To my beautiful daughter on her thirteenth birthday,
I can’t believe that thirteen years have gone by already. The thought of you being a teenager excites and terrifies me all at the same time. You have been ready to turn thirteen for quite some time now – I’m the one who is struggling to accept that you are officially a teenager. In five year short years, you will be heading off to college and ready to conquer the world.
As much as I wish life had a pause button, I know that you have to prepare your wings to fly. As you embark on this brand new chapter in your life, promise me that you won’t rush these next five years. Be thirteen for a while. Enjoy the little things, my Love – all too soon they will become the big things.
You have always been determined and fiercely independent. You are incredibly bright and much more mature than I was at your age, but you don’t know everything, and you don’t need to have it all figured out now that you’re a teenager. You have so much more life ahead of you.
I have traveled paths you have yet to walk and learned some valuable lessons along the way. Now, as you transition from childhood into teenage bliss, I share my pearls of wisdom with you – thirteen, to be exact. I realize that the majority of what I say will effortlessly flow in through one ear and out the other or that you’d rather be listening to music or texting your friends. However, I hope that even if these words seem corny, boring, or useless, you will keep them tucked away and refer to them whenever life seems challenging or confusing. Every once in a while, I need these reminders too…
1. FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF FIRST
There’s no such thing as perfect, and it won’t be until you accept and love yourself the way you are, that you will truly be free. The relationship that you have with yourself will set the tone for every other relationship you have. You have plenty of time to find love one day. Right now, your priorities are yourself and your education. Focus on these and everything else will fall into place.
The relationship that you have with yourself will set the tone for every other relationship you have.
2. SPEAK UP!
Find your voice and don’t be afraid to use it. Never live in silence. The world needs your point of view. Remember to say what you mean and mean what you say, but be careful with your words – once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.
3. IT TAKES NOTHING TO JOIN THE CROWD. IT TAKES EVERYTHING TO STAND ALONE
There will be times when you are faced with choices that go against your beliefs or values. Stand tall, Darling. I promise your peers will respect you more for having the courage to say “no.” You know that little voice you have inside, the one that tells you when something doesn’t feel right? It’s called your intuition – listen to it. Always. Choose your friends wisely for they will be a reflection of you – bad company corrupts good character.
4. NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT
Let’s face it, kids can be cruel, especially girls. You may not understand why they’re being mean to you – just know that it will have nothing to do with you, but almost always because of something going on in their own lives. Stand up for yourself, but try your best to take the high road even when it’s hard. It takes more courage and strength to be the bigger person and you’ll have far less regrets. Trust me. Most importantly, let the only words that truly matter be the ones you tell yourself.
5. MAMA SAID THERE’D BE DAYS LIKE THIS
There will be moments where it may seem like it’s the end of the world – it’s not. With time, things will get better, so keep your chin up, Buttercup. So far, I have survived 100% of my worst days, and so will you. I promise. We don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges. Say to yourself, “This too shall pass” and “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” And remember, there are people who would love to have your bad days.
I have survived 100% of my worst days, and so will you.
6. PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES
Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and a pretty soul. Your words, how you carry yourself, and how you make others feel will define you, not what size clothing you wear, how much you weigh, or what you have in your closet. What you put out in the world will come back to you ten-fold… the good and the bad. Always be kind – you never know what battle someone may be facing. Throw kindness around like confetti. 😉
7. IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES
You’re going to make them, and when you do there is always a lesson to be learned. Own your mistakes and learn from them. Remember, honesty is always the best policy. The “sting” of getting into trouble for telling the truth is always less painful than getting caught in a lie. Every day is an opportunity to be better than you were the day before.
8. BE A FLAMINGO IN A FLOCK OF PIGEONS
Standing out can seem a bit terrifying when it seems like everyone is just trying to fit in. You are beautiful and perfect just the way God made you, my Love. Don’t ever change or compromise who you are to conform to others’ expectations of who you should be – your uniqueness is what will set you apart from everyone else. You are you, and that is your power.
9. KNOW YOUR WORTH
Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, followers, or shares, but your ability to give and receive love and your desire to make a difference in this world. You are so loved and completely lovable. Surround yourself with people who see your value and remind you of it. Know what you deserve and never settle for less. You are more than enough.
10. SELF-CONFIDENCE IS THE BEST OUTFIT: ROCK IT AND OWN IT
Always take pride in representing yourself in the best possible light, and believe in yourself even when it’s not easy. You are smarter than you think, stronger than you seem, braver than you believe, and twice as beautiful than you’d ever imagined. If you believe this, others will too.
11. YOUR ONLY LIMIT IS YOU
Be bold and never let fear rule your life. The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had. Run after the things that make your heart burst, and never give up when you’re faced with doubt, disappointments, or defeat. Your talents and gifts were given to you by God, so shine your light without apology or hesitation. You have something to offer this world, so dream big, Baby Girl!
12. ALL YOU NEED IS FAITH, TRUST, AND A LITTLE PIXIE DUST
Remember to love God with all of your heart and always put Him first in your life. When your heart is anxious, pray without ceasing, always lean into His word, and believe His promises – He will make your paths straight.
13. BE THAT GIRL
Be that girl who wakes up with intent and purpose. Be that girl who shows up and never gives up, who believes anything is possible and is willing to work for it. Be that girl who makes everybody feel like a somebody.
So, Happy Thirteen, my Sweet Girl! Your smile and your attitude shine brightly on all of those around you – the world is a better place because you’re in it. As you continue to grow, my love will be growing right alongside you. I will always be on your side, especially on the days when it doesn’t feel like it. I am beyond proud of the young woman you are becoming. May God protect you, guide you, and bless you. I love you more than sleeping in, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and glitter.
From my heart to yours,