I spend a lot of time staring at my daughter. Her beautiful big blue probably brown eyes, her little button nose, her full head of hair, the reflections of her Father and the familiar aspects of me. At this stage of her life she is as innocent and pure a being as anyone will ever be.
It makes me consider the things I want for her, I’m flawed, so very flawed! I have a temper, I’m impatient, although since giving birth I’ve had a renewed unending patience for her that I never thought I’d be capable of before her! She makes me want to be a better person and like every parent I want the very best for her. But I do have a top three, a list of priorities I wish to bestow on her!
1) Yesterday, on holiday with family on the South coast, as it was a delightful day, we went on the beach. My swimming costume needs washing and I only otherwise have my bikini. Now, as you all know, I had a baby five weeks ago, the model agencies are not exactly banging my door down at the moment! I’m back down to my pre pregnancy clothes size but with plenty more lumps and bumps! Not to mention my still slightly angry looking tiger stripes over my stomach.
‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘I don’t need to have a swim, I’m happy just sat here.’
However, that was a big fat lie! I LOVE the sea, I’m a Brighton girl born and bred and I was about to miss out because of a few wobbly bits. Now, our baby girl is beautiful, and I want her to always been 100% confident in that beauty. And how could I look her in the eye if I didn’t practise what I plan to preach! Lead by example, it’s the only way forward! So I put my bikini on and held my head up high. If anyone else had a problem with my body, that remained their problem, I was having fun on the beach with my family! So the first thing I want for her is the confidence to never let anyone or anything make her doubt her beauty inside or out. Forget newspapers and magazines trying to dictate to us what ‘beautiful,’ is, I want my baby girl to define and set her own beauty confidence.
2) The second thing I want most for Scarlett is an unending enthusiasm and passion for whatever it is that sparks a fire inside her. In the last year I have lived my life in a way that’s more true to who I am than I have in years. And so many wonderful things have happened as a result; I can add professional writer to my life CV, I’ve been on stage twice despite being absent from it for years, I’ve written scripts that have been used on a Summer school course, I’m married and I have the most beautiful girl in the world. A lot of this is down to my husband who made me believe in myself and have the confidence to be who I am without exception. And without sounding arrogant, I’m proud to have been able to repay him the favour. He now walks round with his own awesome style and a fantastic moustache that he previously didn’t feel he could really do. He takes immense joy, as do I, in creative hobbies and board games, something that has really nurtured and set free his creativity but again something he’d stopped doing so much. His career has flourished over the last 12 months and this April, he watched his first play being performed on stage; a play that this time last year I told him he should write, because I believed in him when he was unsure and I gave him a little push to go for it, and it was a huge success! We bring out the best in each other and have enabled one another to freely be the people we truly are, and allowed each other to release the enthusiasm and the passion for things and it’s paid off enormously for both of us. Passion and enthusiasm are both things that often get quashed down in life by circumstances or other people even if not purposefully.
When I was at school, I used to turn down night out invitations to watch (and mark!) the Eurovision Song Contest with my family, a tradition that has always been of huge enjoyment to me. So much so that in 2006, my Dad, baby brother and I travelled to Athens to watch it live! (The year that Hard Rock Hallelujah won – it was a brilliant year to have watched!) My point is, I was unashamedly myself but somewhere in my twenties stopped believing in it quite so much and cut down on my hobbies. No-ones fault but my own. I tried to be ‘cooler,’ tried to be a bit more ‘normal.’ And although I had a brilliant time in my twenties, and cannot take any credit away from the things I did and thoroughly enjoyed, it was a toned down version of who I really am. And my husband was the same, he did a lot of great stuff in his twenties and would never take away from the people he spent it with but he was a toned down version of himself.
A lot of it is also down to our age, many people tone themselves down in their twenties trying to fit in in that awkward stage between childhood and established adulthood. But I don’t want Scarlett to feel she has to tone herself down for anything or anyone; I want to give her the confidence to never try to fit in, ‘normal’ is another word for ‘average,’ and there’s no reason anyone has to be average. Every single person has the capability to be extraordinary. And our daughter is going to be truly extraordinary!
3) The third and final thing I want for her, is to know how in love with each other her parents are. How much we respect and adore one another and her. I think it’s so desperately important, it’ll be her first example of a relationship, it’ll be the first thing she can use as a template for forming her own relationships in the future. Ours will never necessarily be a huge fancy home but we aim to fill it with happy times, and an openness and honesty that hopefully gives her a positive outlook and confidence to live her life in a similarly open, honest and loving way. My husband and I are lucky to both be very close to our families and it is down to them that we’ve turned out the way we have (so on the other hand, they also only have themselves to blame!), we want her to also be aware of the mistakes we inevitably make so she can learn from us. Whatever happens in life; illness, misfortune, sad times, it’s so important to us for her to know that whatever is going on; her parents love one another and her. Family can get through unimaginable hard times with open hearts and honesty. It sounds incredibly twee and I promise I’m not about to burst into song but I really believe that that is an important foundation.
So those are my top three! I know it may sound ridiculous that I’m not listing more practical things as the important things I want for my daughter, many people will disagree with me (and I’m sure many will think I have a much too idealistic view on life!), but these three things are the three most important things I wish to give my baby girl.
I have no idea what her future holds; excitingly and frighteningly, that’s all in her hands. But as I stare down at her beautiful face, not even totally sure what colour her eyes are going to be yet, I hope I can give her these three things, three things that I see as core values. Core values that brought my husband and I together in the first place, which in turn lead to her being created in the first place!
Everyone wants the best for their children, but everyone’s idea of, ‘the best,’ is different. I’ve said many times and I still believe that every parent does the best they can do. And it’s so important that we do. The world is a pretty terrifying place comrades and we are creating the next generation; in fact the course of the future may well be shaped by our beautiful boys and girls. So if we’re bringing up the new generation dear friends, let’s make it a bloody good one!