Sunday November 13, 2016
By: Amany Zayed
My dear daughter,
Today as we celebrate your 10th birthday, an occasion even more special than the previous ones, I wrote you this letter to share some thoughts and feelings I couldn’t tell or show you before. Today marks the end of a phase in your life and the beginning of a new one. As tomorrow comes, you will be walking away from your childhood and taking your first steps towards adolescence. I have to admit how challenging it is to summarize ten years in few lines, so the best way to start is from the very beginning of me and you…
When my doctor announced that I was pregnant with a girl, I was overwhelmed with excitement. In fact, I fell in love with you that exact moment. I couldn’t wait to see you and hold you in my arms. As every expecting mother of a baby girl, I set a mission to prepare your nursery while paying attention to all the girly details. I went on shopping sprees to buy your clothes, toys, earrings and prepare for the baby shower. After a long wait, you came to life and even more perfect and beautiful than I could have imagined. From the first moment I laid my eyes on you, you captured my heart forever. Your first tooth, your first step, your first words, your first … everything, are eternal moments forever engraved in my memory.
I can’t believe how time flew and how in a few years my princess went from being baby, to a toddler, to a little girl. In spite of the happiness and pride I felt, I worried about you every day. People say that it is normal for mothers to worry about their kids, but I am not just a mother. I am an Egyptian woman who was born and raised in this country and lived through the challenges that women encounter in this society. I have been on this journey before and in all honesty, I don’t want you to follow the same path even though you have no choice.
Don’t be deceived by the pampering a girl receives in her family home because whatwomen face in the real world is different. Egyptian women juggle many responsibilities; the load they endure is heavy and the roles they play are endless. A working mother still has to be a good housewife, a driver for her kids, a teacher and a baby sitter while doing whatever it takes to fulfill the needs of her house and children. Most of the time, she’s doing it alone. That’s another story I will share with you later on. Raising you to become the best version of who you are in spite of the circumstances around us was a challenging mission.
To prepare myself for you and to prepare you for the journey ahead, I read books about positive parenting, kids’ psychology and referrals about other parents’ experiences. I learned that a person’s personality is formed by the age of 7 years old. That led me to realize how big of a responsibility I was carrying. I realized the limited time there was to prepare you for the world ahead and hopefully raise you to become a better person than myself.
I have to confess that your toddler tantrums were often unbearable and your mood swings weren’t easy to handle. It wasn’t easy to teach you how to be disciplined and obedient. Raising you was also a learning experience for me. I learned along the way that I have to lead by example. In other words, you reformed me during this journey too. For your sake, I watched my words and manners. I learned to control my anger and be strong during the toughest times, even if I had to pretend.
I am proud of you! I am proud I raised a hardworking and responsible girl who knows how to have fun in her free time. A girl who is sociable, yet chooses her best friends selectively. A girl who learned that playing the piano is a good remedy to vent her frustration. A girl who negotiates an argument with reasoning and logic. I am proud of my princess.
It’s poignant to watch you grow because I am going to miss my baby, but I’m happy none-the-less to watch you blossoming into a beautiful young lady. I will be here beside you every step of the way, not only as your mum but as your friend, too. Even though you may not know it, you are my best friend.
Happy Birthday Princess,
Your loving mummy
Edited by: Maryam Meshal