A heartfelt letter to my firstborn - I'm sorry

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 20, 2018
in ,

To my dearest firstborn,

You are turning nine end of this year and I realised, to my shock and even a little horror, that it will be your last single digit year before you move on and become a tween. I can never understand why the days are long but the years are so fleetingly short, especially when it comes to a mum watching her kids grow up. Too short, if you were to ask me.

I still vividly remember how I felt when you first arrived in this world. You were my first baby, my precious one, my bundle of joy, my gem, my everything - and you were the one who made me a mum. Daddy and I were so looking forward to your arrival, we were so glad that you were born safe and healthy in a home away from home, and you had the sweetest face, cutest fingers and most beautiful smile I had ever seen. I felt over the moon when I cradled you for the first time, thinking how perfectly you fit in my arms and on my chest.

Now, you have grown so tall that you are at my shoulders, you weigh nearly half of me and I can't quite carry you up for more than a minute. Okay, maybe not even for half of it. The good thing is you still love to cuddle, hug and kiss me and you refuse to go to bed every night without doing so. I enjoy all your affection and I am so afraid that as time passes us by, one day you will just stop wanting to be so close to Mama.

It hasn't been a good day for us today. Or in fact, it has been a really trying period for us, hasn't it? We've both lost our cool, flared up, screamed, shouted, stormed off, fought, argued, and do things that we know we will end up regretting. Tonight, I am feeling like one of the worst mums in the world and I wonder what is it that I've done wrong, how things ended up this way, how I can teach you more effectively, how I can nurture you into the good and kind person I hope you'll be, how I can just be a better mum to you. It's easy for me to just blame it on life, on having to juggle three kids on my own, on today being the stressful start of another solo parenting week with Daddy away. But deep down, I know I only have myself to blame - for not being as patient, as loving, as sensitive, as wise as I wish I could be. 

It's easy how our hearts pour out when we weep, or maybe it's because I'm really just an overly sentimental mum. As I type this, my feelings and emotions are all over the place and even though I can't quite pinpoint if it is a good or bad thing, I think it's important for me to feel all of it. To let in all the hurt, the joy, the sorrow, the disappointment, the regret, the fear, the agony, the elation, the anxiety, and then tell myself to concentrate on the one most important thing - the hope. The hope for a better tomorrow, a better future, a better me.

I just want you to know how sorry I am for many things, even though I might not know how to say it to you in person at all times, I still feel all of it so strongly, my dear.

I'm sorry that..... your siblings took me away from you. Even if they didn't take all of me, the truth if you had to share me the moment you were not the only child. It's especially tough on you when your sister still needs me for many things and your toddler brother is so sticky, clingy and demands for Mama nearly all the time. 

I'm sorry that..... you are always asked to give in. I know it's not fair to you at times and your siblings are be rather unreasonable, loud and fierce. You've always been the one with the softest voice amongst the three and sometimes, they just 'eat' you up and bully you. People are always telling you to give in 'just because you are the oldest' and more often than not, it's unfair to you.

I'm sorry that..... you have to be my best helper and look after your sister and brother, especially when I'm busy with the chores. It's tough that I have such high expectations of you and I'm always asking you to step up to the plate. Even when you try your utmost, I still don't give you enough credit at times, thinking that you are just doing what you ought to do as the big sister.

I'm sorry that..... I don't have much time to go through your school work with you. Maybe that's also why you have grown to be quite independent and responsible when it comes to academics, but I still wish I had more time to teach you, to do crafts with you, to have one-on-one reading time with you, to learn more about science with you because you love the subject so much. Instead, I'm bogged down by the daily chores, by your siblings' needs, by the demands of everyday life that I feel like 24 hours a day is inadequate for me to spend as much time with you as I would like to.

I'm sorry that..... you seldom get to be next to me. Be it in the food court, on the train, in the bus or even as we are walking, your sister and brother always want to be beside me, they push you away at times and you end up walking beside one of them. Yes, that's the thing about having two hands but three kids. Sometimes, my hands are so tied that you end up being the one to push the stroller with all our barang barang, and even though I'm proud of you for doing so because I don't know what I would do without you, a part of me aches because I know how much you want to be with me.

I'm sorry that..... you are not the baby of the family anymore. You are the eldest of the three and people always throw you questions like "Do you take care of Didi and Meimei?", "Do you help your Mama?", "Are you a good big sister?" that even I feel it - that extra burden and sense of responsibility that you bear as an eight-year-old. Sometimes, you come up and ask me for a cuddle just because you want to be close to me, you want me to call you by the nickname I used when you were young instead of calling you "Jiejie", and you even say you just want to be my baby always - and my heart aches again. You are, my dear, you are and will forever be.

I'm sorry that..... we don't have much one-on-one dates. In fact, we've never gone on one. Going for the roller coasters with you, and you only, at USS while your grandparents kept an eye on the younger ones was the closest we got to spending a date together. It's something I tell myself to work harder on because I need to spend more quality time with you, I want to get to know you better, I want to hear your stories without interruption from your siblings, I want to be able to pour my heart out to you and you to me. This mother-daughter bond that we have, I know it's strong and lasting in my heart yet it feels so fragile on the bad days that I tell myself I have to strive harder to be your mum, your friend, your confidant.

I'm sorry that..... you have to be wise beyond your years. Having to help out in the home, having to keep an eye out for your siblings, having to help me out every time I holler, having to manage your own responsibilities, having to multi-task like an adult, having to be sensible and mature, having to behave and be a good role model, having to learn and to lead at the same time, it's no wonder you have been forced to grow up at an accelerated pace ever since you became a big sister. It's hard and it's tough on you, I know, my dear. I know.

I'm sorry that..... I raise my voice or punish you so easily. It's so hard trying to be a good mum and when all of you take turns to act up and drive me up the wall, I lose my temper and become the kind of mum I dread to be. Fierce, overpowering, dominant, and just uncool. There's so much for me to learn in this motherhood journey and every day presents a new lesson for me. Just like how I hope I can be more patient with you, you need to be patient with Mama too, okay? We'll learn and be better together, hand in hand, heart to heart.

For all the things I'm sorry about, having the three of you will never be one of it. Never ever. You are the best things that have ever happened to me in my life, and nothing in the world will change this fact. For all the mean things I've said to you in a moment of anger, please don't ever doubt that you are my pride, my joy and my greatest treasure. For all the wrongs I did, thanks for making me still feel somewhat 'right' because you always say I'm the best Mum in the world. Yup, you are likely the only one who will think so, but it's okay because you are enough.

After all these years, your ambition is still to become a mum and the fact that you never wavered from it (yet) is a strong motivation for me to go on. You have no idea how much strength you give me and how much I want to be better because of you, my dear.

No matter what happens, I hope you'll never forget just how much I love you. And that you'll always be my baby. Always.

With endless love,


  1. I must say this heart-filling letter brought tears to my eyes. You have such beautiful writing. I hope your relationship with your daughter will become better. Xoxo ET

    1. Thanks! We are doing well, I actually think the occasional bickers and fights help us to better understand each other and as long as we can get over them, our bond will be closer than ever. Glad this post resonated with you in some way!


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