Letter to my daughter on her 13th birthday

My dearest Maya

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! How is it possible that you are 13?! It’s like I’ve fallen into a wormhole, a rift in the space time continuum, a singularity – how can you already be a teenager while dad and I haven’t aged a bit! It’s a scientific mystery!

It seems like only yesterday you were troubling your brother and kicking the soccer ball with your friends and messing up your spelling and leaving your clothes all over the place and complaining about your hair….oh wait, that actually was yesterday! Bloody hell!

You started school a couple of days ago – 8th grade – one more year to high school, 3 more years and you’ll be driving, 5 more years and you’ll be in college – I can’t even. BTW, when you do get to college, don’t ever email your professors and call them “Hey”!

Anyway, one of your first assignments in 8th grade was to write a short biography about yourself. And this is what you wrote in answer to the question – What or who influences you the most at this point in your life? Why?

My mom influences me the most because she is the smartest person I know. Also she is one of those people that you could tell anything to. And she doesn’t care what people think about her. My mom is a very funny person, so everytime your with her I garentee she will make you laugh. I hope that one day I will be like her because she is an amazing person.

influences

This floored me – it rendered me speechless for almost an entire two minutes – which, as you know, in my world is practically an eternity. Then I cried like a friggin’ grown-up baby-toddler hybrid – not pretty sparkling movie crying, but snotty, raspy, phlegmy sobs.

Then, a couple of hours later, I realized that I was going to have to be in therapy for the rest of my life for parental guilt over smacking you when you were younger, and yelling at you when you were learning to read, and getting mad at you for the times that you dawdled. And I couldn’t help but be a little impressed by your diabolical mind – well played Maya, well played indeed!

Then a few hours later I noticed it should have been you’re and guarantee and ‘to whom you can tell anything’…. and I scheduled some more therapy because clearly, I am a monster!

But sweetheart, don’t aspire to be like me – because everyday I fall short and you are already so much better.

  • You are not quick to anger. You have a nice slow fuse. You’re also quiet and shy – two things I cannot claim to even have a passing acquaintance with!
  • You are very confident about what you like and what you don’t. Your weird sensory issues that I don’t get at all means that you will reject perfectly fine new clothes if they have something that rubs your skin the wrong way – a tag, a piece of embroidery, a fleck of glitter! Try finding traditional Indian clothes that are soft and embroidery or glitter free for young girls – they don’t exist!
  • You’re more apt to choose to kick around a soccer ball than curl up with good book. Books have always been important to me, so to have a daughter who isn’t as enthralled with books as I am has been a bit of a challenge. But you are way stronger and athletic while I have the muscle tone of a comatose sloth.
  • You are artistic. You love to draw and sketch and color. You understand proportions and perspectives. I couldn’t draw my way out of a paper sack! The two things I always drew in art class were houses and flowers – and really only the houses were any good!
  • You genuinely love people – there isn’t a misanthropic bone in your body. You love hanging out with friends and family. And yet, you are equally comfortable by yourself and in your own skin – that’s something I still struggle with.

And you are softhearted and you stress about things like doing well at school and meeting your parents’ expectations. So here’s a little tip: there are only two things you have to do consistently to make me and your dad happy – just two:

  1. Come home safely at the end of the day
  2. Be happy

That’s it. Whether you are outgoing or an introvert, a scientist or a naturopath, play soccer or never kick a ball again, shave your head, get a tattoo, pierce your belly button, become a wiccan – we are absolutely fine with – we will support you in any and all these endeavors. Just be happy and be safe.

It is NOT your job to stress out about making us proud – you do that everyday. It is MY job to make sure that you have all the love and support and encouragement to become a strong and confident and completely self assured human. It is MY job to make sure that you are surrounded by kindness and learn to see the good in people.

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for with bated breath………wise, sage advice from your mother……here goes…… don’t worry about being anything other than your own true self…unless you can be a pirate ninja….in that case then by all means, be a pirate ninja!

Also, don’t be afraid of the unknown. New friends, new situations –  try new things. You may fail – but you may succeed too. And you can learn from both. Fight your allergy to surprises! Step outside of your comfort zone because that’s the way to grow. Remember, you can’t control what other people think of you, all you have control over is your own attitude. Choose to be friendly and approachable. Choose to be kind. Choose to be fearless. Anwitchesyoucouldntburnd then let the chips fall where they may.

And when you get nervous or apprehensive or unsure of yourself – which I do too, like, all the time – think of this picture. Yes, I know she’s half naked Maya!! Get over it! It’s the quote that’s of consequence: we are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn! 

And now, as I have done in the years before, here are your favorite songs this year.

 

So happy birthday my love – welcome to the whacky wild world of teenage-dom! Keep your hands and feet inside the ride vehicle at all times!

I will love you forever,

Mom

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