A letter to my firstborn, Alwande

Today my heart is so full of love and gratitude. My mind feels enlightened and my love feels strengthened. Today you turn 12 and I am so thankful for you.

You are growing into an amazing young woman. You are that girl that I always wished I could be. You are beautiful, confident, and smart. You shine in everything you do. Please know how incredibly proud I am of you. I know I have been hard on you at times. I set high expectations that you sometimes may feel are impossible to reach. Let me reassure you that you have never ever disappointed me. I set those expectations because I want you to achieve everything you have ever wanted. I never want you to feel undeserving of anything because you deserve the absolute best that life has to offer.

I want you to keep that confidence you have now. I know the birth of your little sister has made you feel a bit insecure at times but I want you to know that nothing has changed, I love you more every day. You broke my barrier into motherhood. As young as I was, you were the light I never knew I needed. You were my first introduction to the true meaning of selfless. You unknowingly encouraged me to fight harder. Your life has given me breath in so many ways.

I’ll probably still get upset and frustrated with you. I’ll probably still lecture you simply because I am your mom and that’s what we do. I’ve learned from you to not sweat the small things. I love how you don’t take yourself too seriously, you laugh at yourself. You choose to see the good in people and stand up for others.

I promise to expose you to the power you innately possess. I promise to endlessly encourage you to seek knowledge and empower your mind. I vow to remind you always that true beauty is measured from within. I promise to share with you all of the lessons I have learned but also allow you to make your own mistakes. I vow to be the place you can come to feel uplifted and protected. I promise to be there for you always.

Thank you for always loving me so unconditionally, even when I am not in the best of moods. Thank you for those unexpected kisses, hugs, hand-written letters, and your reassurance. You are the most thoughtful and considerate person I know. Thank you for exceeding every expectation I’ve ever had of having a child. Thank you for just being you.

Khula mntanami. Mommy loves you

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