To my darling girls,
I'm going to start with a cliché, but believe me when I say that it is true. I would die for you both. I really would. I never understood how that felt until the first moment I saw one of you in pain. You were a day old and the doctors were performing their routine 'heel-prick' test which involved extracting four or five drops of blood from your heel. You were hysterical with pain and shock, not understanding why anyone could hurt you so. And in that moment, as I watched your rigid body and your contorted face I felt it. And I still feel it now and every day. I feel it when I watch you sleep at night with your soft, peachy skin and your perfect features, your eyelids flickering with all your excited thoughts. I feel it when you tell me that you love me and when you put your arms around my neck and let me take in your irresistible scent. I feel it when you share your excitement with me and when you are wise beyond your years. I would die for you in a heartbeat my darlings, and this is the truth. But don't let that make you feel under any pressure to please - the love I feel for you will always be there - no matter what you do, or who you are. Because here is another cliché for you - I just want you to be happy. Truly. Of course I want you to be healthy too, and adored by all who meet you, and kind and successful and loving. But most of all I want you to be happy with whatever it is you choose to do.
So here's my advice to you - and I hope it helps somewhat towards your path of happiness.
- Try not to fixate on the future so much that you don't enjoy the present. The journey itself can be so much more rewarding than the destination.
- Always treat people the way in which you would like to be treated. Be kind to everyone you meet. And if they are not kind back, then don't think it is your fault. Maybe they're having a bad day.
- Don't be afraid to follow your dreams, whatever they may be. Only you know what really makes you tick.
- Travel if you can. Go to places that make you open your eyes and realise that there is so much more to life than what is inside your own front door.
- Don't be afraid to trust people - but only if you understand that sometimes the people you trust can let you down.
- Marry for love, but try to remember (and this piece of advice comes from Grandma) that however much love you have, if you have no money, then love sometimes goes out of the window.
- Believe that you are capable of doing anything that you want. Don't be scared of trying. If at first you don't succeed, then try and try again. You can and you will do it.
- Always be yourself - whoever that may be.
- Try not to get excessively angry about things - nothing is that important. And if you realise half-way through an argument that you are wrong, then have the courage to back down.
- Never forget that I will always love you.
- Never bite your fingernails.
- Always put on clean underwear.
- Eat your vegetables.
- Don't shave your legs - wax them.
- Never go to bed on an argument or with an untidy kitchen.
- Always listen to your Mummy and do exactly what she says.
And if at any point you forget this advice, then remember just one thing. I will always be here for you. If your heart is broken and all you want to do is curl up into a ball and sob, then I will be here for you. If someone hurts you, I will be here for you. If you are scared or lonely or panicked, I will be here. Never ever forget that.