Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Letter To My Daughter On Her 13th Birthday

June 12th 2010

Dear Briony,

Happy 13th Birthday.
I know that right now the money we gave you for your birthday is probably your greatest treasure but I hope you will find great treasures in this diary for many years to come.
I started writing a diary when I was about eight or nine after watching a Blue Peter programme on Anne Frank who was given a diary for her 13th birthday which was also on June 12th.
And I have kept a diary (on and off) since then for the past 30 and more years.
My diary has been a great friend to me.
When I have experienced great things like meeting your dad; getting married and giving birth to all four of you, I have been able to keep those wonderful memories alive by re-reading my diary.
When I am upset or worried I write about my fears or "sorrows" as Anne Frank called them and once they are outside of me and on paper they are so much easier to bear - a case of better out than in!
And I am not sure I would have become a writer if I hadn't kept a diary.
Through the process of recording my thoughts and feelings I got to appreciate the pleasure and power of words.
A diary helped me make sense of the present and look forward to the future while taking pleasure from the past.
I know I have waffled on a bit but I do hope you read the passge I have enclosed about Anne Frank and that you tuck this letter away somewhere in your diary.
This Five Year diary will take you to your 18th birthday and life as a fully-fledged grown-up but through recording the last five years of your childhood you will give yourself a priceless gift.
Much love,
Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Taken from The Diary of A Young Girl
By Anne Frank

Wednesday, 5 April 1944

My dearest Kitty,
Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself.
But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine having to live like Mother, Mrs Van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!
When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?
I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies…


  1. What a wonderful wonderful gift to your daughter! You made me cry. I wish your beautiful treasure to follow your footsteps and become such a wonderful woman as her mum is. Happy Birthday, Briony! Ciao. A.

  2. What a great idea, wish I had kept one! Happy Birthday to your girl, lots of June birthdays!

  3. Oh Jane what a beautiful letter to your daughter.
    You make me want for you to be my mom - but you are too young for that.
    I hope your girl appreciates the wonderful mother God has given her.

  4. a super sweet note that I hope she cherishes for a lifetime!

  5. What an incredible present for your daughter!

    I kept a diary from about the same age as you, I think. It ebbed and flowed a bit, and is now mostly digital, but it's... well, as you put it, a friend.

  6. That's so lovely Jane. I wish I could start again with my daughters. I wish they were still thirteen so I could get it right this time.

  7. Happy birthday Briony! What a beautiful gift to your daughter Jane. Your words are just perfect and I am sure will be read and re-read again and again. Much love to you both.
    Mervat x

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  9. Aw, that made me tear up. :) I've also kept a diary for a long time, since I was 12. My blog is now sort of my diary. Your daughter will value that letter from you, Jane.

  10. Thank you so much for your kind comments. We had to take the diary back after school and get a new one as we couldn't open the lock. She made her first entry last night.

  11. Your daughter is one lucky girl to have a mum like you - I'm sure she appreciates you (as much as a thirteen-year-old appreciates her parents...). Happy (belated) birthday to Briony and congratulations to you, Jane, for having such fabulous, creative ideas.

  12. Oh Jane what with this wonderful post and your lovely comments on mine I'm bereft I won't be at the event in Liverpool to meet you xxxxx

  13. Jane,
    What a wonderful treasure and maybe a new family tradition. Happy 13th Birthday to a very special young woman and congratulations to her amazing mum.
    much love
    Heather x

  14. Good evening, Jane, actually Good Morning! I'm so glad I visited your blog before going to bed - what lovely thoughts and warmth you give! Your daughter is a lucky girl to have you and I feel priviledged that I can take distanced part in your life through this amazing medium. As always, a big Thank You! Kiki x

  15. Aw, that made me tear up. :) I've also kept a diary for a long time, since I was 12. My blog is now sort of my diary. Your daughter will value that letter from you, Jane.