A Letter to Firstborn on Her 10th Birthday

Dear Anu,

Wishing you a Very Very Happy Birthday!



You’re rounding the curve to ten. In your own words, your first double-digit birthday. Big girl!!

Time just flies. I wish I could hold on to it tightly and allow your wings to spread a little slowly before you fly off my nest. Selfish I am.

As I keep telling you, you’re my first child. The one that made me a mother. The one that has taught me how it feels to be in love with someone irrespective of what they feel for you. You’re that ray of hope that I found when I was at the lowest in life. You’re the one that made me feel alive again. You’re the answer to all those silent tears. You were the only light that made me want to come out of that dark shell I had cocooned myself into. You are the one that has made me the stronger self that I am now.

I see a lot of that old me in you. I want to protect you from all those haunting experiences that still disturb me. As a mother, you’re my most cherished possession. There, I made that mistake again. I DON’T POSSESS YOU. I should always remember that. I am only here to guide you. I have no right to control your destiny and I know I can never do that. Even then, my fears as a mother make me want to protect you from all evil in this world. But this is your life. You have every right to make your own mistakes and learn your lessons.

I know I have unintentionally been tough on you. I know I haven’t been a good parent on many occasions. Extremely sorry my child! I know no amount of apology can erase those little wounds I have given you. You know what, I feel guilty and ashamed most of the time, and very alone. I feel helpless about having hurt you. It’s the worst feeling.

Every day I feel more and more aware of your girlhood and impending adolescence. I want you to understand so many things. Time seems so less and not everything is within the limits of your comprehension. I know I can’t make you understand everything in one shot. The best I can do is to keep repeating them and lead by example. Sometimes I wish you were like Small Wonder and you could read everything from the book of life in a matter of seconds. But I’m glad you’re not because I love your smile.

On this 10th birthday of yours, here are some life lessons I want to share with you.

  1. Don’t try to please anyone – You can’t make everyone happy. And you can’t make someone happy if you aren’t happy. In short, try to be happy and cheerful always. Everybody else will be taken care of.
  1. Do not be afraid – Don’t ever be afraid to share your innermost fears, your insecurities, your mistakes, your likes, your dislikes. Speak up for yourself and for others. Something your Mom is slowly but surely learning to do.
  1. Be kind, not rude. – Everyone has a personality. And no two people are the same. Your right may not be right for someone else. Their right may be wrong for you. Learn to accept people for who they are and how they are. Be polite, humble and kind. Being rude has never helped anyone. We can agree to disagree with someone without being rude. Be humble.
  1. Don’t feel ashamed to apologize – Say ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank You’. These are powerful. Very powerful. Sometimes they can help you mend broken relationships. They can help you be friends again.
  1. Don’t keep grudges. Move on. – However careful you are, there will always be a situation that you’ll get hurt. Your best friend, the love of your life, your parents, your siblings, they’ll all hurt you at some point or the other. People will let you down. Intentionally or unintentionally. Get back up on your feet, forgive them, let go and move on. Life is too short to keep grudges. All this will not matter in the long scheme of things that life is all about. Same applies to you too. If you happen to hurt someone, don’t shy away from apologizing. Your ego isn’t bigger than their pain.
  1. It is not always about you – The one thing that your Dad kept repeating to me when I needed it most is, ‘It is not about you. It is not your mistake. It is their mistake that they aren’t able to see the goodness in you. ’ This is true. It is not necessary that everything people say or think about you is because of you. Don’t blame yourself. I made that mistake. Get over it and move on. Everyone is fighting their own battle. So forgive and forget. If you ever want to speak, I’ll always be there. My soul is within you.
  1. Respect yourself – Don’t do anything wrong. Don’t humiliate or insult anyone. Respect every individual and their views, however conflicting. But most of all, respect yourself. If you do not respect yourself, if you do not appreciate yourself, how do you expect others to? You cannot allow people to treat you poorly and if they do, you need to respect yourself enough to walk away. You must love and respect yourself before anyone else can.
  1. Life is Precious – This life is a gift. A precious one. Respect it. Treasure it. Share the beauty. Share your experiences. Share your laughter. Every person you meet leaves a footprint in your life in some way or the other. Be thankful. Be grateful for this life.
  1. You are YOU. – You’re beautiful. You’re strong and powerful. You’re better than me. You’re you. You’re precious. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. There is no comparison. You’re unique.
  1. I love you. I always will. – I will continue to discipline you. I will continue to lecture you. I will continue to point out your mistakes to you. I will continue to ask you to do your best. Because I am here for a purpose. I am here to support you. I am here to provide for you. I am here to take care of you. But all this does not and will not reduce an ounce of my love for you. I promise. I’ll always be there when you need me. I will always have my arms open and wide enough to let you curl into a ball within them.

I love you and I wish you enough.

