There are so many things I want her to know. And still, there are so many other things I want her to learn all on her own. There are some things that must be taught, lessons engraved on the very palms of our hands, when truths turn into roots or some times wings. We learn to stay or we learn to flee. And those are the lessons that she has to live in order to learn. And it breaks my heart to know that one day, she will have her heart broken, and it will have nothing to do with Mike or Sully from Monsters Inc.
When I look at her, I think of a mason jar. I would like to unscrew it and allow memories to float inside it. She is so little that believing she is loved is not hard. You are so beautiful. You are so smart. I am so proud of you. You are more than enough. And she believes because she is three and she cannot yet hear the lies the world whispers. I want to give her this mason jar, when she is ten, or twelve, or sixteen, whenever she needs it, so she can open it. So all those memories and feelings can flood into her. I believe in the magic of this jar, that this will somehow keep her from ever being hurt. But no jar or magic can do that, can it?
I’m not her mother; I am her sister. So I think of lessons sisters teach one another. I know one night she will call me crying over a boy and it kills me, kills me, because I already know that boy has no idea how special she is. She is incredible at three; who will she be at eighteen? And I want to tell her now: no boy is worth your tears. No boy. Someday, a man will be worth them. And you’ll know the difference between the two. But you won’t know, the first time your heart breaks, the difference. And I already hate the first boy who will make you cry. Hate. Him.
I wanted to grow up. My whole life, that is what I wanted. Stay little, I want to tell her. Take things as they come, I want to tell her. But she is three, you know. Instead, you line up her toys on a couch and you call them by name and you make up silly voices and you be there, you be her sister so when that day comes, and that some stupid boy breaks her heart, she will know you will be there, that you are her sister, and come hell or high water, you will pick up the phone and get to her.
You will get to her.
For now it is silly faces and stuffed animals and playing dress up. Put it all in the imaginary mason jar. Store it all up, not just for later, but for now.
Because some things matter.
And other things just don’t.
And Nina, while you are at it, perhaps you should consider why your metrics are so different, why you are so hellbent on making sure that she remembers she is smart, she is loved, she is good enough, why you allow people, jobs, tasks, life to make you believe less about yourself.
and fill it with what matters…
and let the rest go.