You’ve turned 16. SIX-FREAKING-TEEN and I’m not sure how that’s possible. This is a big one, bud. It feels huge in my heart. And in my throat as I panic a little over you – and your friends- driving.
You, my darling boy, are a marvel. A wonder. A jaw-dropping miracle that I still can’t believe is mine all these years later. This is the year that I realized that you’re not going to be just mine much longer – you’re making your way towards adulthood and our time with you living full time under our roof can only be measured in years for a short while longer. So forgive me if I hold a little too tight sometimes, ok?
15 has been one hell of an interesting year for you. After almost two years, life is 99% back to normal. You started your sophomore year and it’s been…a challenge. Things we learned from school this year:
- You like Global Studies and English and Spanish – and you do well in those classes. When you want to.
- You shouldn’t pick 600+ page books written in Russia in the 1880’s as your book report book, no matter how interesting it sounds.
- Geometry and you are NOT friends.
- You think Earth Science is stupid
- If you feel anything is “stupid” you will refuse to put the work in and we’ll fight. A lot.
- I don’t know how to do geometry and it makes me cry too.
Please, just pass the Geometry Regents so we can burn all your course materials and never speak of it again. I beg you.
Despite the challenges, school has been overall super positive for you. You’ve been challenged, you’ve had to learn to get shit done even if you don’t want to and you’ve kept up with your student council responsibilities.
Outside of academics, you’ve navigated a super interesting year. As you’ve gotten older, friendships have shifted. Some shrunk, some grew, some are brand new. You’ve also got a girlfriend. A GIRLFRIEND – and you’ve kept her for over 6 months. You seem to be really good to and for each other and I can’t ask for more than that. You played varsity football and JV basketball and baseball. You’ve put yourself out there at college camps and are starting to make decisions about your future.
As your parent, it’s scary and sad to see you go through uncertain times, to trust that you’re making the right decisions and surrounding yourself with people that push you to be your best self. Honestly, I’d be happy if you were younger and I was still making all your playdates for you. But you’re not and I can’t- so I have to have faith in you, and the foundation we’ve given you, that you’re making good choices and being kind and full of grace. Because, kiddo, you’re not the only one figuring things out- all your friends are in the same boat. You’re all growing and maturing at a different pace, but you’ll all get there. In the meantime, make sure to give each other a break, don’t be a dick and have a sense of humor. That’s prettttttty much the best advice I can give you for life too.
So, 16. SIX-FREAKING-TEEN. Here’s are my hopes for you this year:
- I hope you don’t do anything too stupid, but I hope you do some stupid stuff and learn from it. By too stupid, I mean anything dangerous, including: sex, drugs, driving unsafely and breaking the law. Things you can’t come back from. But I do hope you fail spectacularly at something you care about so you have to learn grit and perseverance. I hope you feel what it’s like to really hurt someone’s feelings – so you can learn how to apologize with feeling and sincerity and know how shitty hurting someone feels so you don’t do it again. I hope you get your feelings crushed too so you can learn how crappy that is and see why words matter.
- I hope you continue to be comfortable in your own skin. You are a wonderful person and I admire your drive and dedication more than you know. Knowing who you are is such a gift and I’m so glad you have it. But I hope you realize that others may not be there yet and you have to show grace and patience. That doesn’t mean you have to let them treat you badly, but it does mean learning not to let every little thing bother you.
- I hope you realize that you can always change your mind. As we start talking more about your future- college, careers, etc- know that you’re never stuck. As long as you don’t do those truly stupid things I mentioned above, you can always change course. Your dad and I are going to love you and support you no matter what your path -all we ask is that you think things through and move with intention.
- I hope you continue to value yourself. Your body, your feelings, your emotions. If you don’t prioritize yourself and demand to be treated well, no one else will advocate for you. Know that you are a good person, treat people accordingly and expect the same back.
- I hope you *always* ask for consent. A.L.W.A.Y.S. Never take advantage, never assume and when “No” is said in any context, at any time, stop. That advice isn’t limited to your romantic partners or hook ups- it goes for alllll your relationships.
- I hope you’re mindful of what you consume- what you eat, what you watch and what you listen to. Know that life is very rarely ever black and white. People can have different opinions and thoughts and not be your enemy. Listen, learn and grow- that’s one of the true marks of maturity.
- I hope you value your health. Don’t put things in your body that would threaten that. For the love of god, never take something if you don’t know what it is and if you DO know what it is and it’s not something you should take, don’t. Who gives a shit what others say or think? Your body, your rules.
- I hope you know that you’re always loved. Always valued. Always needed. Always wanted.
I hope this is the start of your very best year yet. Happy birthday, baby boy. We are so very proud of you and cannot wait to see where the next year takes you.
All my love,