I've realised that there are a million things I wish to tell my kids but sometimes, it can be hard to articulate or make them understand what I'm trying to say. Yet, if I don't pen it down, after a few days, it totally slips my mind and I forget what were the things that I wanted to say. So, I've decided to start a series on the blog which will be a compilation of heartfelt letters from me to my kids. I'm not sure if they will be able to read them when they grow up and it doesn't really matter if they don't. It will be a way for me to remember what I wish to tell my kids and a means to express just how much I love them.
So, here's the first one.
You've been such a wonderful big sister ever since your little baby brother arrived. Seeing how you always plant kisses on his cheek, how you hold onto his hand when I fetch you from school, how you sing lullabies every time he cries, how you never fail to hug him every day, there is no question about it. You love him so, so much.
That said, I know it's been a little tough on you too as you realise that you are no longer the littlest in the house. I still remember how tiny you were just three years ago too and seeing how much bigger you are than didi now just reminds me of how much you've grown and how fast time has flown.
I see you struggling to find your place in the house, I hear your whines and how you insist on sleeping with me and didi, I sense your insecurity no matter how much you try to conceal it. Tantrums, they're pretty hard to control and tame, right? On so many days, you blew your top over things that seemed trivial. Trivial to me, but significant to you, I know. Like the other day, I asked you to bring my baby sling to me but you forgot about it and went to eat fruits, dance and wash up. So I took it myself as we were running late to pick your jiejie from school. You were so upset by it and kept screaming the words "I want to help you take!" from the moment we stepped out of the door to the time we reached jiejie's primary school. You wailed, you shouted, you hollered, you wept. Every passer-by could see your grief stricken face and everyone in the neighbourhood could hear your shrieks. I didn't know what to do but to move on. I was carrying your baby brother in my arms and running late in fetching your big sister, yet I was afraid that you would not stay close to me and suddenly dash into the road. I didn't care about what others perceived and even if I looked as calm as a cucumber on the outside, I was crying on the inside.
Finally, you stopped and the whole episode seemed to be over. We reached jiejie's school, picked her up and made our way slowly and quietly back home. I thought the worst was over. However, just a few seconds after we started walking, you said to me "You never tell jiejie I cried". That wasn't the first thing on my mind because you have to understand that we were walking through a crowd and there were people scurrying, scooting and cycling all around us. All I wanted to do was to keep the three of you safe and get away from the crowd first. I replied and told you "You can tell her if you want, my dear" and apparently that wasn't what you wanted, so the second episode began. You broke down into tears and started screaming with all your lungs. Many people were alarmed by your cries and they probably thought I was torturing or abusing my child. You wouldn't stop no matter what I said, so it continued all the way till we got home. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that jiejie and I could do to make you feel better at that point in time. Everything we said or did only escalated your cries. I get sad when you are sad, you know that?
We've had so many of such episodes recently, haven't we? Sometimes, I think you don't even remember why you were crying in the first place. I know, because I've been there too and I recall that feeling of not being able to control my tears. Daddy always gets angry when you don't stop crying, but for me, I will let you cry till you can finally stop. It's not that I don't love you my dear, I do, so very much. But I'm not the type of mum who will fuss over you every time you whine, appease your demands every time you cry or apologise to you every time you act up. I will talk to you and explain to you on why things sometimes happen the way they do, and if you don't accept it, I let you cry it out. After that, we give each other a tight hug, I let you sit on my lap and we talk about why you were feeling so sad and affected. Again, I will try my best to tell you gently on what happened and how we all need to try to control our tempers. That's all I can do for you now, darling girl. It's a tough learning journey, I know that.
Yesterday morning, you woke up, started whining and refused to go to school. I was surprised because you have always liked going to school and playing with your friends. No amount of reasoning worked and so, I did let you skip school and we went for breakfast together. I take the occasional regress as your way of wanting more attention from me and yes, Mummy feels very guilty about not spending as much time with you as I used to before didi came along. Still, you need to know that this can't always be the case and you can't just skip school whenever you don't feel like going, okay?
Mummy wants you to know just how special you are and how special you'll always be. The way your infectious laughter makes all of us laugh, the way you dance your heart out and perform for everyone, the way you insist on lying beside didi to drink your milk, the way you try to read your 'Animals' books and can name all the animals, the way you sing and make up your own lyrics, the way you leave your last biscuit for jiejie, the way you bend over didi and kiss him on the forehead, the way you automatically switch off the TV after watching two cartoons, the way you always put on your shoes wrongly, the way you try to find the tag, turn it behind and wear your own shirt, the way you love to eat half-boiled eggs, the way you pick out even the tiniest vegetable in your rice, the way you like to play hide and seek, how you hide behind walls and laugh so heartily when I jump and say "boo", the way you help to carry the lightest bag of groceries, the way you insist on buckling your seat belt, the way you jump and dive into the pool with no fear, the way you hum along to songs you hear on the radio; these are the things that are uniquely you, my dear Ariel.
It doesn't matter how many kids we have or that you are not the youngest one anymore. My love for you has never wavered and it will only grow deeper as years go by. So don't worry about losing Mummy, because I am here to stay. Yes, you will have to share Mummy because we have more than one baby in the house, but don't ever for one moment doubt my love for you. Because you are you, you are my child and you will always have that special place reserved just for you in my heart. I love you so much every day.
P.S. It's so hard for me to write any heartfelt post without tearing up, but I think these tears are healthy tears. Hopefully, they make me reflect and be a better mum too.