Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letter to my daughter, the freshman

Dear Sonya,

Tomorrow you begin high school.  You are my baby girl and the last of my children to pass this milestone so I want to take this time to give you some advice for high school.  Hopefully, some of this will stick and hopefully, you'll even carry this on past high school.

High school doesn't last forever.  There will be days when you think it will never end but someday you'll look back and wonder where the time went.  Enjoy every second of it.  Yes, every second.  Even the pop quizzes and embarrassing moments you're bound to have.  It helps to shape your grown up self and you'll cherish the memories later.  Have fun and don't take it too seriously, it's only high school.

Some people will try to tell you that these are the best years of your life.  I sure as hell hope they're not.  I want your high school years to be fun but I want so much more for you.  I want you to go to (and finish) college.  I want you to travel and see other parts of the world.  I want you to have an exciting career doing something you love.  Later, I want you to experience marriage and children but I want you to have a whole lot of fun before then.  I want you to live for you before you take on the role of wife and mother.

You will fail at some things during high school and it won't mean the end of the world.  You might not make everything you try out for but don't stop trying.  Half of the fun is in the trying.  Try something new - something the rest of your group isn't in to - make it your own.  Break away from your group now and then and experience some of your high school years with new people.

Some people might be mean to you.  Don't take it personally.  Cut them some slack.  You have no idea what they are going through at home.  Brush it off if they make fun of you or give you a dirty look.  Remember, you don't have to attend every argument you're invited to.

Don't be a mean girl!  If you are having a bad day and you're an asshole to someone - apologize the next day.  Trust me, this practice will come in handy later in life.  It's OK to be in a bad mood sometimes - just don't let it carry on the next day.  On the flipside, if someone is an asshole to you and apologizes, let them off the hook - as long as this is not a cycle that continues every day or week.  If so, there is no reason for that person to be in your life. 

Don't be afraid to admit it if you're wrong.  You may know with absolute certainty that Harry Stiles' favorite food is pizza and you get in a terrible fight with your best friend because you just know you're right.  Then you find out that his favorite food is actually tacos - admit your wrong.  It only hurts for a minute, I promise.  Don't be a know it all!

Don't talk badly about anyone, especially your friends.  Find the good in people.  It's there, if you just look.  Be careful with your secrets.  Your best friend today may be your worst enemy next year and she just may try to use your secrets against you.  Instead share your secrets with your mom:)  I promise I'll try not to judge - if I do - remind me that I promised you I wouldn't judge.

Don't get mad at someone (brother, sister, family friend) if they tell me if you're doing something that might seriously hurt you - like drinking and driving, drugs, etc.  It will be for your own good.  If someone tries to tell me something about you that won't seriously hurt you - I will tell them to mind their own business.  I don't need to know everything you do but if your life is at risk, no friendship or sibling relationship is worth the cost.

Give compliments freely.  Every one could use a compliment now and then.  If you see someone with a cool bracelet or a cute shirt, tell them.  If someone does something nice for you, say thank you!  It goes a long way.  Some adults could learn from that, even some adults in your family.  More people should say thank you!

For the love of God, date more than one person in high school!  Please do not think you will get married to your high school sweetheart!  Give me a break!  Give yourself a break!  Give that poor boy a break!!!  Don't only go for the cute jock - give the average nerd a chance.  How will you ever know your type if you only ever date one type of guy?  Friendship is the foundation of love so be careful when you friendzone someone:)

Be friends with all kinds of people, regardless of their looks, social status, or GPA.  Each person brings something different to the table and you can learn so much from other people.  Be friendly, talk to everyone, and don't forget to stop talking and listen now and then.

Confidence is 99% of any journey.  Be confident.  Be strong.  Be assertive, not aggressive.  Be respectful.  Be brave.  Be kind to people, all people.  Be honest but not to the point of being hurtful.  You can always find a way to be honest with someone without having to hurt their feelings.  If you have to sugarcoat something to save someone's feelings, do it.  A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins)

Those people who seem like they have it all together - they just don't.  Believe me, there is something they're missing or something they're worried about.  Even the "in" crowd doesn't think they fit in sometimes.  Unless they're Regina George - then they're just a bitch and need to get over themselves - but even Regina was missing something in her life - don't you remember her mom?  She had concrete boobs for goodness sake!

Love your dad.  This is important.  I know you're not exactly a Daddy's Girl and I know your dad is not always the easiest person to get along with.  I know he acts like he knows it all and he's rough and loud and embarrassing sometimes but that man loves you - probably more than anything on this earth.  Your dad's knees buckled and he had tears in his eyes the moment you were born.  He will protect you, above all else, until his dying day.  All he really wants is to know that he has been a good dad (and sometimes that means being a mean dad.)  He needs to know you love him and he needs to feel appreciated from time to time.  He does a lot for us, you know.  A hug and and I-Love-You from his baby girl every now and then will go a long way, trust me.  It will melt his heart and make him go a little easier on you.  Don't wait for him to show his affection because he was never really taught to do that.  I've been trying to teach him for years and it's just now sinking in a little but don't wait on him to make the first move.  Just randomly show him that you appreciate him - go up and give him a hug for no reason - send him a text that says I love you, Dad (and not just when he lets you go somewhere or gives you an extra $20.)  Your dad isn't always the kindest man on the planet but that man will always support you, always defend you against anyone or anything and always, always love you with all his heart.  There is no one I'd rather have on my side and I truly mean that.

This has gone on long enough and now I have tears in my eyes.  You probably need to get ready for your first day of high school, little girl.  I love you so much, Sonya.  You won't have a genuine understanding of how much I love you until you have children of your own.  I know you are not perfect.  I know you'll make some mistakes and some of them will be boneheaded mistakes, just please be careful.  You only have one life - don't take life too seriously but give it the respect it deserves.  Always carry my love in your heart and your dad's voice in the back of your mind telling you to do the right thing! 

Remember, high school doesn't last forever.  You'll get through the bad days and you'll cherish the good days.  Take it for all it's worth!  Learn all you can from these years - have a ton or fun - make new friends - don't participate in the drama - don't accept fake friends - be true to yourself - you are worth it!

Love, Mom