Sunday is my oldest daughter’s birthday. Freckles turns 16. It seems surreal. I know it’s only been one year, but … saying “I have a 16 year older” feels so different from “I have a 15 year older.”
A couple of years ago, in my other blog, I wrote about her birth and how transforming it was for me. Today I want to write to her, and tell her all the things I wish someone told me when I was 16. Things I know she doesn’t want to hear today, but will be grateful for in 17 years. Maybe.
- Get enough sleep.
- Get out of the house – even if it doesn’t seem like the most fun you’ll ever have, if you’re invited out – just get out.
- Don’t stop creating. You have an amazing gift.
- Wear your seat-belt. Every time. In every car.
- Floss – I know it’s hard with your braces, but just make sure you have excellent oral health. It’s not just for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. Your heart needs healthy gums too. It’s weird. I’ll tell you all about it someday.
- Listen to that inner voice. The one that whispers so quietly you think maybe it’s nothing. It is something. If that voice is warning you (or encouraging you)… LISTEN. Women so often ignore their intuition. Don’t.
- Don’t wear too much makeup.
- Which reminds me – start a skin care routine, TODAY, and please have it include sunscreen.
- Don’t be late. Not just in professional/work situations, but also in your personal life. Your friends and family will feel honored and valued if you show up on time.
- Smile. It’s the best accessory, and your eyes light up the entire room when you smile.
- Learn to cook an amazing dish that you would feel proud to cook for “company.”
- Learn to cook a simple dish that will comfort you during times you’re eating alone.
- Love yourself – unconditionally. It is necessary to truly love another. (I just started learning this… it’s a tough one.)
- Travel. To another state. To another country. See things. Experience things.
- Don’t pick a career based on how much money you make. If you tell me you want to become a dolphin trainer, I support that!
- Which leads me to… Don’t pick a partner based on how much money he or she makes.
- Keep your space tidy and uncluttered.
- Remember you are loved. I know what you are going through with dad is painful, but it is teaching you very important lessons about love. He doesn’t love you any less than he can or should. He really IS doing the best he CAN. The lesson here is acceptance. Just accept what he can give, keep loving him, keep loving yourself, and stay in therapy.
- Never, ever, put anything on the internet that you don’t want the world seeing.
- Nothing you can say or do will make me stop loving you.
Happy Birth Day, my beautiful ray of light. You are my sunshine. I am honored to have gotten to know you as you’ve grown into a young woman, and I am so blessed to be a part of your continued growth into adulthood. This weekend I celebrate you.