i’m excited. it will be fun to describe her changes over the months. when she starts talking to me from the car seat in the back, i can remind her about those first weeks of driving with me when she bawled down the place every time we were in traffic. when she is running about, i can help her date when she began to smile, make sounds, cut teeth, crawl and stand up in bed, saying loud baas, chewing the bedhead and climbing over us with full confidence that we are hers.
i’m also excited to tell her about the changes i’ve experienced to my life, relationships and emotions as well as the challenges of balancing work and family. i want her to know who her mom was in these years as so many aspects of who mothers are as women gets forgotten later on.
when should she get these letters, written each year for her birthday? i haven’t decided and may not know until its the right time. i think when she can read them herself is important. i think when its important to remember that her parents are people too, just before adolescence and on the cusp of adulthood. these letters are to let her know that i have a history of my own. i am not just mummy. she has a history of her own too. ours are interwoven, though different, paths. the letters are to help her map her past and, from that, chart a future based on knowing who and where she is from.
i want her to know some of the little ways that being a woman in this time is not easy. yet, how being a woman can be powerful beyond compare. as well, both the exhilaration and exhaustion of being a mother. the fulfillment of working at something you like and are good at, and the importance of getting an education in whatever you are passionate about. i want her to know that love and marriage are not easy, but that finding a tried and true soul mate is possible and it is bliss. i want her to know how her dad treated me and that she has a right to be treated right in her relationships too. i want her to know that her mom is a feminist, in the Caribbean sense and all that that means, as she decides how she wants to be different from me. i want her to know how a wealth of self-knowledge and insight into her past can help her to understand herself, her decisions and her vision for the world.
for me, the letters are an attempt to continually remind myself of the importance of communication, reflection and honesty in my relationship with her. honesty about myself, my aspirations, my failings, my expectations and my life lessons. i don’t want to reach a day when i have so much to say, but don’t know how to say it or she doesn’t have the time to hear or it seems the past should just be let go even though there is so much about it to know. i guess i am hoping that the letters will help her to understand, love and, where necessary, forgive me as we all must grow into understanding, tolerance and forgiveness of our parents for being only too human.
i’m writing to her, but i guess i’m also writing for me. things that, from my own experience with my parents, i wish could be said or had been said by each of us, but which will never be said now. there are things about their and my past that i’d like to ask but don’t want to get into. these letters are a window into a world that she inhabited before she began conscious of its contours.
women’s writings, letters, diaries are where our herstories can be recorded, where a matrilineal connection can be established, where the panorama of feminine experience can be valued and where legacies of truth, love, politics and dreams can be handed down. these letters can show her what she has taught me, how i hope to make her proud and the value of baby steps for us all along the way. they can show her how sacred it is to be a woman, to be me, to be her, and how powerful simple stories of our lives can be.