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To my daughter on her birthday

Dear Nora,

Happy third birthday!

3 years ago, I was in the hospital, ready for a C-section, a very different one that the one I had to have for Eric, just 19 months before. I was calm, and happy, just looking forward to meeting you. You cried all that night, it was a hard first night, and then you became the easiest kid in the world for some months. Those days are also gone, just a distant memory, like the one of the first night.

People that know you agree that you are an old soul. It’s something about the way you look, and learn, and are determined, almost as if rather than learning you were just remembering, like if everything were already there. I just hope that I am doing you justice, as a mum, for a child trying to hold millennials of life in your wee tiny body.

I’ve never felt that you were totally mine, you seem all yours. I feel that maybe I’ve just got the privilege of borrowing you for a while, the same way someone lets you keep something precious of theirs while they’re away. You are a trust that I have been asked to manage while you grow up, the regent queen of a kingdom that it is only yours to build and rule. And that is my biggest honour and responsibility.

I am doing my very best to change the world for you, Nora. For you and for all the other ones like you. All the leaders of tomorrow that will take a role in this endless work. I am trying to smash the patriarchy for you. I feel like one of many workers helping to build a cathedral, knowing that, the same as the workers before them, they won’t see the work finished but still laying brick after brick, knowing that each and every one matters. Probably you won’t see the work finished either, let’s be honest, but you will have awesome views from where you will stand.

I am doing my very best to change the world before the world changes you. I promise that when you look back and tell me off for all the things that I did wrong as a mum (and there are plenty) you will also recognise that I did my best to stop the world from shoving all those stereotypes down your throat, from squeezing you and shaping you to a shape that you would never fit, a shape that is meant to fit nobody. You will thank me for having shown you how to say no, and to celebrate your fierceness over your politeness. I promise you that I will acknowledge and apologise for my mistakes, but it feels so damn good knowing that one of regrets is not going to be shrinking you.

Happy birthday Nora, with your cake, and your pram, and your Ella Fitzgerald book. I am loving seeing you so excited about your day, telling everyone that you are already 3, with your eyes shining. Never stop loving your birthday, a day to celebrate you, to feel loved and pampered. Never stop singing your own funny songs or telling yourself stories. Never stop laughing and acting and showing off all you can do. A constant “I can do that too” no matter what challenge you face, and most of the times you are right, you can do that too.

Happy birthday baby. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life seeing you become who you are, whatever that looks like.

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