An open letter to the little girl I babysit.

Life Lessons

I hope that you remain curious. That your never ending questions continue to dictate the way to see the world. I hope you always see the world as a classroom and observe it like a student. When you don’t understand something… whether it’s why you have to go to bed early, why you should to help your sister clean up or why adults don’t seem to listen to kids… I hope you always ask. Approach the world like you approached your first school project on outer space… eager to understand something that you know nothing about. Determined to master a new subject. Ready to share your knowledge with any and everyone who will listen.

I hope you continue to find strong female role models. Right now you idolize Doc McStuffins. It’s the only program you want to watch on TV, you tuck her in at night next to you and you even dressed up as her for Halloween. Out of all of the characters in the world to love, you picked an African-American female doctor who dedicates all of her time to making others feel better. When you’re not pretending to be Doc, you’re pretending to be Anna. A silly, strange, curious and strong princess who risks her own life to save her sister.

I hope you never stop expressing your emotions. We had a little fight the other night. I told you that you have to go to bed and you broke down. Hysterically crying, you refused to go to bed. I was coming off of a 40-hour work week and had to go straight to my show after I left your house, so I was immensely frustrated and exhausted. I left you alone to cry it out and put your sister to bed. When I came back, you were still sobbing. I thought you were putting on a show. Frustrated, I finally asked you why you were so upset… something that I should have done much earlier. You told me that you missed me and wanted to spend more time with me. That we didn’t get through half the stuff you wanted to do. You were honest with me, you told me how you felt. Keep doing this. Keep telling people how you feel about a situation instead of masking it. When you let me know why you were upset, we were able to fix the problem. We made a list of everything that we were going to do next time I came back and I made sure to read an extra book at bedtime. Instead of just fighting, we worked it out.

I hope you never stop singing. When I started babysitting you two years ago, you were a ham. The second an opportunity to perform came up, you threw on a tutu, improvised some dance moves and sang at the top of your lungs. You would force me to videotape you so that I could show your parents when they came home. The other night while we were eating dinner, you told me that you don’t sing anymore. You said that you can’t hit the high notes. My heart broke a little. You didn’t care about this before you started singing at school assemblies. I did the only thing I could think of… I told you that I couldn’t hit them either but I still loved to sing. I hope you don’t let your peers tell you what you can and cannot do. I hope your fear of high notes never keeps you from doing something that you love.

I hope you keep finding joy in the silliest things. I let you have four cherries on your ice cream the other night and you acted like I gave you a million dollars. You were beaming and said it was the best day of your life. I hope you’re able to find something every single day that makes it the best day of your life. I also hope you never lose your sense of humor. You’re a little comedian and you’re too young to care about whether or not you’re funny. You tell jokes, make ridiculous faces and find a way to make everything silly. Realize that this piece of your personality is unique and endearing. 

Most of all, I hope you continue to take the iPad into the bathroom with you when you poop. It’s the most adorable thing about you. “Ok, I’m going to poop. Where’s the iPad?” It makes you so… you. It’s your quiet time… your time to escape from your little sister and me. I know that you don’t take that long to poop but I let it happen. Everyone needs some time to regroup. I hope you always steal a little piece of the day for yourself. 

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