Yesterday, due to a tw0-hour delay at my kids’ schools because of the storm here in the northeast, I didn’t get a chance to write a post, wishing my daughter a Happy 13th Birthday. I was too busy making her a cake and wrapping presents among other things. I didn’t want to skip posting about her birthday this year, though, because it’s a HUGE year for her. She’s OFFICIALLY a teenager, much to my consternation.
To be honest, I’m having a hard time processing the fact that my little girl is finally a teenager AND that I really only have five years left with her before she’s off to college and take on the world. That’s a hard pill for me to swallow. I can’t imagine not seeing her often…of being as much a part of her life as I am now. But there’s still time to worry about that. For now I can just worry over the fact that she’s a teenager and that means some turbulent years are ahead, especially if she is as much like me as I think she is. I seriously hope not. I was a handful, to say the least, and I know my parents had a hard time with me for awhile. Things are great now, but that wasn’t always the case.
Anyway, Happy 13th Birthday, daughter of mine. I’m so incredibly proud of the young lady you’re becoming. You’re no longer a little girl. You’re a young woman…a beautiful, eccentric, crazy, intelligent, quick-witted young woman. When I look at you, I’m truly in awe of you. I’ve done many things wrong in my life but you, my sweet, precious girl, are one of the things I got right.
Thank you for keeping me on my toes each and every day. You keep my brain active. Like me, you’re always thinking. And I strongly suspect that at night that brilliant, beautiful mind is a whirlwind of action, even when asleep.
Now that you’re a young woman, I want to leave you with some wisdom I’ve managed to gather over the years. Take my advice to heart, honey. Believe it or not, mommy actually does know a thing or two.
- Keep being you, Mini Me. Don’t ever change or compromise who you are to suit other’s idea of who you should be. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. And your uniqueness is what will set you apart from others.
- Ignore the haters ’cause haters gonna hate! No matter what you do…no matter how hard you try, there are always going to be haters out there, trying to tear you down in whatever way they can, by bullying you, by spreading lies, by talking down to you. Don’t let them win. To let them steal your happiness.
- To go along with my above statement, remember, the real reason bullies do things they do is because they are miserable and unhappy with their own lives so they feel the need to hurt you to give themselves a temporary high.
- Life doesn’t owe you anything. If you want something in life, work for it. Don’t expect others to do it for you.
- Don’t let someone pressure you into sex. I know you’re only 13, but the sad reality is, kids your age are engaging in risky behavior. Save yourself for someone special, who will appreciate you. And please, if you have questions about sex, talk to me. That’s what I’m here for.
- Be kind and give back! There are people in this world who are less fortunate than you are. Be kind to them and give back to your community.
- Be open-minded. Don’t close your mind off to trying new things or you may miss out on some great experiences. I’ve done that many times. It’s not worth it.
- Don’t let your fear rule your life. Again, I’ve let fear control me on many ocassion. I’ve been asked to do things that could have been great life experiences only to back out because I was afraid. To this day, I still kick myself a little bit for letting my fear own me.
- If you are depressed, don’t hide it from others. Depression and other mental illnesses are NOT something to be ashamed of. They do not define you as a person. They are just a small piece of who people are. And please, talk to me if you feel yourself sinking into a depression. I’ve been there Baby Girl. I know what depression is like. Don’t let yourself get to the point that you feel all alone.
- Speak the truth! This is one of the things that you are taught in Tae Kwon Do, and this is a lesson that your stepfather and I are trying to teach you each and every day. Trust us when we say the lies you tell today will catch up with you tomorrow. Don’t be one of those people that feels the need to spread lies about others. It never turns out well. Karma does exist!
- Appreciate the small things in life. Life can get very busy as you can see. I am constantly running around for one of you kids. And I wouldn’t change those moments for the world. But I also make sure to make time to appreciate the small things in life that we, as a society, take for granted. Look around you! There are so many beautiful things to see and experience. Take them in. Absorb them. Live your life the way you’ve taught me to. It’s because of you and your existence that I appreciate the color of the sky, the sound of a baby’s laugh, the feeling of hearing your kids say “I love you”, the way a flower smells, etc. (Thank you for being my best teacher.)
I’m sure as the days go on I will think of more words to add to this list. And one day I will print it out for you to take with you when you set off for college. But until then, don’t grow up to quick, you hear me? Allow me to love you, take care of you and hug you a little longer.