Thursday, 18 September 2014

Letter to little sister

To my littlest girl

How I love you. I'm not sure that either of you will understand how enormous that love is until you have babies of your own, but until then I will keep telling you.

Does your Mummy love you?
That's right. How much does she love you?
All round the world and back again. 
More than that!  Why does Mummy love you?
Because I'm Katy
That's right. When will Mummy stop loving you?
Never, not ever.
That's right. Never, not ever, not no-how. 

I won't stop telling you, because I want you to keep that knowledge really deep down in your heart, somewhere that is safe where you can reach for it whenever you need to, because you are the little sister.

Comparisons are inevitable. Everywhere you go, your big sister has already been there, done it and got the T shirt. We can't help that because you've been to the same nurseries, schools and clubs. In many ways she's a formidable act to follow because she's good at so many things, and because she's good at them, you long to be good at them too.

Who knows? you might be. But you're very hard on yourself. When you find that you can't do something she can do, always remember that she's almost two years older than you; it might be that at your age, she couldn't do it either.

But that doesn't solve the problem. It just reinforces the fallacy that you are both on the same path, just that you set off a little later than she did, and that's not how it is.

You are different in so many ways. You don't look the same; people sometimes don't realise that you are sisters. You think differently, you have a different way of looking at things. You speak differently, you laugh at different things, you respond to people in your own individual way.

You are both unique. You are both special. And, my little love, you shine just as brightly as she does.

You are you; you're not her. You're the only one who can do Katy. Oh, my lovely, you do it so well. That's because you didn't come off a production line, you were hand-made by the Master Craftsman.

Your heavenly Father lovingly made you just as you are; that's how He wanted you. He didn't make a single mistake. He was careful, thoughtful and thorough when He designed you, and when He had finished, He looked at you and smiled with delight. I bet He said something like, 'Well, look at this beautiful daughter of mine!  A masterpiece. She's exactly right,' and the angels all cheered and clapped and admired you.

God never makes mistakes. He never gets things wrong - He doesn't make a Mark 1 version and a Mark 2, with improvements. No, He knew what He was doing when He made you. You have a totally unique set of characteristics, my beautiful girl. There is no-one like you.

This is true of your big sister too, of course. She is put together with the same care, the same attention to detail, the same joy.  She's different, though. He didn't mean to make you identical. He wanted you to be different.

And one thing that you can be sure of: when God gave out talents and gifts, He was even handed. There is no-one fairer than God. There's no way that He'd favour one of his daughters with more gifts than another, no matter how it might seem at times. He gave each of us a different set of skills just as we each have our own personality.

It's hard it is to follow in someone's footsteps. It's hard to follow someone who does well, who wins things, who attracts attention for being great at something. It's hard not to look at them and wish you were the same. And when you envy someone their gifts, you start to overlook or undervalue your own.

It's a lie that some gifts are worth more than others. This world perpetuates the myth that some people are better than others because they are faster, stronger, louder. Look at the politicians, the athletes, the celebrities. Some people have gifts that are very obvious; they're there right in front of your eyes. Some people are breathtakingly beautiful, skilled and articulate and the world adores them, and other people have gifts which are much more subtle, but no less important. The world is not a reliable gauge of what is valuable.

For example, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa of Calcutta died on the same day. Diana, famous for her beauty and scandal, filled the front pages for weeks and the world grieved extravagantly. Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to caring for the poorest and weakest, was mentioned briefly on page 8 of the newspaper I saw. For whom, do you think, was the biggest party in Heaven?

Sometimes we have to look past the limelight and the adoration of other people to see the truth of what gifts really mean.

I love that your big sister is good at sports, and I cheer her on with all my heart, but my pride comes from how hard she tries, how determined she is, how gracious in victory and defeat, and the spirit in which she takes part. Make no mistake; I cheer just as loudly whether she comes first or last.

And the same is true for you. I cheer for you, my darling. I cheer for you in my heart every morning when I watch you walk up into the playground of the big school you've just started. I cheer for you in your new role on the school council. I see you growing up into such a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and my heart swells with pride. Trophies and medals and mentions in the school newsletter won't change that.

Who you are is the most important thing, not what you can do.

You will find more gifts as you get older; you don't get them all at the same time. You'll try things, and sometimes you'll succeed, and sometimes you'll fail, and sometimes, strange as it sounds, it's through the failures that you grow the most. Some of your gifts are easy to see already, and others will be ready for you to unwrap when the time is right. Right now I can see kindness, warmth, generosity, the ability to make people laugh, the desire to make people happy. Your quick wit, your ideas, your ability to point out things that no-one else has noticed. Your courage, your determination, your thoughtfulness, your tactile affection, your enthusiasm.

These are powerful, precious things, beautiful, never to be underestimated. This world badly needs people like you.

Don't compare yourself with anyone. Have confidence in yourself, because you are enough. Know how loved you are. By me (and lots of other people) and the One who made you. If He'd meant you to be good at the same things others are good at, He'd have made you that way, but the place would be very boring if we all excelled at the same things, wouldn't it?  You are in this world for a very special reason that's specific just to you, and He's given you all you need.

So cheer on your big sister with me, and celebrate who she is knowing that you are celebrated just as much. Don't wish you were someone else, or try to be like them. Put all your wonderful energy into  making the most of every opportunity, discovering more and more about yourself as your life unrolls in front of you, full of potential and promise.

Be yourself, my treasure. 

There is nobody like you.

With my love - all round the world and back again



  1. Helen - as ever, this is beautiful. Katy and Elizabeth are two blessed girls to have you as their mummy x

    1. Thanks, Mandy. I'm not sure about that..... :-)

  2. Been there on lots of levels--as the younger sister, and in conversations with my own younger one. Tender and precious words.


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