Dear Ma and Pa,
When I was seven I was positive that when I grew up I would be a florist. I loved flowers and their incredible ability to make people smile, despite their simplicity. You said "okay" and bought me crayons and paints and paper to practise with, and let me vandalise your garden in the aid of my early attempts at floral arranging. I'm sorry I didn't clean up the first project, before I started on the next one, Mum.
When I was nine I wanted to be Mariah Carey. You bought me her MTV unplugged cassette tape and I learned her whole routine by heart. You watched me mime her songs, complete with closed eyes and accompanying hand gestures and you clapped at the end. I think you even lent me your deodorant to use as my microphone. I'm sorry I sometimes made you pay $2 to watch my concerts. I'm think that price was slightly exorbitant.
When I was sixteen, the only thing I wanted to be was different to the person that I was. You watched me contend with stereotypes and immaturity, with friends who weren't that friendly and with my own distorted idea of myself. You wore my pain and you wore it willingly. I'm sorry I couldn't see what you were always trying to tell me. If it's any consolation, I am starting to see it now.
When I was nineteen, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I have since realised that I kind of liked the idea of you liking the idea that I would be a lawyer. The truth is, you have supported me in every decision I have made, from going to university and ending my time there prematurely, to backpacking around Asia with nothing but a Lonely Planet and a bearded boyfriend to keep me safe (both of which did a tremendous job by the way). Due to this ever present encouragement on your part, I have since decided to pursue a literary career (which means I am working part time making coffee and attempting to grow my own vegetables). I'm sorry it took seven years and a considerable student loan before I came to this stage of enlightenment.
Now I am twenty five (nearly twenty six). And I am home again. I love that I can bake Anzac biscuits and go walking with you again. I love that we can talk for hours, laugh, cry (mostly me doing the second one) and watch our favourite movies (even if it is with your eyes closed aye, Dad). You, my extraordinary mother and father, have granted me, what are quite possibly, the most incredible and life changing gifts one could ever receive: the infallible support to follow my dreams, the permission to feel good about it and the ability to find my feet in the world.
Thanks for giving me the shoes.
Nga mihi nui kia korua.