In honor of her special day, I give you, The Letter:
You're sixteen and I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday that you were that chubby baby with the loudest squeals of delight. You've never been afraid to show your feelings, whether you were happy or very, very unhappy. Whatever the case, everyone around you knew how you were feeling.
You've come a long way since then. Now you're the TALL, skinny, muscular, athletic one who turns shy when you're around people you don't know.
You and your mom butt heads about stuff, but don't worry, that's normal. She loves you very much but sometimes you both need some time away from each other.
I'm not going to lie to you, life at sixteen can be hard. There are a lot of decisions that you have to make. And sometimes it seems like everyone is against you. Please know that that's not the case. We're just looking out for you. We love you.
There are a lot of new and exciting things going on in life. You're a sophomore now...no longer a lowly freshman. You're in cross country (you're a great runner). And you'll be driving soon. Yikes!
That last one scares me the most. Every time you get behind the wheel of that car, my stomach will drop. For you, though, it will be the most exciting day of your life when you finally get that drivers license in hand and you take off for a friends house or the mall. The feeling of independence is amazing and I can't wait for you to experience that.
As the aunt of a sixteen year old there are a few things I could do without:
- the attitude
- eye rolling
- yelling at your brothers
- being a know-it-all
You're a great kid and (believe it or not) your mom and I are always saying that. We're very blessed that you're such a caring, empathetic, kind-hearted person. You care a great deal about other people and it shows.
You are a rule abider. With you, it's either black or it's white. There is no gray area. That's both a blessing and a curse.
I'm your aunt and you can trust me with all your secrets.
As you soar towards adulthood, my advice to you is this:
- Be comfortable in your own skin. You're the only you and you are amazing!
- Be a leader, not a follower.
- Be confident.
- Be passionate. Find out what you love to do and do it.
- Dream big.
- Don't be afraid to speak your mind. Your opinion matters.
- Mistakes are okay. Learn from them.
- Always be honest with yourself.
That's it baby. That's all I got.
Even though I didn't give birth to you, I feel like you're partly mine. I love you with all my heart. I'm absolutely giddy with excitement for all the fun/cool things that you're going to experience in the next few years. You deserve everything wonderful that comes your way. Embrace them!
P.S. If I ever see (or hear about) you driving without your seatbelt on, you can kiss your car privileges goodbye.
Here are some photos I thought you might like: