Nov. 24, 2019
I wrote the letter that follows today’s entry, to Juliette, exactly five years ago, one day before her 11th birthday. It’s interesting to look back to see what’s changed, what hasn’t and what will likely never change.
There’s so much in the past five years, no one could have ever predicted, but we walk through and not around. This is something I so love about you and our little family.
You are without question, one of the smartest, most empathetic and beautiful human beings I know. I’m not even being biased about it because I’m your Mom.
Tomorrow, you turn 16. This is an age I’ve been warned about from many sources. I don’t know, but I am really enjoying this time with you and witnessing all of the many ways you’re blossoming into an extraordinary young woman. (Okay, but you still live under my roof and follow the rules!)
While you’ll always be my baby and the one who made me a mother, I respect the very mature young person you’ve shown yourself to be.
And I won’t even get started on your singing. Your vocal gifts blow my head off of my neck. When others compliment you, believe them.
I love you endlessly and this is something I know you know. I’m so grateful that no matter what doubts we may have, we never doubt that one essential fact.
Happy Sweet 16! I hope our homemade Ramen and purple cake will bring you joy. You know that experiences are everything and stuff is just, well… stuff.
Nov. 24, 2014
Tomorrow is your 11th birthday. Wow. So, I joke with you often about how you will always be my baby. It annoys you and sometimes, annoying you is kind of fun for me. I privately celebrate your full on eye roll, because I know that while you’re rolling your eyes, you really want to be my forever baby. (I won’t say it in front of your friends.)
You will always be my baby but equally as important and maybe more important is that you always teach me. I can’t really list all of the things your presence in my life has taught me so far, but it’s beyond abundant and invaluable. One of the most important things I’ve learned from being your Mom is that I have to grow with you. While my tendency is to head right to fear of what might happen, you have helped me let things happen anyway, even if I am afraid. I know you understand fear and I understand you. I think one of the best reasons we were put together is so we could both work past that fear bullshit.
I know that right now, it isn’t cool to be my baby and I’m cool with that. You are my tween who is learning the ropes on crushes, people pleasing, perfectionism and self-love. Here’s what’s so great — I get you. Beyond that, I get that none of what you’re going through is about me. I thank you for teaching me that.
You’re extraordinary. I don’t understand 80% of your homework, but I do understand life more than you do and don’t bother arguing with me about that.
I understand that I’m your Mom and not your friend. When you’re an adult, we can be friends. Right now, it’s my gig to guide you away from unhealthy foods, implement your strict bedtime, limit your eyes and ears from media-numbing crap, and most of all, to learn to treat yourself and others with love, tolerance and respect. Yeah… I also teach you about poverty, racism and a bunch of progressive social justice stuff and really, I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Insert eye roll.)
I love you Juliette and you know it. I’m grateful you know it because it is something in this world you can rely on. There have been times in my own life where Grandma’s love got me through the toughest of scrapes. That kind of love has more weight in this life than our challenges. That has definitely been my experience.
I pray you become the strong, empowered woman I know you can become. In the meantime, no, you may not have an iPhone and I don’t really care how you feel about that. It isn’t a negotiation. I do care that you treat your body like the temple it is and that you treat your own power with respect. It will lead you to good things, I am sure of it.
And another thing — I know how much time and energy you spend being scared that I’m going to die. I remember being scared of that with Grandma. Here’s the thing… I’m doing everything I possibly can to take care of myself in all aspects of life. It is my lifetime responsibility (and honor) to be an example for you and Charlotte, but way beyond that……….. my core is downright decent and loving and so is yours.
Rock your life, sweet baby. Even if you’re scared shitless. Rock it anyway.
You were so worth the wait and every day gets better with you.
I love you and you know it.