Oh my amazing little(big) Doodle. You have turned 13 and you are an amazing teenager already. As we move forward into these teen years, Josh and I want you to know 13 important things that you can take with you everywhere you go, especially through your next few teen years.
1. You are worth the world.
If you forget anything in high school, as a teenager, in your life, please always remember that you have a worth that cannot be measured in jewels or diamonds. That you are precious, you are special and you have more potential than you can even begin to imagine. Our Savior gave his life for YOU, because YOU are so worth it.
2. We will always love you. No matter what happens, where you go in this life, what you do; Josh and I will always love you and be there for you. You are deserving of that love. There will be times in these next few years you deny it, that you forget our love, that you detest and feel even angry at it…but it’s always going to be there. There is nothing you can do to lose our love.
3. There is nothing you can do to lose God’s love either. If you’re anything like me(which I hope you’re not), there will be things in the next couple years that make you feel like God has left or forgotten you. This isn’t true. He loves you: every single wrong choice, every single mistake, every regret: He loves you.
4. There will be times you hate us. And that’s okay. Boundaries will be pushed. You will believe you deserve more freedom, we will say no, you will be angry. It’s already happened a few times and I know you don’t understand why we don’t allow some things sometimes. That’s okay. I promise we’re just doing what we think is best.
5. We trust you; we don’t trust the people you’re around. I know we seem insane, obsessive and overprotective when it comes to social media sites and what we will allow you to do. It’s not that we don’t trust you. We do. But I’ve seen and heard too many stories of people hurting others or taking advantage of them on social media sites. I’m sorry if this makes you feel like we don’t believe in you. I promise-we do.
6. I love what you like, even if I don’t like what you like. I know, we are two different people. At 13, I had crushes on boys, I wanted make up and brand name clothes, I loved Harry Potter and horses and I don’t think I had ever held a real comic book. You are so unlike me. You are a comic book nerd, a fierce competitor for all things weird. And I love that about you. I love how true you are to yourself and your interests. Even if we don’t know always agree on what we want to watch, I will always respect what you like. Except, seriously, please stop making me watch Adventure Time. Please.
7. Always be as open with Josh as you are now. I can’t lie, some days I get a little jealous that he hears your fears, dreams, jokes and everything before I do. It’s been rough on me to know you would rather talk to him before me. But at the same time-it makes me so very happy you have him. And that you guys have such a beautiful bond. Please don’t lose that. Keep making him hear the uncomfortable questions about periods, or your out there thoughts on what kind of pet we need this year.
8. You are the best big sister I could have ever wanted for the other kids.
And that comes from the other best big sister ever. There is nothing I enjoy more than to watch you out there in the yard, fooling around with your brothers and sister. I love hearing you tickling Bug and the laughter that follows. You are such a great big sister. Someday soon, you won’t want to play with them. You’ll get angry that we ask you to baby sit. It’s okay, I remember those teen years well. Just keep in mind they look up to you so very much and love you.
9. School is important-but your education is not everything. There will be times when your homework and after school things come in first. They should never come before your sanity, your happiness, your health. If we ever start to forget about that, remind us. We will push you to do the best you can-and your best will always be good enough.
10. Dating is so overrated. I’m not saying this because Josh may be a little scary to the boys you start dating-though he will be. I’m telling you this because I never want you to put a dating relationship over your friends or yourself. The boys you can date will be there until you’re 30(which is the appropriate time to date or get married!). Enjoy high school while it lasts; don’t waste all your time or energy on dating.
11. You are beautiful however you choose to look, because your beauty radiates from within you. You can wear black lipstick. You can have purple hair(oh, wait, you do.) You can wear any kind of clothes you want. You are beautiful no matter what, as long as you feel beautiful.
12. High school probably won’t be the best years of your life. College may not be either. Or they could be. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make these the best years of your life. Try to just enjoy them the best you can, enjoy the sports and clubs you join. Have fun. Seriously. Life is a blast if you let it be.
13. Always fight to grow your faith. I love watching you actively pursuing Christ. I love how you want to go to youth group, how you fight to get to bible studies. I love how you allow church to infiltrate every area of your life. Your faith is one I am possibly even jealous of some days. It’s such a beautiful part of you.
I know we all have a lot of room to grow and challenge each other over your years left in our home. You aren’t technically our first teenager, but you are the one we get to experience every step of the way with. I can’t wait to see what the next seven years of Doodle bring forward. And I can’t wait to take each leap and bound with you. I can’t wait for SATs, driving lessons, proms, and all that jazz. I can wait for the late night worries, the first boyfriends(I know, you had one in fourth grade…), and the broken hearts. We are so blessed to get to experience life with you.
Happy Birthday, Doodle. Enjoy your teenage years! Be kind to us!