She will probably never read it, but today, I apologise to my eldest daughter.
My darling, I am truly, deeply sorry that I expect so much of you. I am sorry that your outstanding qualities are so often overlooked.
I Expected Trouble…I Apologise
I have 2 daughters (Jenny, 5, and Charis, 1). When Charis was born, I expected jealousy from Jenny. I expected anger and sadness. I expected frustrated tantrums. That’s what the books foretold.
But it never came.
We have had Charis almost 2 years now and it still hasn’t come.
Jenny is a doting big sister who finds joy in helping Charis negotiate the world. When Charis has nicked Jenny’s book for the fourth time, she gently rebukes, “No darling. That’s Jenny’s. Can I have it back please?”
In many ways, Jenny astounds me – today a girl knocked her into the corner of the wall, giving her a massive egg on her head and even drawing blood. If it had been me, I would have totally lost my rag! Not Jenny. Sure, she howled with pain, but she paid no attention to the perpetrator.
She is fiesty enough, but in her heart, she’s gentle spirit. She has a deep sensitivity and a natural gift for empathy. She is wise. She is obedient. She is dependably good. When we go out, I never need to worry how she will behave. When we are walking along the street and she is running ahead, I never need to remind her to stay where I can see her or to watch out for the road.
I Expect Perfection…I Apologise
But here is the crux of the problem – this is what I have come to EXPECT of her. I get frustrated when she isn’t the model child because 9 times out of 10, she is. I say things like, “Come on, Jenny. You know how to behave” when, for one rare moment, boredom is getting the better of her or she’s wittering about having a snack.
I’m not as patient with Jenny.
But that’s not really fair, is it? She is still a child, after all. It should be expected that children will act up when they’re bored. It is normal for children to nag when they want something – they haven’t learnt the art of patience yet.
I Expect Independence…I Apologise
When you have multiple children, you rely on the older ones to do what they’re supposed to do so that you can focus on getting the younger ones sorted. Charis still needs me to dress her in the morning, but Jenny has to be responsible for herself. Charis will scream if she isn’t allowed the toy she wants, so Jenny has to pass it to her to keep the peace.
But, at the end of the day, they’re still children. Just because they are well-behaved, doesn’t mean they should get less attention. By all rights, they should have more because they have earned it!
I am ashamed to admit all of this. I feel regret with every key I press. I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish I had more time. I wish I could treat you both equally. It is not a reflection of my love for you; it is just that Charis is more dependent on me at the moment, and I know that I can trust you to get on by yourself.
I Love You xxx
So to my wonderful, caring, insightful, precious Jenny, I have this to say: you are incredible! You are infinitely more patient than me. You are immeasurably kind. You are fiercely loved. Your unique characteristics and soft, loving ways do not go unnoticed. I see you every single day and I am immensely proud of you. You bring light and happiness to those around you. I love you.
Thank you xxx