Emilia, today we start the second official year of your time as a teenager.
I remember multiple people warning me about the teen years when you were a baby. The implication was that teens are rude and reckless — and that they allow those characteristics to rule their moods and interactions with others, specifically their parents.
I’m finding that those warnings are half true. Yes, the teen years are tough but not because of anything you’ve done or things that you pick for yourself. The contrary is actually true; the forces that make these years difficult are generally things out of your control. The teenage years are fast and furious but not because of the humans living them.
I’m also realizing how much changes in the childhood experience in just the span of a generation. There are a lot of pressures and angst that I see in you and your siblings that I remember and relate to well. There are others that were not even on the radar when I was growing up (I got my first cell phone in college). I’m finding that though there is much to worry about when it comes to what teens can access and what they have to face, there’s also a lot happening that encourages me for you and your future.
I see you making choices and speaking out in ways that I was incapable of doing before my adult years. I see you unafraid to be who you are during a life phase when I was hiding in the back of classrooms, hoping no one would notice me.
But perhaps the most impressive to me is the way you show your vulnerability. This year especially you’ve been able to ask for help when you needed it most — from me, from your friends, from your teachers. I know from my own experience that sometimes asking for the help you need takes every ounce of strength you have, and I’m proud of you for doing it.
Emilia, from our first moments together, I knew I was holding a really special person in my arms. Each and every day of these 14 years together has further proved it. You make me laugh, you teach me things, and you hold me accountable as a mother and human. You encourage me to follow my own dreams and remind me of all the ways I too can keep showing up to this life, as authentically me.
The time seems to be slipping by too quickly but I can’t wait to meet the you that will continue to emerge as you grow. Happy birthday, Emilia.