Anne Sexton

Letter to My Daughter, Amy

Writer, Anne Sexton
Writer, Anne Sexton

I’ve been thinking a lot about letters recently. I love getting real letters and I love writing them too. I stumbled across a letter from an American writer, Anne Sexton to her daughter who was 15 at the time and I really liked the idea. So inspired by this I wrote my own letter to my daughter, telling her . . . well, you can read it and see!

Dear Amy,

I’m writing you this open letter to tell you how proud I am of you. You’re 12 now, and you’re already such an accomplished young woman. You help out a lot at home and with your younger brother (yes, I know he can be annoying sometimes). In fact since your older brother left home, I’ve relied on you more and more and you’ve really stepped up to the plate.

It’s not easy being a working mum. I feel guilty for not spending more time with you but I also feel guilty when I’m not at my desk, writing. I try to balance it out and I look forward to the special Mum and Amy days we spend together, shopping, having lunch, going to Forbidden Planet, seeing movies.

Working is important to me. Women only got the right to vote in 1918 in Ireland and when I was growing up, some women, like teachers, had to leave their jobs as soon as they got married. I like playing my part in the community, helping people with their books, teaching and mentoring younger writers. And I like stretching myself with my own work, figuring out plots and characters, making myself do scary things like talking in front of hundreds of readers. I hope when you’re older you’ll understand. And I hope you find a job you love as much as I love mine.

I’m really proud of the way you stick by your friends. Of how you play hockey so well on a team, passing to your team mates and congratulating them when they do well. I’m proud of the way you look after Lucky, our dog, with a lot of kindness and fun.

You’re a wonderful artist and far better at maths than I’ll ever be and I love the fact that you like manga so much and don’t follow the crowd. You wear what you like to wear too and I think that’s really great.

Going to a new school next year will be a new adventure and it won’t always be easy. Sometimes girls can be mean to each other; sometimes boys can be mean to girls. I’m so glad I didn’t grow up with social media; I would have got myself in a whole heap of trouble by saying the wrong things sometimes or being too honest. But you’re a lot smarter than I was at your age, and if you always remember to be kind to others in person and on-line, you’ll be just fine. But please don’t judge yourself by how many ‘likes’ other people give you, it’s fool’s gold, glittery but not real.

Above all, remember how much I love you and that I am always here for you, no matter what. You’re truly amazing!

Love always,