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Dear Gy, You are growing up too fast. I know what you’re going to say. That it’s part of life, that there isn’t any other way to go about it and that it’s inevitable. Although I doubt if you know what the word ‘inevitable’ means yet. But I shouldn’t underestimate you.
There’s a beauty in growing up as much as there is a sadness. On the one hand I miss that chubby, cherubic face of yours that I could cup and shower with kisses.
I miss those tiny cheeks that would snuggle against my own as I tried, in vain, to fall asleep after a long day. I yearn for the days when the patter of tiny feet would alert me to the fact that you were awake early in the morning and had followed me into the kitchen, reaching out for your hug and a glass of milk.
And yet, I am proud of who you are growing up to be. Your kindness is one that I can always learn from. I’ve noticed how infinitely kind you are and it doesn’t come easily to everyone.
When I’ve scolded you for something and end up feeling bad, I apologise, usually within the hour. But, you reflect a maturity far beyond your years in this situation. You look up from your book with genuine surprise and ask, ‘Are you still worried about that? I forgot all about it.’
Your emotions are highly volatile, though. I know it’s a part of the adolescent stage and it’s taken me by surprise on many occasions. Do you remember the time you lashed out at me for forgetting to call a friend of yours the night before? I looked up in genuine astonishment but did not react. After standing there, glaring at me for a few minutes you stormed away and slammed the door.
I waited a few minutes and then walked quietly over to your room and went about helping you put your things away. Within minutes, you came and hugged me, apologising for the outburst. I’ve realised that is all that you need sometimes: an outlet for your anger and compassion when it overwhelms you.
A few years ago, I’d have lectured you on the need to respect your elders and controlling your emotions. But I know that’s not helpful. Nor is it ideal. If we bottle up our emotions, we end up exploding when we least expect it.
You are a very unique blend of childhood and a wise old soul. I see it in your eyes; I feel it in your hugs; I sense it in the deep, thought-provoking things that you say, when you say it.
It is my honest wish that you take growing up with a pinch of salt but a lot of readiness. Life is waiting in the wings, to sucker punch you and delight you, both. Don’t let either of it sway you too hard. What I love about you is your sense of balance and the fact that you can be as helpful and eager on one day and moody and churlish the next.
I may not admit it at the moment but I actually love watching you navigate this phase of life. How you handle it today will go a long way towards building your reserves for the future.
People may say (as I do) that you are growing up too fast. While that is true, remember to cherish every moment of this breathtaking space called childhood and tween-age. Before you know it, this will pass and what you’ll be left holding is a heart full of memories and a life full of experiences.
With love always,
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