Dear Kaya (4.5 years),

Dearest YaYa,

It will be a sad day for all of us when Brennyn masters her ‘k’ sounds and can consistently say Kaya. For we all, you included, adore hearing YaYa.

What an amazing big sister you are. You guide and teach your little sis in the ways of the world. You’re her partner in crime. You share and play with her. You scold and become exasperated with her too (Don’t worry, you’re in good company.) Mostly you two just giggle together. Lots and lots of giggles. It does a soul good, those giggles.

In the past 6 months, you have begun dance class, which you adore. Just yesterday at the dinner table you inform us:

“You’re a silly monster!” pointing at Brennyn.

“You’re a silly monster” to Daddy.

“You’re a silly monster” at Mommy.

“And me…” pausing for very deliberate dramatic effect,

“I am a beautiful ballerina dancer!”

I have to tell you my love, this 6 months has probably been the most challenging I have had with you in 4.5 years. Not because you have been bad or defiant or temperamental, but because of your infatuation with all things pink and princessy.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it is probably quite a normal thing. What I wasn’t yet prepared for was dealing with peer pressure and judgements of what is and is not beautiful.

Suddenly you have an opinion of what you will wear. Always pink and always a skirt thank you very much. One day your favourite shirt is your blue Cinderella T-shirt, the next you will not wear it because it is blue. One day you are overjoyed wearing your rocket ship pj’s, the next you will have nothing to do with them because they look like boys.

This is hard for a mamma to take. Especially a mamma whose favourite colour is blue and knows how much you love space.

Today's outfit- Pink leopard print undershirt with a Princess Kitty tshirt, too small tights striped with a pink skirt overtop and sparkly red dancing shoes.


So I applaud your twirly, sparkly, pinky play and then I applaud your science project, space, train play. Because in our house, it is all good girlie fun!

My most gut-wrenching moment was when a commercial came on TV (I think it was an Old Navy ad) with a woman dancing and you sighed “I’m not beautiful like her.” Broke. My. Heart.

Because my girl, what you need to know, is that you are beautiful! So fully, completely, absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

At 4.5 years of age you have been targeted, already, to think that beauty is pretty clothes and bling. You see princesses all decked out while they sing magical songs and dance without stumbles. You see Barbie fairytales focusing on fashion. Fashion? At four. Sigh.

My girl, you mistake pretty things with beauty. Yes, you have some pretty things. And it is so fun to spin in them and jangle them and sparkle in them. Putting on pretty things is FUN.

But beauty, well that is a whole different thing. Beauty is fun expanded. Beauty is JOY.

Beauty is compassion and love and empathy.

Beauty is giving a baby doll to your sad sister.

Beauty is wanting loads of hugs and kisses just for the sake of hugging and kissing.

Beauty is holding hands when we cross the road and offering up the other hand to our sister or friends.

Beauty is drawing colourful pictures and telling stories and reading books.

Beauty is imagination and dreaming and wishing on stars.

Beauty is loving our friends and our family and crying tears when we miss them.

Beauty is eyes of awe. Beauty is sharing a special rock with your mamma and squealing in glee as you jump into Daddy’s arms. Beauty is smiling and laughing and giggling. Oh the smile! Beauty is all about being kind to yourself and to others.

Beauty is being silly and funny and rhyming things with poo. Beauty is singing and dancing with reckless abandon.Beauty is snuggling in blankets watching Funniest Home Videos or Wipeout together.

Beauty is family time while exploring and discovering the world. Beauty is curiosity and authenticity.

Beauty is ice cream licking and cupcake sprinkling (note, not the ice cream and cupcakes themselves.)

Beauty is skipping and hopping and jumping.

Beauty is tears. Beauty is connection. Beauty is gratitude.

Beauty, my love, is YOU.

This is what I will strive to teach you. So that as you enter this era of friendships and school and peer pressure, you understand that pretty does not equate beautiful. Pretty things change with the season. Beauty can not be changed. Beauty is your essence.

You, my compassionate, loving, nurturing soul are beautiful.

Kind of heavy for your 4.5 year letter, but such a major part of these days.

Though sometimes I need to chill out a bit about it all. You are four and exploring this girlie side and that is cool.

One day we wished on the first star of the night. Your wish? An all pink world filled with big, bouncy balls. So cool. So freakin cool. So at the first opportunity, I went and bought you a pair of pink tinted sunglasses.

Wish granted.
Just today you came home from daycare and tell me, “Mom, a boy at school saw Batman!”

“Woa, where did he see him?” I reply.

“No, mom, the Really Real Batman! Isn’t that so cool?!”

And it is so cool. So cool that you believe. So cool that you love everything pink but Batman and Spiderman thrill you too.

Oh Kaya, you are such an amazingly cool kid who I marvel at every single day. In any given day it could be for the things you blurt or just a look into those deep brown eyes or a giggle together over a silly song.

Today it was a moment sitting in the living room when I just glanced over to the kitchen and there you are, behind the counter, a full head in view. Time, as we know it, ceases while flashes of memories of you in that area flood me. Moments, such profound they-mean-EVERYTHING moments, that are deceptively simple in their makeup. First crawling under the table, the toddling directly under. Soon your head kept hitting the top of the table and just as you master ducking, you start beaning the countertop edges. Now I look your way and there is no bonking for you are a head above the countertop. I grapple with this truth. This ‘You are so big’ realization that has me grasping at my heart at the pain and wonder of it. Four and a half years.

I am so, so proud of you Kaya. For your guiding spirit and inquisitive nature. For your sensitivity and empathy. For loving as much as you do as determinedly as you do. For sharing and helping, teaching and learning. For swimming like a fish and dancing like a star. I am just so very proud of you being you.

“Am I beautiful mom?” you ask spinning in your sparkly tutu and princess crown.

“You are beautiful every day!” is how I always answer and the most truthful thing I can ever tell you.

Confucius has said that

“Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.”

May you always see it, in yourself first, then in all that surrounds you. I can only imagine all the amazing things you will do in this world by doing so.

Love you as many stars and moons fill all the galaxies.

That is a lot of love.

Mommy XOX


2 thoughts on “Dear Kaya (4.5 years),

  1. Oh wow Kari, what a beautiful letter to Kaya. Yes beauty is so much more than we think and I personally think that you are amazing at showing both your girls the beauty that is in them and surrounds them everyday. Thank you beautiful for sharing 🙂

  2. Ugh… I’m choking up! Wonderful! I applaud you for articulating those thoughts and feelings for your sweet girl. So often we are flooded with all of those realizations but fail to express them. Well done!

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