As a Mum to two feisty, fun little girls, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day chaos of packing bags for the morning, washing the school uniforms and at this time of year, agonising over what they might like for Christmas.
It’s all first world problems, and when Friends International asked me to share my dreams for my daughters futures, it seemed the perfect opportunity to step back and reflect on what is really important to us.
Whilst it once seemed a lifetime away, the secondary school years are iminent for Tigs, who will face the first hurdle in just a couple of years of whether to tackle the Kent test and make an attempt to get into a grammar school.
It seems the first of many milestones in which we have to help make a decision that will impact her future and happiness, and one that will be an early indication of how we guide her through life trying to balance encouraging success with accepting who she is and ultimately, being happy.
In truth, I don’t dream about a day when I can tell my friends about my children’s successful careers or be picked up by them in a flashy car, or have us over to their enormous house.
What I dream of is that my girls will get through teenage years without too much heartache. That I will be able to be their support and confidant when life gets tough. That they will look up to me and trust me, and know that I will always have their back.
As they move into adulthood I dream of getting to know two young women who can laugh in life and hold onto the sense of adventure I see in them now. I wish for good health and bravery to see them through the dark times which will inevitably show up at some periods in their life.
I wish for them to be surrounded by good friends who will be there for them when I am not. People who will treat them with respect and kindness, and not lead them astray. And should that happen, I hope they will be able to see the ones who will help them back up when they stumble, and not ever feel alone.
I want them to have the ability to see the good in themselves; to not be plagued with self doubt and insecurities, and to be able to love the beautiful people that they are, inside and out. To learn to accept their flaws and understand how to live with them.
Above all things, I want them to be safe, and loved. If not by us, then by each other, and failing that, by good people in their life who they don’t even know yet.
Because whatever life throws at them, if they have that, then everything else will fall into place.
I am sharing my dreams for my children as part of the Friends International Dreams By Moms campaign. It aims to raise awareness of the work of Friends International in helping other Mothers fulfill their dreams of providing a safe environment for their children, which is not always easy to achieve. Many of the people they work with are struggling to make ends meet, and faced with extreme poverty.
Friends-International was born on the streets of Phnom Penh in August 1994. We initially provided services to the street kids found in the Cambodian capital in the aftermath of years of genocide and conflict in the country. The original Friends project, Mith Samlanh (which means ‘Friends’ in Khmer – all programs use a local language version of ‘Friends’ in their name) became a local NGO in 1999, and we then went on to expand both our programs and partnerships in the following years, developing social business and child protection elements to ensure comprehensive and creative solutions and services for all the marginalized youth and communities we now work with. The 17 children whose lives we changed in 1994 have grown to over 130,000 in the ensuing decades, thanks to our innovative partnership model of ‘Together, building futures’.