I have been feeling a little anxious lately, as you would know, because you, my dear girl, have been feeling a little anxious too. The time has come for you to be away from me for just a little bit, and you know what, it hasn’t been easy for either of us.
We have spent almost every waking moment of your life together since you were born. Singing, dancing, cuddling, learning, hugging, laughing, chatting, crying, bickering even! There were, no doubt, times when I was so overwhelmed by the challenges in being Mama to you, that I wished for split seconds of solitude. But you know what, I love us together in spite of those moments. We make such precious memories, ones that you and I share, ones that only I will remember.
I will never forget the first time you recited your favourite bedtime story; I was moved beyond words to see you sitting with your legs stretched out, as you flipped through the pages of the book on your lap…to listen to you take on the words with the same rhythm and animated voice that I have adopted every night since I started reading the story to you over the past year.
I will never forget the first time you belted out Edelweiss, with so much gusto if I might add, whilst we were sitting by the beach at Changi; I couldn’t believe that you knew every word to one of my favourite songs. You continued (you still do!) to surprise us by singing just about all the songs that your music aficionados of parents have crooned, be it a nursery rhyme, hymn, a tune from a musical, an advertisement jingle, a Disney favourite or a Mandarin song. And oh, how you love to dance to any sort of tempo that comes on; the awkward bobbing of your head, shaking of your diaper-clad bum and bending of your fleshy knees keep me so very tickled and make me so very proud.
I will never forget the times when you bury your head in the crook of my neck and gently ask for a hug, and the times when you sprint into my arms before leaning in for a kiss. How about the times when you would ask me to nurse, sayang, kiss, hold and hug Bear, Pig and Kitty? And the times when you would come running to us whenever we exclaimed ‘Ouch!’, with a grave look of concern on your face and your hand, ever so ready to stroke us where it hurt? How…how can I possibly forget the incredibly loving, sweet girl that you have become?
As we see you hanker after what the world has to offer, we know that you are not quite a baby anymore, and the time has come for you to spend some time away from me, to make memories of your own and to take flight. You might think that I am being melodramatic here, but my first memories of being away from Ah Ma and Ah Gong were made in school. One day, you are going to adore your teacher so very much, just as I did. One day, you are going to want to spend more time with your friends than with Mama, just as I did. One day, you are going to fall in love and (heaven forbid) have your heart broken, just as I did. But know this, my darling, that I will always be waiting in the wings as you play different roles on the stage of Life. I will always be here to mend your costumes, to hand you sips of water, to laugh and cry with you, to listen as you tell your stories, and to applaud you. Yes, I am sad that you are growing up much too quickly, that you are already making memories that I will never be part of, and I am far from ready to let you go and take more than a few tumbles in life, but the world is your oyster and I know that parenting is not and should never be about me. It is all about you and helping you take flight.
Go forth and create a life worth living for. Fly.