Tuesday, August 6, 2019

To My Incoming Junior

Tonight on the way home I heard Mercy Me's "Dear Younger Me" and it brought tears to my eyes.

I've been in a melancholy mood all week. Big changes, milestones, tend to make me reflect, and I realized that you are my younger me...

but different, obviously.

But some parents make their kids their redemption. I hope I've not been too bad at doing that to you. I hope that you feel as though you have freedom to make some of your own choices.

As I was thinking of what I would say to 16 year old Lauren, I mostly thought of what I'd want to say to 16 year old you... because that me is long gone, and even if I could change things I don't think I would, because it's got me where I am now.

But you...

The world is at your fingertips.

Tomorrow you'll get in your jeep and drive to school on the first day by yourself. I know you were driving yourself at the end of the school year, but there's something symbolic about driving that first day. New beginnings and all...

I think of you in preschool, so little and unable to speak perfectly plain, crying as I left.

Those glasses on your nose and that chip in your front tooth.. so full of personality.

You don't need me to hold your hand anymore. You don't need me to speak up for you anymore. You don't need me to fill out those forms (thank goodness).  You don't need me to help you with homework much.

This year you'll have a college account and take college classes. You'll continue to plan for your future, which is closer by the minute.

You'll stress some... a lot, if I know you.

You come by it honest.

But what I want for you this year is simple.

 I wish time would stand still...

not because I want you to stay where you are...

but because I want you to appreciate it.

I want you to fully live it, not just look forward to the next big thing.

I want you to know that if you fail it's ok. If you struggle in a class, it's ok. Sometimes it's those classes that are the hardest that teach you the most, because you have to learn to work for it.

I want you to know that you are smart and so much more than any score on the ACT or any other standardized test.

I want you to know that you are special, because nobody is quite like you.

I want you to practice independence but know that you can always count on me to help you make decisions. I also want you to remember that you are only 16.

I want you to know that it's better to be the nice kid than the kid with everything.

I want you to be the kid that the teacher likes, not because you are a suck-up, but because you respect them. 

I want everyone to see your smile and hear your laugh, because it's special.

I hope you succeed in making others feel as special as you. I'm not perfect, but I hope that I've instilled kindness in you enough that you can share it with someone else.

I want you to enjoy these teenage years, even as they are hard. 

Dream big. Chase those dreams. Work hard. Don't be afraid.

And know that I'll always love you more than mint chocolate chip ice cream.

You're going to have a great year... because you're a great kid. Thank you for being you, and as Thank God that He chose me to be your Mama. I'm so very blessed.

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