You are right. Fourteen does sound older.
People always told me that when you were little that it would happen fast but life felt so constant and blurry and sleep deprived then that it was so hard to believe them. But now I see. I see you. Life is still constant and blurry and sleep deprived now but now my baby girl is tall enough to meet my gaze.
I need you to believe me on something really important. I need you to know that I am so insanely proud of you. There will be moments in your teen years that I know that you are going to question that. Don’t. That pride is a constant that has always been there. Always will be.
I need you to know that you are smart and strong and beautiful and kind and you have this way of observing the world and taking it on with tenacious grace. You glow on the stage. I am in awe of you. You have been a wonder to watch, kid.
I need you to know that I remember what it felt like to be fourteen. I remember what it felt like to not want to grow up while simultaneously wanting more than anything to grow up. I remember eighth grade, feeling on the cusp of longing for everything this boundless big bountiful world had to offer. Half of me terrified. Half of me electrified. Your teen years are such a chemistry elixir of fear and joy and excitement and confusion and laughter and what a priceless time in life to just embrace and take it in. Remember who you surround yourself to take in the journey matters. Don’t hold on to anyone toxic for the sake of an image, or to have a certain number of Instagram followers. You are too good for that. Hold on to the great ones. The real ones. The soul lifters, the ones that bring out your best you and make you laugh with wild abandon. It doesn’t matter if there are only a few of them. Quality always trumps quantity my love. If you are lucky enough to have a few best friends to ride this life with, you are lucky.
I need you to know that I am here. I have you. I am your sounding ear, your advocate, your teacher, your person. No one will ever love you like your momma will. I am your friend but please know that before and above that, I am responsible for you to be a good human. And that sometimes means that I have to make hard choices that you are going to strongly dislike me for. Especially in these teen years. But I have to protect you. That is what being a parent is. The other glorious part of that though is that my love for you is deeper than you will ever know. So that is why I want you to blame me. If ever you are in a situation that you are uncomfortable in, YOU BLAME ME. When you don’t have any other words, you tell them, I can’t- my mom is crazy/would be livid/fill in the blank. I HAVE YOU. Text me and I will pick you up anytime, anywhere. I will pick up your friends. I would rather you blame me all day and tell your classmates that I have to pick you up for any reason at all than for you give in and stay in a situation where you are pressured to anything that you do not want to do.
I need you to trust your gut. That inner voice inside of you that tells you when something seems off. That voice speaks volumes. Sometimes it shouts. Sometimes it whispers. My girl that is your instinct and it is your compass and it knows what feels right and wrong and I need you to listen to it. It will guide you in this life, I can promise you that.
I need you to know that you are a gift to this world.
And I can’t even thank you enough for the journey that you have given me this far.
And I am beaming from the sidelines for the journey ahead.
You make me rise.
I love you fiercely dear child.
Happy, happy birthday.
Katie’s essay and tangent collection about motherhood, life and imperfection, Happy Broken Crayons is available on Amazon now. Thank you for reading. You are the (queen) bees knees. Happy happy holidays and happy happy new year to you. In setting your hopes for 2018, please think about your word. I can’t wait to hear it. Xoxo
To read more blogs by Katie Moore click here.
Katie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, real estate agent, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled “Dream a Bigger Dream” and the children’s books “You Are a Warrior” and “We are Family” and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.