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Letter to my goddaughter, as she starts school

Blog | By Gill Powell | Oct 02, 2018


Dear Nancy

For nearly three years, every other Friday, we’ve hung out together while your mum and dad were at work. From your first days in the incubator, when you were born three months premature and your proud parents informed me that you weighed ‘a bag of sugar AND a packet of crisps’, we knew that you were very special. I was so honoured when they asked me to be your godmother. Many years ago, I was an au pair and have been blessed with knowing and loving many wonderful children. Somehow babies never made it into my own life plan. Now, in my 50s, that’s never going to happen. But I believe you have given me a taste of that mysterious thing they call ‘motherhood’.

I know you so well. I can tell when you need to run off some of your predominantly boundless energy, when it’s time for a box of raisins or when you’re ready for a nap. Forget my many years attempting Buddhism; you have taught me how to be in the moment. There are no work spreadsheets, washing up or habitual worries when we are in our imaginary world swimming with mermaids or riding dinosaurs.

You have shown me true kindness. In a café, you approached a grumpy pensioner and announced, ‘Hello, I’m Nancy. I’m two and a half’. Moments later, he was sharing his tea cake and chatting with us. You have charmed so many people with your open heart. Your regular chats with the lady who lives by the park and keeps cuddly toys on her windowsill resulted in a meerkat flying into your arms!

We have also enjoyed quiet times at home: feeding chickens, collecting their eggs and reading stories from my 1970 Twinkle Annual. Seasons have past so bizarrely quickly. We’ve noticed the wreaths of poppies on the war memorial, walked in snowdrops and picked blackberries. You’ve introduced me to Moana, Peppa Pig and something called ‘Shimmer and Shine’. I can sing the song, but I still have no idea what it is.

Now you’re a big girl so it’s time for big school. That’s how the world works, and you are looking forward to it immensely. Of course, your parents are quick to tell me, there are half term holidays and the like. But it won’t be the same. Fridays will be less fun without you. I will miss you so much. It seems right that one of our last adventures has been with your mum coming with us to Clarks for the traditional feet measuring ceremony. You are now the proud owner of shiny black school shoes. Step out into an exciting new world dear Nancy, knowing that your godmother is so grateful for the precious times we have spent together.

Love you always, Gilly xxx