A Letter to My Daughter on her 13th Birthday

Last week, for the umpteenth time, I asked you what you wanted for your 13th birthday. And for the umpteenth time, you said “I really have no idea – I don’t really need ANYTHING.”

Which is kind of refreshing to hear from a soon-to-be-teenager, but not particularly helpful when you are standing on the gifting side. This conversation was not new. You’ve laughed that there is such a backlog of books on your to-be-read pile that it seemed silly to buy more right now. The craft shelf still holds a big stash of fabric for sewing projects, and you really didn’t want any new clothes. (When did you become so practical?)

For a girl with such varied interests and such a complicated mind, your wants are simple. You looked at me and said “I don’t usually know what I want until it’s too late.”

And that’s ok.

We finally decided that maybe for birthdays, experiences would be better, and agreed to decide on something SOON. (Which I will push you to decide upon, as I’m not a fan of IOUs for my children, but there we were.)

I love that you were fine in not knowing, and okay with your own indecision. You have so many interests and passions that sometimes deciding can be overwhelming, particularly in the manner of “what if I make the wrong decision”. And all I can say to that is this: just choose, because that is how life works. Sometimes we pick the right door and there’s a big surprise within, and sometimes, there’s just an empty room. At some point, you have to stop the “Eeny meenies” and just jump in – and know that we’ll be here to support you with whatever decision you make.

Where did the little girl go?

You’re growing up to be such a thoughtful, insightful, and KIND young lady. You feel deeply, give freely and ask for little in return from others while placing big demands on yourself. (And then we can lose you for hours within a book. )

In the past year, you’ve come into your own so much more. Your legs are longer, your sense of style has evolved into graphic bookish tees paired with flannel shirts (no matter the weather) and ripped jeans and high top sneakers. Thankfully, your love of crazy or mismatched socks is still totally you.

We see you.

With that has come more of the closed bedroom door and flaring tempers and frustrations that we don’t understand you. We know. And while we won’t always understand, we promise that we will listen and we will try our best to understand. (It’s hard to imagine but we have been there ourselves, and we just have to remind ourselves how hard it is.)

We see your perfectionism and wish you could let yourself breathe more, that “good enough” might be a little less that your own “good enough”. And I have faith that you will get there. Some day, that same determination is going to take you far. Don’t beat yourself up so much in the meantime.

Sweet girl, we love the pthere are moments when it feels like we don’t like you very much. Know that we probably don’t like a tone, or a response, or an attitude – but that never dims the love we feel for you. We will always have your back, ever and always.

Ever and always.

Happy 13th birthday, sweet girl.

We can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for you.

13th birthday

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