These days I'm in a 'gratitude binge' on Facebook. It's a tag started by T, who said to list what you're grateful for every single day till thanksgiving.
My first thanks went to my mum. Who remains my guru, teacher, friend and general rock. For her calm amidst my rage, for the lovely songs she sings to me over the phone to pep me up. Yesterday I came across a lovely poem written by a dear friend to her (future) daughter.
Henri has been a late entrant in my life - we studied together in school, but never really knew each other. This Diwali, we met and bonded, and I've discovered a dear friend, someone who Nino and I adore. Henri's mum had Alzheimer's: and her struggle with her illness and eventual demise when Henri was a teenager is a major contributor to the energy Henri finds within herself to work with those that society shuns. It has also given my friend a large appetite for life - and all of life, its ups and downs - and her letter to her as-yet-unborn daughter is testament to this joie de vivre. It reminds me so much of my mum - whose advice is generally a mix of emotional intelligence and large swathes of common sense.
A Poem For My Daughter
My mum was never around to give me advice on life’s problems. I learned things the hard way. I never want to be in a position where my wisdom doesn’t pass on to my children. Life is uncertain, so here is what I’d like to tell my daughter.
Dear Darling Baby Girl,
Pick a wild flower in my name,
Wear white and dance in the rain,
Eat ice cream on a winter night,
Kiss passionately after a fight.
Play word games to sharpen your mind,
Say sorry if you’ve been unkind.
Love deeply, but be your own girl,
Feed the crows and tame a squirrel!
But never have pets, they die and make you sad,
When in doubt, wear jeans, they’re never outta fad.
Marriages are made in heaven, but they break here on earth,
Don’t fight over petty things, value love’s worth.
Always eat breakfast, it keeps depression at bay,
Always keep chocolate just an arm’s length away.
Drive slowly, and enjoy the ride,
Visit beaches often, worship the sea-side.
Never waste water, or food or good wine,
Make your own mistakes, but also learn from mine.
Climb a mountain, swim in a river, row a coracle,
Read fiction, write poetry, language is a miracle.
Don’t just donate money, also volunteer time,
Leave your windows open, make your own wind chimes.
Friends are like crystal, tend to them with care,
Don’t just play to win, and always play fair!
Be the life of the party, but stay home when you like,
Enjoy good food, exercise, and you’ll be fit and fine.
Be proud of growing older, and you’ll remain in your prime,
Eat bananas to beat a hangover, for nausea use lime.
A person who breaks your heart, needs your prayers the most,
Believe in God almighty, but don’t believe in ghosts!
Love your parents, but know they can be wrong,
And never ever believe you’re gonna live long.
Remember life is transient, things never remain the same,
So when you miss me, my baby, pick a wild flower in my name!
Your Loving Mom, Henri
3 hours ago