My dearest sweetheart,
We probably haven’t met yet (or maybe we have), but I already have you in my mind’s eye. I already know the shape of your eyes; deep-set dark brown almond eyes that light up whenever you smile or laugh. Laugh, that laugh! Pearls of joy dropped down by Mother Earth. Your skin; rich and luxurious; smooth and soft. An endless invitation to touch, hold, and comfort you. That nose. Some people worry about the nose; it’s either too large or too small, and never quite perfect enough. But I have no worries there. As cute as a button your nose will be. And your lips. Slightly upturned, probably your most convincing feature, especially when you pout in indignation, when I tell you “no, you can’t have more candy.” And the rest of you. Every exquisite inch. I seriously cannot wait to meet you my dear one.
There’s a lot you will learn. Yes, you will most definitely go to school, but you will learn even beyond and outside the confines of the classroom. Perhaps the first thing I should tell you is not to rush. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up, which, since you’re reading this, you’re probably already doing. *Sigh*. Ah well. I guess you take right after me and everyone else who’s ever been in your position. I know my telling you to take your time and enjoy every stage of life won’t make you tarry less. But one day, one day, you’ll remember that I told you and then, you’ll slow that panicked run into a leisurely jog and take in the beautiful scenery.
What’s that? Did I write this to you when you were but a wee lil’ one in my tummy? No, my inquisitive one. I’ve barely been passed on from your grandparents’ hands myself. Shouldn’t I wait till you’re actually in the making? My dear, dreams are what life is made of. One way or another, you shall come to me. Even if you don’t emerge from the warm cocoon that is my womb, you will enter my life. I know it for a fact. I myself have had numerous mothers, even though I was borne by only one. Some, including my very own, became more of sisters and friends to me as our relationships flourished. So my darling, you can rest assured that we will meet inshallah. Besides, who said letters of anticipation should be left to those who are in their first, second or even third trimester? And honestly, I wanted to make sure you know. Especially since one tends to get ‘busy’ in this life and either forgets or chooses not to say all these important things.
Your grandparents are such wonderful people, and they taught me so much! Well, granted they both chose to be teachers, it goes without saying, but believe me, they went far and beyond that call to service. And with you, if I could do even half of what they do, then you shall be set for your journey. Details? Eh, how curious you are! Lol, okay, here are the details. Your granny is so beautiful to the core. And she exudes such youth! Her charm, her smile, and her personality are such a delight to behold. But mind you, she will put you in your place if you misbehave. Hmm, you have no idea how many times I…Infact, let’s leave my misdemeanor days in the past shall we? And grandpa! Oh, he’s going to have a whole bunch of stuff to tell you! He’ll probably lead you up those school stairs on your very first day, and he’ll spoil you rotten with books and books on end, and open you up to endless worlds of wonder. As for your aunties and uncles, you will have plenty. And most likely, countless cousins too! Child, you will never want when it comes to family, that I can assure you!
That brings me to another thing. Even though we are your family, family extends beyond just us. Oh, the friends you will have. Yes my baby, there is an immense world out there! I’m sure at this very moment another is talking to her young girl and telling her this same thing. Are we in a plot together? Lol. You sure have the most interesting questions. No, we’re not. Or rather, not consciously. Let me explain. There are many different people in this world. Some might look like you, others might not. Some will think like you, others won’t even listen. But whether or not the similarities are apparent, just know that they are there. Everyone is connected. For this reason, if not for any other, I implore you sweetie, learn the ‘golden rule’ and live by it. Your grandma taught it to me well, and it has yet to let me down. Do unto others what you would have others do to you, and Allah will surely bless you a thousand fold.
I almost wish I didn’t have to include this part, and maybe you can ignore it in your time. Unfortunately, not everyone out there will have your best interests at heart. Some people will try to take advantage of you, and others might actually have the impudence to do it. When the hard times roll in, my dear one, turn to me. Turn to your family, and above all, turn to Allah. He is your sole protector at the end of the day. Should you stay locked up in your room? Ah-ah, and miss the great classroom that is life? No child, you will not stay locked up. Each…misstep (I hesitate to say failure since it sounds so final)…will either redirect your path, or give you the opportunity to look inward and make some necessary adjustments. And you will come out stronger. I can already tell that you will be very intelligent, and guess what; the best students get the hardest tests, so prepare for it all, my little one. And you will succeed. No two ways about it. How do I know? Well, my munchkin, because Allah has told us that he will never give us more than we can handle. So there, you will be fine.
Hmm, my dearest. It’s getting late, and I have work tomorrow. But before I go, here’s something else. Make sure you’re responsible in everything you do. When you make a commitment, follow through and give it your best. But when you find that where you are is not where you want to be, know that it is okay to make a change. Change can be scary, but it can also be good. And inshallah, there will always be someone nearby to guide you. Always try to keep an open mind, follow your passion, and above all, try to have fun! Umm…that last bit is not an outright call for rebellion ok? But seriously, have fun. And like I said in the beginning, receive all the good things in a grateful manner, and meet the tough times with the fortitude that Allah himself will provide.
So, my darling. I think this is an appropriate first letter to you. There just might be a couple more. It’s sad to think the art of letter-writing might die off before your time, but at least, you have your very own for keepsake! Anyway, before I mail this out to the great outdoors, let me just reiterate, no I’m not pregnant, and no, I’m not going off the edge. This is just a missive to my little girl to let her know she is loved and…y’all know the routine here…blessed.
Forever and Unconditionally Yours,
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.