|You. The day I moved here in 2006.|
I've hesitated writing this post because I can't believe you're 15.
I feel like you were five just yesterday...
...I'm so glad that I've been able to be here for your yesterdays.
When I moved here I remember carting you around with me. You were my almost-7-year-old, unenthusiastic translator. I didn't know the word for toothbrush or the rules for driving here (does anyone?), but for some reason having your little 40-pound-self with me made me feel more secure.
I think I felt more secure because whether you like it or not, you and I are very similar. (Except I've never claimed to like "mash" with lime and salt in a tortilla.) So being alike is well and good and all, but what's even cooler is that as much as you remind me (and your Mom) of me, you remind me of you.
I like what I see. I like who you were as a kid and more importantly I like who you are now. I like that you are strong. And conscientious. I like that you hold your tongue and you're slow to anger. You think. You analyze. You consider. This is a good thing. These are good things.
I think of what I'd tell myself if I were turning 15 and here's what I'd say: it all matters. I shall repeat for emphasis: It.All.Matters. From this point on, what you do matters. Of course it mattered before, but it matters even more today. You're 15 and have been through a lot and how you respond to a lot will shape your legacy.
I know your 15. Your "legacy" isn't at the forefront of your mind. But whether you know it or not, right now, you're starting to build your legacy with each comment you write, with each photo you upload. It's what you do. Who you are today is of course not who you will be tomorrow -- you're young! But, who you are today and what you do today will shape who you become in the future. So far, sweet girl, I like what I see.
You know what else I like to see? Girls who are the same whether they're around boys or girls or adults or little kiddos. They're respectful, mannerful and joyful. Girls who quietly keep the stories of others in their hearts, letting the others share them when they're ready. You will find that practicing the concept of, "It's not my story to tell" will serve you well.
You know what else will serve you well? Writing. Writing will always serve you well, my Chloe. When you're angry, when you're happy, when you're frustrated, when you're hurt, when you're in love, when you can't breathe... writing will always, always serve you well.
You know what will NOT serve you well? Too much. It's true, too much of anything or too little of anything, will kill you. Moderation -- in everything -- is key. (I used far too much concealer as a 15-year-old. You, on the other hand, could be teaching makeup lessons on YouTube. Why didn't you have an awkward phase? Sigh.)
You know what else is key? Forgiveness and tolerance. I learned this one a bit too late. Growing up I had super-high expectations for myself and for others. And if someone made a mistake, least of all me, it was tough for me to swallow. I got a little judgey. Always remember, especially when you want to scream, that we're all here doing the best we can with what we have.
You know what else you have? A delightful spirit. A drive. A strength. You are your own person -- you've always been. You're particular, you're quirky, you're spirited. You're also calm, and kind and reserved and empathetic. But I don't need to tell you about yourself, you already know.
I hope one of the things you really, truly know is that I love you.
Uncle Craig loves you.
Lila and Spiderman
I hold you in a very dear place in my heart. I am so proud of who you are and of who you will be.
I'm thankful for that little girl who talked incessantly.
I'm thankful for that little girl who taught me the "right way" to rub her back as she fell asleep.
I am thankful for the little girl who introduced me to Charlie & Lola and Kinder Eggs.
I'm thankful for that little girl who has strong arms and strong legs and is full of power.
I'm thankful for that little girl who made up dances, who told stories, who has always given me the best hugs.
I am thankful for the girl who has held my babies and played with them and now takes care of them.
I'm so glad you were born.
Happy birthday, sweet girl.
I love you.
|Us. Easter. Your hair looks phenomenal.|
Hey, Clo -- remember these?