Letters to our Daughters. This project is one that I hold dear to my heart. It’s a project I do not only for myself but for my girls. The ones who will hopefully be reading (and want to read) this when they are older, or if they are lucky, mothers themselves. I hope the words that I share with them today will always bring them back to a place of unconditional love, especially during times of need.
March is for both E&J.
My darlings, I love photographing each of you individually but I truly relish in capturing you together, your interactions, your connection to each other. Whether is the difference in your personality as it stands at this moment in time, catching you giving each other grief, sharing in a special discovery, finding an adventure to travel to in your combined imagination, or just simply a hug, a kiss, a hand hold, it is all so important to me. It holds special meaning for me because I have a sister too, so sisterhood is something that I hold dear to my heart.
Auntie E (or Ah Yee as you know her to be) and I are five and a half years apart in age. In the duration of growing up, those difference in years saw us through our childhood quite separately. We played together a lot but with all the other cousins too. We lived together for a few years but we didn’t have the same activities or went to the same school, or had the same friends. In our teenage years, we didn’t even live together. We’ve probably spent more time apart than we have truly together. Yet despite this, your Auntie and I share this deep bond that transcends our history of being physically apart or socially disconnected. You grandma is always telling us, “it’s just the two of you, you need to be there for each other”. I may have scoffed at that, particularly when your Auntie and I are in the middle of a fight, and Grandma is trying to drill some sense into us with that statement, but I truly appreciate the significance of that and I hope you will too.
When you look back at these images, I would like you to see not just what you do together, but your connection with each other. A big sister leading the way and a baby sister trusting and eagerly listening to the instructions to a task or adventure that is unfolding. E, you are such a protective sister. Stern with J, on my behalf, when she’s out of line but so inclusive with a lot that you do, whether it’s creating a role playing story, or finding a gem on the beach, or just scheming a runaway from the scary monsters of the world. You are so sweet with your baby sister. You tell me most nights, how much you appreciate her in your life. When there’s a show that makes you sad about siblings being apart, you cuddle up to J and hug her tight as your lower light quivers with emotion. The first night you shared the bunk beds together, and woke up to J back in her crib in the middle of the night, you cried, heart broken that she didn’t want to sleep with you. That’s the kind of love you have for her. And J, you soak up your big sister’s world. Always asking about where she is, eager to see her and join in her mischief or creative play. You look up to her with those bright eyes of yours. E is your hero, your role model, your protector. Being in her presence makes you happy.
*centre photo credit to Cassandra Hamilton Photography, from our family session together when Janie was first born.
So for this month’s letter, and always through your life, I will say to you: you are so lucky to have each other, so cherish sisterhood and nurture it. It can be fragile but also incredibly strengthening too. Our goal as parents is not only to raise you to be confident, kind, compassionate individuals but also to foster that bond between you so that you will always know the other will unconditionally be there for anything your heart is bursting to share or cry about. You may not understand the significance of having a sister now but I hope you will realize what a special thing sisterhood is. I love you both so much and thank you for filling my cup daily with your love for each other.
Please continue on with my wonderful friend, Vironica, and her letter to her son, and click on through the entire circle to read the love.