These days… there are days I only see him for a meal on the run. He works harder to get what he wants than anyone I know. He’s generous to a fault. He prefers his own company to mine — as does just about everyone — and likes his sister a lot more than he’s willing to admit.
Oh my dear small… you are one smart teenager. But as you enter your 17th year, on the 17th day of this month….here are 17 things I want you to know.
1. Life can turn on a dime.
You learned this in a way that I would never have wished for and I know you know that Nothing in life is guaranteed. But remember to Never take anything for granted. Be grateful and tell your loved ones you love them — every chance you get. I will always answer you when you say GoodNight.
2. Read The Economist every week.
Make knowing what’s going on in the world a priority.
3. Don’t hold a grudge.
There have been times when I’ve been slow to forgive… and I have destroyed some pretty important relationships…. You’ll learn over time that most things that may seem absolutely outrageous in the moment are quickly forgotten. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes too. The worst thing you can be is judgmental.
4. It’s not uncool to have mom in your corner.
I will always be your number one fan (In a creepy way like that ankle hobbling chick from Stephen Kings Misery…. okay not that way) … We have had some times this year when you have really not counted me in on your plans… infact you straight up lied about plans… its okay to convince me that you are old enough to do something honestly…. it is okay to get my permission… its okay to check with me… anything you have to lie about isnt something you should be doing… Form an opinion… stand by it… convince me… this ability to disagree with people respectfully will get you far in life… and well… learning to do something against someones advice will also help… just make sure you are telling the truth
5. There’s nothing wrong with a Joint every once in awhile.
You will have oats… You will sow them… Sow them wildly. Next year… after your 18…. ha!
6. Always stay close with your sisters.
One day, they will be the only people who still remember your childhood. Ive harped on this a lot recently I know… but in our strange little family… they are all you will have when I am gone… Your nephews (and possibly soon niece) are going to need you… because they too will not have anyone to have a family reunion with… infact if your generation is going to keep any semblance of a family together… it will be on you.
7. Keep a journal.
You might think you’ll remember your favorite teachers, or who screamed like a girl during late night 5 nights at freddies…. but….Write things down. Take photos. Look back. It is important.
8. If someone tells you a secret, and asks you not to tell anyone, don’t.
Unless you should, then do. No friend is worth losing your integrity to. But all Friends deserve a secret or two kept.
9. Don’t build your worth on objects, but on experiences.
You can look around our house and tell that we’ve always valued children and vacations a lot more than nice furniture. And I’m so glad we did.
10. It is usually not about you.
As you grow older, don’t worry so much about looking a certain way. Most of the time, no one is paying attention. Really. People like to think everyone is focused on them but, in actuality, people are usually focused mostly on themselves. And if someone does something to you that’s hurtful, it’s almost certainly related to something going on in their life that has nothing to do with you. This goes for me as well… when I nag you about your eating habits… nutrition… social life… Im really saying that I hope you havent picked up on my bad habits.
11. If you need to go far, far away to pursue your dreams, then do it.
Don’t be afraid to take chances… Dont be so tied to your current plans that you dont alter them when there is an opportunity… Dont be so afraid of wasting that small college fund left by your dad… that you dont go and do the things your dad would have wanted you to do.
12. Be kind to those you meet on the way up because you may meet them again on the way down.
This is an old saying and you may find it silly. But it’s definitely true. Down the road, your behavior towards others will dictate how they behave towards you.
13. Practice the skills we’ve tried to teach you.
Before you go off Adulting on your own you must become more adept at cooking, cleaning and taking care of your finances. I know it’s a pain, but one day you’ll thank me. I think our recent adventures in a brand new adult in our home has taught you that much at least. Even if it stresses you out… charge things and pay them off… register your car… make a payment to a bank… trust me.
14. Modesty is very attractive.
A lot of moms and dads these days walk around telling their offspring how spectacular they are, and that they can do everything perfectly. As a result, many kids exude this sort of “I’m better than everyone else” self-confidence. And no doubt it’s nice to be self-confident. But being humble is what has drawn others to you, and makes you stand out, much more than pounding on your chest ever will. I hope you do not lose that “drop in the ocean” mentality…. but I also hope that you know you are the entire ocean to some people…
15. Show up for important events.
Sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend the weekend at another family party with people that you like just fine… but are not really like us, or even a Saturday afternoon at your little sister’s recital, but it’s important you do. I’ve learned the hard way that failing to show up at a major event is one of the most common reasons relationships break down. Be there for others and they’ll be there for you.
16. Attitude is a small thing that makes a very big difference.
The older I get, the more convinced I am that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. Hanging around people who complain all the time brings you down. Being positive and thinking good thoughts will help make good things happen. Attitudes are contagious. I really believe that. Do not ever complain about things unless there are actions you can take to make them change…. as I have always said… I cannot complain about politics if I dont vote…. and ofcourse I will be voting this year… because good hell.
17. Wherever you end up in life, you will always have a home so long as I am alive.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, I will always love you like crazy.
So happy 17th birthday, you quiet, smart, handsome “Destiny” fanatic. I couldn’t be more proud.