Ummas and big tight hugs,


37 Replies to “A Letter to Firstborn on Her 10th Birthday”

  1. You’ve echoed my heart’s deepest wishes for my own daughter. She turns ten too later this year. We do tend to beat ourselves up a lot as parents, Rekha. I think this letter alone is enough to affirm that you’re a good parent. I’m sure your little girl will cherish these words and re read them all over and over again. Many happy returns of the day to her and happy mother’s day to you 🙂

    1. Thank you, Shailaja! She turns ten tomorrow and I turn ten as a mother. I wish she reads it and I wish she understands me. For now, all I wish is a healthy, happy and long life to my Big Girl! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful letter! I felt the same way with my daughter. I wanted to hold on to her but realized I had to give her wings and let her go. As I watch her at 23 I am so proud and thankful that all the mistakes I may have made, she came out better than fine!

  3. I read this letter twice. First as a parent and then as a daughter. On both occasions, I was touched by the frankness, the honesty and the beauty of the words of wisdom this letter carries.
    I’m sure your daughter will love you for loving her so much to let her bloom into the person she wants to be. I guess that’s one of the most precious gifts we can ever give our children.
    A very Happy Birthday to Anu and congratulations to you on reaching this precious milestone as a parent 🙂

  4. Well, let me wish the angel a very Happy Birthday.
    This letter was very inspiring, that was my first thought when I was reading it.
    But when I read it again, I understood its importance more as a message and a lesson, if understood and remembered accordingly. While this is addressed to Anu, this is important as it carries a universal message for all daughters out there. Mothers should share this and do not brush this away as a birthday post.

  5. Many more happy returns of the day to your first born, Rekha.
    And some of lessons are applicable not just to her – but some of us adults too 🙂
    I hope she gets to read it all some day and realise what an awesome mother you are. Well, I suspect she already knows that 😀

  6. So touching and emotional! You are right, girls are a bliss and you are lucky to have one. God bless her on her 10th birthday! The problem is, they grow up too soon and leave us gasping for air and wondering where those wonderful years went! My daughter is six years old and grows up twice faster than I did. In my childhood the years had this irritating tendency to dawdle. And, now it has sort of made up its mind to fly! Just live each second you can with her. These are going to be the most wonderful times of the life of both… you and your doll.
    And, loved those tips! It’s not only fit for a child, even grown ups would do well to heed them! An awesome post, if I may say!

  7. Awwww…what a beautiful post! Anukuttaaa u surely will treasure this post as u treasure each moment of ur beautiful life. Happy birthday to mamma’s big girl and pappa’s darling…. Keep shining and bring happiness to all those who love u , while being happy urself. Rekhakutteee u are a gem and ur child is a rare gem ANANYA indeed!

  8. Beautifully written… Wishing Ananya many more happy returns of the day.. Double digit birthday is definitely special and you have made it extra special with this lovely letter… :-).. God bless her.

  9. Rekha that was beautiful. First, a very happy birthday to your girl. I see some of my daughter in yours. Is this a girl thing this trying to please everyone, blaming themselves for everything, holding onto to small grudges? Loved your heartfelt words of wisdom. I’ll need to use them soon enough as the twins are a few months away from their 10th birthdays too.

  10. Happy Birthday to the big girl.. Its a beautiful letter. Just saw Deepika Padukone reading out her fathers letter at the filmfare awards. Someday, she will re-read it and find more meaning. Lovely.

    1. Thank you, Lata! I am yet to watch the FilmFare Awards. Missed recording it. Letters from Dads are a treasure. I have a bundle of approximately 300+ letters from Dad. 🙂 My to-go place when I feel down. 🙂

  11. Such a beautiful, beautiful letter, Rekha..She is so lucky to have you…I think you have written which every mother wants her daughter to learn and know in life…I wish I can be as level headed and as wise a mother as you..What you have written is something I want my daughter to remember too..Thank you for writing this…

  12. Happy birthday to Anu! And what a sweet birthday present you have given her, Rekha. Straight from the depths of a mother’s heart. Made me tear up, as my thoughts went to my mother.
    Beautiful, that’s all I can say now.

    1. Thank you, Beloo! I was in tears too while putting this together. But glad that she loved it so much that she took two printouts, one she pasted in her journal and the other she took and showed it to her favourite teacher. 🙂

  13. What a lovely letter! I was smiling throughout as these are lessons even I would want to tell my younger self 🙂 You are a wonderful Mum and I know this cos I know you a bit. Warm, kind hearted and wise. 🙂 Anu will treasure this forever.
    P.S. We also used to count when we will hit the double digits! 😛

  14. Very nicely written, Rekha. The letter has a mother’s love written all over it and some really practical advice there. God bless your daughter. A very happy birthday to her! 🙂

  15. Aww such a beautiful letter Rekha, I have also written such letters to my daughter… blogs are the place which makes our hearts pour out…. happy birthday once again to my daughters namesake, whose mother happens to be my namesake.. wonderful isn’t it…
    take care

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