This week Tallulah's teacher asked all the parents to write a letter to their children as part of 8th Grade graduation. Tallulah is a stubborn Taurean and I'm an opinion-on-everything Aries, so as you can imagine we have our daily battles. First I was kind of annoyed about being asked to do one more thing, grumbling as I opened onto a blank page. But then I wondered why we didn't do it more. Here's my letter.
You are 14 years old and you are graduating from 8th Grade! How could that be? How did that happen?
What a long and winding road it's been, with all its tall trees and gurgly streams and knobbly roads and annoying brothers who love you and (mostly) don't say it.
You were born in St Mary's Hospital in London. You arrived in the world quickly and decisively, just like you do everything in life: picking kind, funny friends, organising hang outs with the girls on a Friday, writing and playing music (all the, all the time), writing beautiful poetry, drawing, swimming, picking clothes like your romper suit and knowing exactly which pair of earings from Mexico to wear them with, playing soccer, choosing the exact pizza(!) and eating weetabix last thing at night.
We named you after Tallulah Bankhead, one hell of a woman who loved life and went her own way - just like you Tallulah, dancing and singing to the beat of your own drum. Spending hours and hours composing songs with astounding lyrics and music. You have a beautiful voice way beyond your years. Mum and Dad and Patty and Bob were just amazed by how you sang with perfect pitch and emotion and how you composed songs they thought were professional.
When you were born, little did we know that your Great Aunt Mary would find out you were descended from the Cherokee and Tallulah meant Falling Water. Waterfalls (remember that one in Hawaii?) are just the most magical things: strong and defiant and charismatic and everyone wants to be near them, to see them, because they know they are witnessing something other-worldly.
I love also how you have learned about justice and respect for everyone, how each person is an individual and has the same rights, no matter the colour of their skin, creed or sexual orientation.
Love how you have worked so, so hard, despite all the challenges that academic work has thrown at you through the years, studying for hours and working with tutors and crafting your own way how to deal with things. Still I know it's really hard for you and frustrating and tiring - and mostly it's just not fair that you have to work so much harder than other people! Yet you still deal with things head-on and you won't back down!! (that would make a good title for a song, eh?)
We love you Tallulah with the curls, Tallulah the songbird and Tallulah athlete with the long legs and with the kindness to others and the silly sense of humour and Tui-and-the-teacup way of looking at life and putting it down in a poem. You are a true born artist and like any true born artist you show us ourselves and the rest of the world in a different, astounding way. In a way that is sometimes elvish tinkling, sometimes big-drum thumping and all of it good.
Well, we feel lucky that you were born and that you will always be in our lives. And that we will get to watch you grow into whatever you want to be.
Much love, always and forever,
Your Mum, Jody