Letter to my future child

Dear Baby,

A few days ago, I felt you kick for the first time. It was a gentle sensation, as though, rather than kicking, you were simply pushing at side of my womb, maybe brushing against it as you shifted to a more comfortable position – but it was unmistakably you. Since then, the few other times I’ve felt you have been around the same time in the evening, when I’m lying on the sofa with my laptop on my belly, and it occurs to me that – for now, anyway – you are a night owl, like me.

My opinion on this is likely to change once you’re born, but for now I’m pretty smug about it. That your first trait, as such, should mean that you take after me rather than your dad pleases me more than is probably reasonable, even though it’s a guess and I might be wrong. It’s not that I don’t want you to take after him, too – I certainly hope you inherit his nose rather than mine – but it is an indicator that we share something that is not just physical. Perhaps we’ll share other traits, too.

My logic here is far from sound, of course. And no, I don’t want a little clone of myself for a daughter – I want you to be different, better, more evolved than I am. Happier. But I want to be able to understand you, and I fear that if we don’t share at least some traits or passions, we won’t understand each other, and I won’t be able to help you grow as well as I otherwise would.

Which is why there are so many things I’m looking forward to showing you. I’m a total nerd, in that I’m unironically enthusiastic about many, many things – and I hope to share that enthusiasm with you. It’s the one trait I have that I hope you inherit above all others, which is why I can’t wait –

– to serenade you to sleep on my guitar, to let you pull at the strings, and later, have you sing along with me, maybe even play if you want to learn. I can’t wait to show you the piano too, and the tin whistle, to let you experiment with different sounds.

– to read to you those stories my own mum read to me, and thoughtfully kept for you and your future siblings and cousins. I wonder if you’ll ask which naughty child drew those awkward felt tip pictures on the inside cover pages, and how you’ll react when I tell you it was me?

– later, to read you Harry Potter like I read it to your aunt, and I hope that it and all the others will inspire you to love books as much as we do. When you’re older, I’ll put other books in your hands, and you’ll discover Robin Hobb, Joanne Harris, Brandon Sanderson – or perhaps you’ll prefer sci-fi, in which case you’ll have to ask your grandma.

– to draw with you, to watch you learn to colour in better than me because I’m terrible at it, to take you to your grandma’s so she can teach you about art.

– to take you to festivals, concerts, to disguise you along with us at ren faires, those places where imagination is no longer a realm limited to children.

– to answer some of your questions with “I don’t know, actually, shall we look it up and see what we can find?” To study nature while we’re out on walks, to find out what that star’s called and which constellation it’s in, to marvel in the impossible complexity of life itself.

But what if you don’t like any of those things?

I think I’ll be truly sad if you don’t love music. But if you simply love listening to it, rather than playing, that’s ok, too. If you only read without ever writing a word, I won’t mind as long as it wasn’t because you were afraid to put pen to paper. If you prefer sport to art – well, your granddad would be thrilled about that, and you’d be in better form than I’ve ever been. And if you love films as much as your dad, I guess I’ll just have to play referee to your dinner table debates, won’t I?

I don’t mind if you don’t like the same things as I do. It’d be great if you did, but you won’t disappoint me by being different. Besides, maybe you’ll become passionate about something I’ve never heard of, and I’ll get into it too. Maybe I won’t, but as long as you’re passionate about something, and that thing gives you a dream, then that’s enough for me.

I can’t wait to get to know you.

Love, Mum. xx

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