A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.5 “Limitations” and “Death”


Tonight I picked up my four-year-old from daycare after she had class pictures. She announced that her photos were “damn pretty”.

You’re damn right, girl.

 

Here are two more letters.

 

To my adorable daughter,

You’re four years old and in the third percentile for height and weight. At 30 lbs and 36 inches tall, the growth charts put you on track for being 4’ 11” when you’re full grown. Daddy is 5’ 5” and I’m 5’ 0” so you were never meant to be big. In fact, you’re going to be very small.

We were at the grocery store a couple of days ago and I tried to get a bottle of root beer off the top shelf. It came crashing down, burst open, and root beer went everywhere. There were several witnesses and I was pretty embarrassed. I couldn’t leave the store fast enough. Most of the time I enjoy being short, but at that moment it really sucked.

Everyone has limitations of some kind and like I said, I normally enjoy being short. Sometimes I even think I’m cute short; it’s a part of who I am. 

I hope you will also view your short stature as cute, too, and just another part of who you are. You can’t change it, so own it. Oh, and always ask for help in the grocery store. 

Love,

Mom

 

Dear daughter,

I feel like death is a complicated subject when it shouldn’t be. It’s our feelings surrounding death that make things complicated. 

I am scared of death, which is natural, but I’m not worried about where I’m going in the afterlife. I’m scared because there’s so much I want to do in life; will I get to do all of those things? Will I have spent enough time with my loved ones?

I recognize my worries are pretty pointless because when you’re dead you’re not aware of your goals and wants anyway. Death is only sad to those still living.

The belief in souls, heaven, and hell really makes the idea of death murky. I have a simpler explanation. Humans are a part of nature — another speck in the universe — and death is just a part of our life cycle. We return to the earth which we’ve always been a part of. 

It might be a nice thought to think you’ll live on in people’s memories, but the people with those memories eventually die, too. I’ve heard stories of my ancestors but they seem to fade with every passing generation. It’s definitely not the same as knowing them.

Instead of worrying about death, it’s better to concentrate on enjoying yourself now. Your time could be up at any time, so live your life to the fullest. 

My beautiful daughter — I am really enjoying the time I am spending with you right now, and that’s all that really matters.

Love,

Mom

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