Dear Audrey, I’ll give you this letter when you turn 13.
Right now, you are only six years old and I’m not sure you are ready for the lesson I want to teach you just yet. A lesson that will hopefully help you to be comfortable and confident with who you are. A lesson that will impact the life you decide to lead.
“I am going to go as a dinosaur!”
You see, it was Book Week last week and you were so excited about it. You had been thinking about your outfit for weeks. Eventually, you came to me one evening and said, “Mummy, I know what I want to be! I am going to go as a dinosaur! From the book Tyrannosaurus Drip!”
My heart leapt. I was so happy. You hadn’t chosen Ana from Frozen, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Jasmin from Aladdin or any of the other dress-ups that adorned your dress-up box.
Not that there would have been anything wrong with any of those, but I was just pleased that you looked so happy with your creative and unique choice.
You had chosen a dinosaur and you couldn’t have been happier.
Now, Audrey, you know that I’m not the ‘stay-up-all-night-and-sew-sequins-onto-a-handmade- outfit’ kind of mum.
In fact, I can admit to you now that Book Week always makes me feel like the world’s worst mum. I’m never organised with an outfit and my sewing skills are non-existent, so I’m always left with the pangs of guilt that I’m not quite cutting it as a mum.
Perhaps this letter can be my gift to you instead. Instead of a Book Week outfit to be proud of, I will give you a life lesson that will serve you long after you’ve outgrown the costume.
The next night you presented me with your home-made version of your dinosaur outfit. You’d found a dinosaur tail in your dress-up box, you’d picked a long sleeve green top and you had found a corduroy dark red skirt. You’d found a dinosaur mask from your brother’s 3rd birthday party and you put it all on and your eyes glistened.
I was so proud of you. Not just for the choice but for the creative way you had put together this outfit, all by yourself. You were going to rock that dinosaur outfit!
Your enthusiasm did not last
Your enthusiasm for the outfit did not last though. A couple of days later when I was tucking you into bed, you whispered in my ear that you didn’t want to go as a dinosaur anymore. I tried to hide my surprise (you had been so excited about the dinosaur outfit) and I curiously asked: “Why don’t you want to go as a dinosaur, Audrey?”
You responded, “I’m scared to go as a Dinosaur. I have to walk around in it. I’m scared.”
This was such a stark contrast to the enthusiasm I had seen only days before. My gut told me that someone had said something to you about your dinosaur outfit, although you wouldn’t say. I didn’t want to push too hard. I kissed you goodnight and told you that we’d talk about it in the morning.
Time didn’t help and you became more and more insistent that you didn’t want to go as a dinosaur. You clung to my waist and said, “Please Mummy, I want to go as something else.”
I eventually said okay, not wanting to add to your anxiety.
A sea of Hermione’s
A couple of days later, and only a day before your Book Week day at school, you said you’d like to go as Hermione from Harry Potter. Your Dad and I rallied around and organised a Hermione outfit; your Dad going out on a dark rainy night to find a wand (that might have happened to be a perfect wand-shaped stick found in the local reserve!).
You loved it and you made an excellent Hermione.
On the day, I watched you as you looked around at all the other Book Week outfits. There were so many Harry Potters and Hermione’s we lost count. You didn’t say it, but your comment that you’d think of something really different next year gave me hope that maybe there was a part of you that had wished you’d stuck to your original dinosaur choice.
But even if you didn’t, that’s okay, sometimes life lessons take a little longer to learn.
So Audrey, my life lesson for you is this: be a dinosaur amongst a sea of Hermione’s.
When you have an idea that lights you up inside, do it, be it, don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. In life, the people who take the risks and become the dinosaurs, have lives that Hermione’s can only dream of. It’s those dreams of who we want to be, regardless of what other people think we should be, that allow us to shine our own unique light.
Let your light shine
Audrey, there is a quote that says: “… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So Audrey, when you choose to be a dinosaur, you give other people the permission to choose their own version of a dinosaur too and that is what the world needs. The world needs people who let their own light shine, in all its unique ways, so that other people can shine their own unique light too.
At six years old, I didn’t want to burden you with all of this. I didn’t want you to feel guilty for wanting to be Hermione, but at 13 I think you are ready to learn this lesson.
So, Audrey, I ask you: how are you being a dinosaur today?
All my love