So another birthday, another letter from your momma. 3 years ago I wrote you what I thought you needed to know to “do life”. I still believe you need those words, but I also know you need more. So, my girl, here are the “big 13” things I want to to know before you turn 13.
1. It is not your job to keep the people you love happy. Not me, not Daddy, not your sister, not your friends. I promise, it’s not. The hard truth is that you can’t anyway. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you!
2. You should never be afraid to share your passions. You love to draw, you like video games and movies, You LOVE to ride horses! Anyone who teases you for what you love to do is not a true friend. This is hard to realize, but essential.
3. It is okay to disagree with me, and others. You are old enough to have a point of view, and I want to hear it! So do those who love you. You have heard me say that you are right, and you’ve heard me apologize for my behavior or point of view when I realized they were wrong. Your perspective is both valid and valuable. Don’t shy away from expressing it.
4. You are so very beautiful. Do NOT compare yourself to any other girl. Love what you see in the mirror. Do NOT put yourself down. It is natural for us to want to look nice when we leave the house, but don’t focus on the “mirror”, focus on the person IN the mirror. Focus on the woman you are becoming and woman God is teaching and creating.
Your beauty is not only outward, but inward. You have such a kind, loving heart. You notice when people need love. You have a calming way to comfort others in a way most don’t. When you hug someone you can see in their face the calmness that it brings. USE IT! The Lord has given you this gift of “touch” for a reason. Don’t stop showing your love!
5. You are so smart. School can be challenging. It was for me! Your hard work and dedication is evident by your great grades. Certain subjects might be harder than others. Just keep working at them. Take one problem at a time, and don’t get overwhelmed with all of it, all at once. Keep up the good work, stay organized, stay focused.
6. You are not me. We are very alike, but you are your own person, entirely, completely, and fully. I know this, I promise, even when I lose sight of it. I know that one of these days you won’t need me as much anymore. Just know I’m going to be here, no matter what, S. F.
7. It is almost always never about you. What I mean is that when people act in a way that hurts or makes you feel insecure, it is almost certainly about something happening inside of them, and not about you. I struggle with this one myself, and I have tried very, very hard never once to tell you you are being “too sensitive” or to “get over it” when you feel hurt. Believe me, I know how feelings can slice your heart, even if your head knows otherwise. Jealousy is a real thing and happens more often than it should between women. If they are jealous, it means that YOU have something inside of you, that they WANT! It means YOU’RE AWESOME, AND THEY KNOW IT, AND THEY WANT IT! Never forget my words…”We will not allow anyone to decide for us, how we feel about ourselves.”
8. Boys will be boys! HAVE HIGH STANDARDS, and never apologize for having high standards! People who want to be in your life, will rise up to meet them! The Lord has the perfect man for you. He has him already picked out! Pray for him NOW, before you meet him! I prayed for your Daddy before I met him! No boy should be more important than the Lord. No boy should ask you to do things you know goes against what the Lord wants for you. You may find yourself one day questioning why Dad and I say NO to you dating a certain boy! We have seen many friends and family make the wrong choices and struggle through life. We are only doing it for you! The Lord and your Dad and I only want you to have the “perfect” life!
9. Your sister is always the first female friend, you will have. No one will be able to understand your craziness like your sister, and there will be a time when you may not be able to see each other as much as you like, but she will always be there and remain a friend for life. She will be there when you need her the most. Aunt K and I have always been close. I hope that you girls will remain close and share everything as you do now! I hope you have the relationship that Aunt K and I do. When you fight, remember, “YOU ARE FAMILY”. You don’t give up on family! Even if you KNOW the other one is wrong, apologize! Fix it! Humble yourself for the sake of your sister if you have to! You need her!
10. I am trying my best. I know I’m not good enough and not the mother you deserve. Almost every day I ask myself, “Do I want her to be like me?”…NO! I want you to be better than me! I want you be like Jesus!
11. You can talk to me about ANYTHING. I want you to. More likely, that tough thing you are going through, I’ve gone through it as well. I want to share my tips and mistakes.
12. There are smart ways to stay safe. As you get older, there are going to be more opportunities for you to be on your own, with friends, and without me by your side. As much as I would like to be with you every moment of every day, I have to let you experience life without me. (BTW, that is hard for this mom to do.)
Use the brain the Lord gave you. Lock the doors. Don’t get in a car with someone you don’t know. Look around. Look up. Pay attention. Stay with your friends. Call me or your dad if your plans change. Call me if you are ready to leave early. I’ll come ANY TIME…Day or night. Trust your gut. Trust the Lord.
13. Life doesn’t always go like you plan. “Roll with it.” We like to have a plan and we like to stick to our plans. Plans change. Life can get messy. You can “be prepared” for messy situations, but also be ready to have your world flipped upside down. What’s another one of my famous phrases? “Hope for the best. PLAN for the worst. Snack in between.“ What does that mean? It means be ready, be hopeful, and ENJOY ALL OF IT!
…And one to go on! I love you and your sister more than I could ever express. Everyday, as you know, I pray for you to have “Strength and Energy and Wisdom and Courage to deal with each situation.” Pray for those for yourself. Always tell the truth, Use kind words, Keep your promises, Laugh and Giggle, Be Positive, Love one Another, Always be grateful, Forgiveness is MANDATORY, Try new things, Say Please and Thank you, Say your Prayers, and SMILE! I love your smile! (…and your freckles 😉 )