The days are long, but the years are short

Dearest K and B,

This month, you turn 5-and-a-half, and 3-and-a-bit, respectively.

I guess there is much truth in the saying that has been making the rounds in parenting circles – the days are long, but the years are short.

Indeed, when we look at past videos (one of our favourite family pastimes these days), even the two of you marvel at how little you once were. And the delight is magnified when we contrast K’s first steps, for instance, with B’s. Or K’s third birthday in school, compared with B’s.

My sweet and sensitive little K,

You asked me to take this photo, after I showed you a series of photos of little children and their favourite toys.

K, age 5, Singapore

This photo is rather misleading, I must say, for you have TONNES of toys of all sorts. Preloved dollhouses galore, a wooden kitchen and many sets of crockery, more and more duplo that your grandpa indulges you in, boardgames, plastic toys of all sorts, the list goes on…

But you insisted that these were your favourite toys. I suppose at this age, little girls like you and your sis, love playing mummy. And these are your little babies.

I don’t like soft toys, and would rather you two receive no more than the many that you’ve already accumulated, which I can’t dispose of because those large large objects were gifts from the extended family. But in some ways, it is sweet that you chose these three cuddlies to be featured with you.

Perhaps it shows how you value relationships over objects. It brings me back to my teenage years, where my classmates and I unabashedly had conversations with our soft toys, are treated them as if they were very much alive. What am I saying, they ARE alive, still. Our imaginary friends had conversations and feuds with other imaginary friends. I think one of my classmates makes her kids call her yellow hippo ‘Uncle’, to this day.

Anyway, we are glad you are enjoying your childhood. Late last year, you started asking for ballet lessons. You love prancing around, and would execute pirouettes as best you could, every evening.

We started enquiring at the Community Centre near us, but there was no space. Then just a few weeks ago, a space opened up. You were thrilled to watch the Open House. You were so pleased with your little leather-based ballet shoes.

The other girls have attended classes for a few years already, and you will have a learning gap to fill. But we hope, just as you have tackled swimming and cycling more bravely than we expected, you would meet this challenge face on too.

Don’t give up because things are hard, K. Try your best, for it is through perseverance that the most fulfilling moments are experienced.

We do wonder whether you should start some formal music lessons. It’s sweet to see your friend Zach, and many others at your age, play competently with both hands. But you’ve not expressed much interest in picking up an instrument yet, and we figure that there’s no hurry.

If you develop an interest in the middle of primary school, there might be less time to pursue this, but hopefully the added maturity and motivation will drive you to pick it up quickly, if at all.

Your parents play the piano, and as with our respective grades in school, we are living testament to the fact that doing well formally is no measure of ultimate success. Your daddy has the ear for music, your mum has the ABRSM 8 cert. Guess who plays effortlessly, for worship in church these days?

As for my expressive and gutsy not-so-baby B,

Your grand-aunty put it aptly when she said “B really makes her presence felt”.

The many strange expressions of a three year old –
note the five year old already knows what looks good.

 It’s not easy for you to remember to use an “indoor voice”, and even your sisters’ classmates have started shushing you in school. Whilst you sounded a tad sad when relating this to us, after a while, it doesn’t bother you anymore, and you continue bounding about, like a mini Joey, or tigger. Boing. Boing. Boing.

I love cupping your little face in my hands, and telling you how much I love you. Since you get into trouble very often and get punished accordingly, (whereas your sister has wised up and needs discipline slightly less often) we want you to remember that you are still very much loved, and that we correct you because we want you to do the right thing.

 I LOVE the fact that your favourite colour is unwaveringly blue. At Sunday school, at kindergarten, or at parties, when there is a choice of sticker/balloon/goody bag, you ALWAYS choose blue.

When we were only holiday and there were 6 colours of juices to choose from, you said “Mummy, I want the black one.” You’re my unique little girl that way.

You still do want to be told that you’re pretty, and you are. Both your daddy and I tell you that regularly to affirm you, but deep down inside we hope you learn sooner rather than later, that true beauty lies within.

There is so much this world prizes, that is hollow, empty, skin-deep.

In time to come, our prayer and encouragement will be for you to spend time honing the more valuable beauty of character. Of inner beauty founded upon reverence for your Maker.

That will see you through life, through friendships that stand the test of time, as well as a deep joy that no one can take away from you both.

Live every moment. Do not fear what the future may hold. Live boldly, with hope, in faith.

  2 comments for “The days are long, but the years are short

  1. April 11, 2014 at 5:32 am

    I loved this post, L. Really a snapshot of your little girls at this time. I know they will be beautiful, inside and out, with you both guiding them!

  2. April 11, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Aww, thanks! these are tough times to be growing up in, and we do pray for the Lord’s grace!

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