Today you are 12 years old. Every year when I sit down to write your birthday letter I marvel at how quickly the time has gone and this year is no different. When you were a baby I could not believe how quickly you were growing and would sit and cry every month when I’d look back at the previous month’s pictures (because you are the first and we actually took pictures of you on a regular basis, unlike your poor sister who doesn’t even have a page of her baby book filled out, but really this is all about you so never mind…), but now you’re 12 and again I am marveling at how quickly time is passing.
When school started this year and I was sending you off to the big, bad Middle School I made the comment about how in a mere six years you would be starting your Senior year. You laughed and said, “But Mom, that’s FOREVER from now!” and I shook my head and said, “No, Ab. Look at how fast the last 11 have gone.” You rolled your eyes (I swear if they make eye-rolling an Olympic event you and your sister will take the gold and silver) and said, “Whatever” but trust me it has flown.
You are an amazing kid, Ab. You are smart and funny and have made sarcasm an art form, but at the same time you are respectful and polite and truly care about others. You have made being a tween look easy. I remember the angst I went through at your age and honestly, was dreading this age with you for that very reason. I have to continually remind myself that you are more like your daddy and therefore take life in stride. THANK GOD. You are your own person, you have the most amazing self-esteem I have ever seen and you love yourself. If you can keep these things up throughout your entire life, girl, you have it made. I admire the fact that you are not swayed by the crowd, the “norm” means nothing to you and you do what makes you happy because well….it makes you happy. I love that about you. That and the fact that I now there is someone in the family that loves scary movies as much as I do.
While you are sometimes (okay, most of the time) angry with your siblings, there’s a kindness in you that few see because you do it so quietly. Like last year when you gave Nicole your Valentines because you knew she didn’t have any. And when Nicole got hold of our cell phone number last week, even though she’s a hard person to like, you answered the phone and talked to her because you know she just wants to be liked by someone, anyone. While the rest of the girls in your class are scared of her because she’s rough, tough and mean you have realized that she really just wants to be accepted, she just doesn’t know how. You don’t belittle her or avoid her; you are kind when others aren’t. Please don’t ever lose that sense of compassion. So many people never had it to begin with and if they did, they’ve abandoned it.
You are beautiful, my Abby. When I see guys giving you a second look as we walk down the mall, my first instinct is to grab them by the ear and ask them if their momma knows they’re eyeballin’ girls like that, but then I remember that my goal is not to embarrass you to death, but to protect you so I just put my arm around you and say loudly, “Oh my sweet TWELVE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER, aren’t we having fun shopping today?” and then glare at the hormonal males passing by. I promise I won’t do that forever, but you’ve still got a few years of it, so be prepared. Never compromise your morals. I did. It wasn’t worth it. You are bound by some ancient teenage rule to not listen to your parents, and I understand that, but trust me on that one. And also remember that I’ve SO been there, done that and you won’t be able to pull one over on me. Really.
Not only do I love watching you grow into a well-adjusted adult person I am also loving the fact that I see you grow as a Christian every day. Some days are harder than others for you, but my gosh, some days are harder for me, too. I love it when you have an “ah-ha” moment where you totally get the fact that God blesses the heck out of you continually. As a parent, nothing could make me happier knowing that you and I are going to do serious shopping together in the malls of Heaven someday. Fortunately, your daddy and brother are going to be fishing in the lakes of Heaven and won’t be sitting on benches sighing dramatically and man-whining. See? Sometimes it’s hard being a Christian, but the rewards are going to be awesome!
I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years. They may not mean much to you now, but there will come a time that you’ll think back to your birthday letters and go “Oh THAT’S what she was talking about!”
1. Don’t wear underwear that’s too small just because you don’t want to go up a
size. Really, your hiney should be comfortable and no one sees that tag anyway.
Or at least, they shouldn’t.
2. Buy gap insurance. Trust me on this one.
3. Please don’t ever beg a guy to go out with you/not break up with you.
Begging is one thing you will always look back on with embarrassment.
4. Go to college when you’re young. Yeah, you might be tired of school when you
graduate high school, but trying to go back when you are in your 30’s and have
three kids is much harder than when you’re 18. You should know that – I think I
scarred you kids for life.
5. Republican or Democrat, know the facts. Do your homework. Heck, watch a debate or two. But just know what you’re talking about.
6. Babies really do turn out okay if their grandma gives them ice cream at 2 months old. Chill out, put away the parenting books and enjoy your babies before you turn around twice and they aren’t babies. I actually got this advice from my momma. She turned out to be pretty smart. Who knew.
Like I said, you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about now, but someday you will. In the meantime, know I love you and I’m proud of you.
7. Jobs are important, money is essential, but do what makes you happy. Period. Always.
Happy birthday, Abby-girl.