It’s so fucking hard to believe you’re turning 16 today.
Apparently… when I blinked, your little blond mancub self… who used to spend hours catching grasshoppers and swimming and music has grown into a tall…kind.. thoughtful… smart teenager who loves games and girls…
I know this journey hasn’t been easy.
I know your dad and I (especially I!) have made mistakes… but we have done our best… I promise to continue to do so.
It’s not easy figuring out what should be said and done and those words that should remain unsaid and the actions that should remain undone.
Because sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to stay back and let the lesson teach itself… I am so sorry about your dad not being here.
There have been a couple of close calls–a few times I felt my heart in my throat.
When you chased your sister and her friends around the block… with myself and some neighbor lady trying to catch you… when you got past the dead bolt for the first time… when the lump formed on your neck… and later when they wheeled you away to surgery to remove it….when you broke your leg… when the scuba gear sank you like a lead weight…. when your dad died…
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell you what I want you to know. Many times… we don’t see eye-to-eye. Sometimes… I don’t do well when I’m put on the spot. Sometimes (most times), I do better in writing. So here goes.
I know you think you have it figured out. Life, I mean.
And in many ways, you do. You get good grades, you get along with your peers, you love music and your viola,. You feel things deeply… and injustice bothers you.
These are all attributes that make me proud of you.
Please–never fail to listen when somebody older and wiser tries to give you advice… Let the BFG offer to help with math… You don’t always have to take it (many times you shouldn’t!), but listen to those who care enough to try to help.
In just a few years, you’ll be going off to college– Now you are driving without me… making decisions on your own.
I’m not worried about that. Well shit… I do worry a little, but I think you’ll be fine.
Your moral standards will hold. I know it may sound cliché but I’m going to say it anyway… follow your heart. Follow your conscience. It’s kept you kind and compassionate.
One thing I do worry about: I want you to make time for friends. I know you are introverted and it’s easier to stay by yourself … but you have so much to offer others: your sense of humor… your knowledge of current events… your integrity… your wit. You’re so funny!
Please, don’t sell yourself short. Shoot for the stars! Set high goals. It’s okay to not always succeed — sometimes falling is part of the process. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Sometimes, you’ll get told “No.” Even though it stings, it’s not the end of the world. If it’s important to you, keep trying…don’t let one person (or opportunity) hold you back. Never let YOU be the one to hold yourself back.
When you do win…know you deserved it. Nobody can say you didn’t.
I’m your mom, and I love you more than I can say… more than there are words to write…and I can’t wait to see how you’re going to shake up this world of ours.
It’s going to be beautiful.