Friday, 21 May 2010

Now you are two

My darlings, my angels,

for now there are two baby girls that I get to tuck in every night. My darling Doodlebug, you are such a wonderful big sister to little Annabel, who doesn't yet have a nickname. Precious Bella, who already gives her big sister Cecily her best smiles. I hope that you will be the best of friends. I have no idea how we will raise sisters, since neither daddy nor I have one, but I'm sure that we'll figure it out. Of course there's a good chance we'll get some of it wrong, so do bear with us. What you have to bear in mind, and I don't imagine that this is something that you will understand until long after you have left home (we are in for a long wait for appreciation!) is that we will be learning with you. Every new step you take is a new step for us too. Anything we do, or don't do, is motivated by our love for your both and our wish to help you become intelligent well-adjusted girls with a strong sense of self-worth and the belief that they can do anything they set their minds to. Philip Larkin wrote disparagingly of the relationship between children and their parents, and every teenager I have known has felt that their parents are frustrating, lacking any understanding of what it is like to be a teenager. But we were all teenagers once. And it was a cake-walk compared to being a parent. As a teenager, you are responsible only for yourself; as a parent, you are responsible for yourself and for your children. You are responsible for the teenagers they become. And, having been a teenager yourself, you know only too well how tricky it is to get the right balance. I confess that already, when I see teenagers out and about, shrieking and unaware of their surroundings, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I tell you both sternly that this is not acceptable behaviour and that, if you act like that, I will send you to a convent. Then I remember that I was much like that at the same age, and I sigh in acceptance. You will be who you will be, as little girls, teenagers and women. The Philip Larkin poem, once on my wall when at school, is now a memory I recall only when it comes up on a quiz show. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, for which I am very grateful. And when I remind myself of that I sigh again, with relief. If we can get the right balance as parents, if we raise you well, we will have that relationship in the future.

For now, we can just enjoy the present, knowing that you will have forgotten tomorrow morning that we didn't let you go to bed in your dog costume in 25 degree heat. We can forget the weight of the responsibility we have as parents, that we will have in future. We will take each day, and each decision, as it comes. Because we've never done this before. But at least you will have each other to complain too ;-)

I love you both so much, my angels,

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