I was going to do a post with a few guidelines, dos and don'ts for parents and grandparents of expats but instead I have decided to write a letter full of promises for a little girl full of promise:
One day you will be all grown-up, one day you will want to set sail and travel the world, become your own person and enjoy your life the way you want to live that life, however different to ours or to the way you grew up.
Today I promise you to stand back and let that happen. Yes, I may express concerns sometimes but never ever will I hold you back from leading the life you want to live, for aiming as high or as far as you want to aim in your search for happiness.
I promise you any concern mum or dad may have will be explained, talked through with you, never imposed. We will always want to hear your wishes, goals and, of course, your own concerns. We will always lend a hand in whatever way we can to make your dreams happen but will never ever remind you of that hand that helped you, you will never be made to feel guilty, you will never owe us anything.
We owe you my love, you have brought us something neither of us expected to have.
If you want to travel the world and go live somewhere far from us where you are happy, then so be it. We will do everything possible to not make you feel guilty about coming to visit us and, whenever you ask us, we will do our best to be on that plane on the day you tell us, for the amount of time you tell us. We will not get in your way or interfere and I can firmly promise you that we will not expect, pressure or push you to be visiting us in a different country the very day you get the keys to the family home you have longed for, just because it turns out it coincides with Easter or Christmas.
Most of all, I promise you you will always be able to speak your own mind and be the person you want to be.
You are full of sunshine and hope my little girl, today you are a toddler of 21 months, next time I blink you'll probably be a woman of 21 years. During those years I may set boundaries but I promise to always encourage you to pursue your dreams.
Your life is yours, we're just borrowing you for a little while. But as long as you need us, we're yours.
By the way, this is all as long as you're not getting involved in anything dodgy, criminal or illegal you hear? Because in that case you will promptly have your feisty mother to deal with and, by the time you can read this, you will know what that side is like and a few years later you'll know why mum had to write this in tears today.
Te quiero mi amor. Más que a nada en este mundo.