My sweet Lea, on Sunday you turned 13. The years have gone by in a flash. You know every year when your birthday comes along I get a bit sentimental. As my first born; your entrance into this world has been dramatic. Needless to say, mothering you for the past 12 years has been easy. But now you have entered a new phase in your life. I think I prepared you more for this phase than mentally preparing myself. In all honestly, I was still in denial. Until Google reminded me that you can now have full control over your own account. That was enough affirmation for me. Daughter of mine, you are officially a teenager.
The outpouring of well wishes and support that I received from parents of teenagers has been overwhelming and it left me feeling a bit anxious. On the other hand, your dad has been taking things in his stride. To him it seems like no big deal. Perhaps; it is because nothing much has changed.
Your transition from tween to teen has been a delight and the changes has been subtle. Except for the odd zit or two in your face and your total annoyance with it; there has been no real hormonal surges.
For now there has been no complications and difficulty. No moods, no flared up tempers, tears and lashing outs. I am yet to experience a slamming room door and rolling eyes. You haven’t pushed us away at all. In fact you still enjoy spending time with us. You not trying to be sexy too soon, have no interest in boys and make up.
Have we gotten off lightly as your parents or are we still in for a hell of a ride? I know it is still early days and so much can still change. The thing is I am trying to stay positive and I am hoping that the next 6 years will not be taken on with difficulty. Hell who am I kidding as you still have a sister who will soon enter the tween phase.
But I know that you are growing up and that things as it is now will not always remain the same. You will learn and I expect you to make mistakes. As your parents we will have to let go in order for you to gain your independence. However we will set boundaries. It will be difficult and we will not stop worrying about your safety. The world is a scary place with so much happening – especially in our country.
Just like you are trying to figure things out, this is a new parenting journey for us and we will not always get things right. There will be times when we will struggle to comprehend and we will agree to disagree.
People will come onto your path who will influence you – some good and some bad. My wish for you is that you stay true to your values and beliefs. Just like we will set boundaries; we want you to set your own boundaries. Choose your friends wisely; those who will uplift, encourage and bring value into your life.
Do not base your identity on branded clothing, what you see in magazines or in the media. I know that it is difficult as society places so much pressure on young people to live up to certain standards. You will experiment, be curious and compare but know that comparison is the thief of joy. Be your authentic self. Forge a strong and positive identity based on your own opinions, beliefs and feelings.
Seek God in everything you face in life – the dark times, the disappointments, the heartache, the hurdles, the achievements, the joys. Pray for guidance and give thanks for what He has done.
No matter what happens; know that as your parents we are here for you. We are here to love and support you as you try to discover yourself, take on new opportunities and navigate your way through the challenges.
Daughter of mine, you are officially a teenager. I still can’t freakin believe it. As you enter this journey of so many unknowns; I am confident that you will flourish.
Love you always!!