My son is all grown up, yet stuck in this weird phase between being a little boy and beginning a new phase as a teen. He no longer orders from the kids’ menu, counts as an adult at amusement parks, and I shop for him in the men’s section. But he is still developing and maturing; he still hasn’t quite become a young man, but is quickly getting there.
As my son celebrates his 13th birthday at the end of the month, here are 13 things I want him to know:
1. Yes, parents don’t know everything.
But they know more than you can imagine.
2. It’s okay to not fit in.
Don’t try to be somebody you’re not because you’ll only feel worse.
3. Whatever arguments your parents might have, they have nothing to do with you.
There is nothing you can do to prevent or solve disagreements between adults.
4. Try your best.
Always. It will give you peace of mind.
5. Mistakes don’t define you …
… even if they do define a certain moment in your life.
6. Feeling angry, sad, or powerless at times is okay.
Don’t fight those feelings, but rather find a way to get to a better place.
7. Nobody will remember in twenty years whether you were first pick or last choice to be on a team.
So don’t sweat it.
8. Needing is different from wanting.
Learn the difference and don’t forget it.
9. Don’t be scared of failure.
All setbacks have the potential to become something positive, even if they hurt.
10. Hang in there when life gets dark.
It really is darkest before the dawn.
11. I will always be at arm’s length in case you need me.
Even when you want to be alone, and especially when you don’t realize you need me.
12. Choose your friends wisely.
The best ones will bring you so much joy. The worst will only bring you down, and keep in mind that you can’t rescue others from the bad choices they make.
13. I love you.
No matter what you do. No matter what you say. I might not always agree with you and we even might not like each other all the time, but I will always love you for being you.