Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those schmoozy letters, where I tell you how beautiful you all are – apparently that would damage you for life, as it would eat away at your self esteem (and anyway, you already know you are). No, this is just me wanting to tell you what I really love about you. Because let’s be honest, we have to deal with a lot of crap on a daily basis – some yours, some mine and I really don’t want the good times to get buried. So here is a celebration of what I love.
I love it when I can lean on you – not emotionally – you have enough of your own stuff to deal with – I mean physically lean on you. Drape my arm casually around you and lean in close. It’s more subtle than a hug and I love it when you don’t pull away and even more when you rest your head on my shoulder.
I love it when you say, ‘oh mum’ in a tone of pity drenched in love, when I don’t understand something in your world. Or when you say: I haven’t given you a hug in ages and you wrap your arms around me tight. Or when one who doesn’t often hug me, does.
I love it when you help each other with your homework, because I can’t and when you bake together. In fact, I love it when you do anything together that doesn’t involve a fight. Walking into your bedrooms and seeing you lying together on the bed, laughing unselfconsciously as sisters do, makes me smile.
I love it when we walk the dogs. It isn’t often that you can, because you’re in bed, in school, at work. But this makes when you can, a real joy. We talk with uncluttered abandon. We put the world to rights. We discover things about each other we didn’t know.
I love it when another package arrives from far flung China. You are usually at school and as I place it on your bed in your full view when you walk in, I can feel your excitement. I text you to tell you it’s arrived, because you’ve been asking when it will for days and I want to be a part of your pleasure. I love that you have worked hard to pay for it yourself and that you are really good at your work and people appreciate you. This is your well-earned reward.
I love it when, during a busy day I can text you and ask if you want to cook. I admire your confidence in creating meals for a big family and your willingness to do it. I value your independence, so I am not constantly at your beck and call. You respect, sometimes, that I too have a life and you appreciate it when I sacrifice a part of it for you.
I love it when I am going out and I can ask you, with all the uncertainty of middle age, if I look ok and you reply with all the certainty of someone who knows that I have made an effort to dress up, that I do. I listen to your arguments between each other over clothes with a mixture of irritation and fondness. I find it endearing the way you share and annoying, but understandable, the way you fight.
You are 4 individuals who are changing and growing. I admire your strength and your resilience to the world that you find yourselves in. It’s your world for the taking. Just know that you are loved.