An open letter to my “kid” on her first “teen” birthday

I can’t believe it. I seriously can’t believe it.

It feels like yesterday I was putting your hair in pigtails and now you curl it on your own. I used to feed you jars of smelly baby food and now you cook for us. I used to sing you to sleep and now you’re writing your own songs.

I can’t believe that in just a short month you’re officially a teen. Thirteen.

When you were born everyone kept telling me “It will go so fast!” and “Don’t blink – she’ll be a teenager!” It was honestly really annoying. And now I’m that obnoxious person saying it to all the moms who are chasing around snotty nosed toddlers at the mall food court.

Just thinking about you makes me get all misty – like when we watch Shark Tank together and Mr. Wonderful gives some kid a great deal. But this is more than just sentimental. My little girl has grown into a beautiful young lady – and my chest gets so full of aching love that I can barely hold it in.

I know I try and fix things too much. I’m convinced that all my motherly wisdom needs to be dispensed before its too late and I realize that many times you just need me to listen. There are so many words I want to say to you and it feels like there isn’t enough time.

So here’s a letter. And you can choose when you want to read it. Or not read it. Or maybe I’ll read it to you (I know, I know, there I go again).

Frankly, I want you to know that I can’t lie and say that after middle school no one will be mean. Not true, because adults can be mean. I can’t lie and say that someday you’ll stop struggling, because I still struggle. I also can’t lie and tell you things get easier in high school, college, and marriage, because it doesn’t.

But I can tell you that mean kids taught me that everyone hurts, and although I can’t control what they say, I can control how I respond. Mean adults taught me about friendship and who I should and shouldn’t hang out with. My struggles have absolutely shown me that I have to embrace my blessings. And if things were easy, well, I wouldn’t have had you.

You know, when you were being born, I was convinced that a couple pushes would get you out. I pushed twice, looked up at your dad and said, “I’m done.” His face was priceless. You can probably imagine. Having you was so hard. But it was so worth it. 24 long hours of labor and pushing and waiting. But then you were in my arms and I would have done it all again to see your face.

The hard stuff can be rewarding if we choose it. It’s all about perspective and the way we choose to see things. I know you’ve had some hard stuff these last couple years, like losing our dog. But I’ve watched you become more compassionate toward others because you understand what it’s like to lose something you love. It was hard. But your perspective has been to tell people what a blessing Coco was to you. I’m proud of you for that.

I love you forever. To the moon and back. And from the minute I saw you until now, that love has grown so big I sometimes don’t know what to do with it. I love holding your hand in the van and our talks to and from school. I love our dates at Cebolla’s and the way you laugh every time I say, “Hey, thanks!”

I love when you plop in your bean bag chair so we can watch a show together. I love our picnics on the carpet. I love how you forget to unload the silverware (but that doesn’t mean keep doing it). I love the way you always invite the new kid to sit with you. There is so much love I want you to know you absolutely cannot lose it.

When you get in trouble, I’m trying to teach you all the things you need to know before you’re out on your own and trying to figure it out by yourself. When I make you do something over or better it’s because perseverance makes us stronger. When I make you “try that again” it’s because I understand that your heart didn’t mean to say it that way – you just need another chance. I’m never out to get you, sweet girl. I’m only out to love you in the best way possible.

That means I will definitely make super big mistakes. But I want you to know that it’s okay to make mistakes. We all mess up – but just like what we do with the hard stuff, it’s what we do with our mess-ups that counts. I will never be perfect. But instead of following me, follow me as I follow Jesus. If there’s anything good in me, it’s from Him. So that’s the guy you want to be like.

This letter is getting too long and I know you have lots of things to do, see, write, play, and dream about. I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives exploring this big world together. Just know that there’s NOTHING you could do to make me stop loving you. It is absolutely completely impossible. And when you doubt yourself, remember:

  1. Your worth is not determined by anything you do, say, wear, or accomplish, it’s determined by Him.
  2. People have lots of opinions. Always check those with the people who really love you and by God’s Word. Surround yourself with truth tellers.
  3. When you don’t like what you see in the mirror, read all the stuff God says about you. Believe that.
  4. Jump feet first into life. Don’t worry about getting dirty, messing up your hair, or impressing the boys. You won’t have to change for the man who loves you. And you can wait for him. Don’t rush it.
  5. ONE PASSION. Have one passion – Jesus. Everything else is nothing compared to Him. When He’s your only audience, the other four things on this list are easier to follow.

You are already so confident. I don’t know many middle school girls who don’t need to go to the bathroom in herds – who don’t understand WHY people have to walk down the hallway in groups. That’s you. You walk alone with your head held high. You stick up for the little guy and you speak words of truth regularly. I can’t say I was that brave when I was almost thirteen.

You’re proud of your parents. You’re proud of who you are. You’re proud of your church. You’re proud of Jesus.

And I’m proud of you.

Love you most to the moon and back,


**Check out my YouTube Channel! Kayden and I go on a Snow Day Out and I talk about the MOST IMPORTANT THING TO TEACH YOUR KIDS in the video below. Subscribe for videos posted weekly, *hopefully* on Mondays. 🙂