I’ve read a number of posts where people write to their kids at a certain age, be it 18 or 80. I’ve seen blank letters you can purchase for your children to open at milestones – something my mother rightly pointed out was slightly morbid. Even though I agree with my mother, I can see some value in writing to my future daughter. This letter is not for a specific age or time, it’s for a life lived.

Dear daughter,

First and foremost, I want you to know how much I love you. How a world without you in it is unimaginable. How every millimetre of you is part of the most beautiful person I have ever seen or known. How you fill my heart with so much happiness.

I’m going to write this to you from me, and not jointly from your father and I. Of course you know how he adores you. You know you are the most precious person in the world to him. But these are not his words, these are mine.

I want you to know that you were wanted, planned, that every inch of us was waiting for the day you would come. You didn’t come quickly, it took a year for you to decide you wanted to be with us. Then, nine months later you decided that upside down was the right way up, and had to be brought into this world slightly in shock, but here you are.

Related: My five proudest parenting moments

The only thing I want for you is to be happy. I want you to be secure in yourself, to not doubt yourself, to love without inhibitions, to laugh with abandon, to travel the world, to be all that you can be. If you do all this, you will lead a fulfilled life. And if you don’t? As long as you can look at your life and feel content, then everything is perfect.

Oh, sure, I could tell you I hope you have high-powered job, that you’re a trailblazer, that you invent something spectacular or broker world peace. And while they might be realistic expectations – who knows, you’re but one-year-old now – all I want is for your happiness.

I want you to know love. And not just love for family, but love that knocks you over. Love that changes your life – after all, that is what you come from.

I want you to seek out experiences that will make you grow as a person, whatever they may be.

I want you to open your mind, and to keep it open. I want you to be compassionate, and to understand the plight of others, without judgement, without fear, but a willingness to help.

I want you to be kind. I want you to be kind to others but, importantly, also kind to yourself. We are so ready to punish ourselves for not being infallible – none of us are. Remember, not being perfect is perfectly OK.

I want you to smile. You have such a beautiful smile. Your sense of humour is incredible. Even now, at age one, you find laughter in everything. I hope you remember how to smile. Sometimes the hardest things are easier dealt with when you smile and laugh.

I want you to keep learning. Don’t close your mind. Every day has something new to learn, you just need to know where to look for it.

I want you to live without regret. It’s something I’m fortunate enough to say I have done for the most part. Oh, sure, there are small things, but for the most part I can say that everything I have done has given me something that I’m happy to carry with me everywhere I go.

When things are tough, I want you to remember that it won’t always be that way. That sometimes life is hard, and it feels really hard, but you plough through to the other side, and eventually the sun will shine again. It just can’t happen each and every day.

Most of all, and I know I’ve said it already, I want you to know I love you. I know we’re going to have our rough patches. Gosh, if karma has anything to say about it, we are going to have some very rough patches. You aren’t always going to like me, but I’m always going to love you. You have your own journey to go on, but I am here to help you along the way. And, if at the end of it all, you can look back and say “I’m happy” then that’s all you ever need to be, my little love.

Mumma x

Next: What I’ve achieved in my first year as a parent

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