First. I love you. I don't think you will understand how much I love you until you have children of your own someday. I have watched you for 13 years and a day hasn't gone by that I haven't been ever so grateful for you. These past few months I've watched as you try to navigate through this 13 year old world of yours and it's been a sharp reminder of how very difficult and even lonely middle school can be. I suspect you will spend time trying out variations of your true self. Please know that it's normal and expected that you change and grow and try new things. Don't be hemmed in by everyone else's expectations of you. Today you told me that you were trying to find your middle ground. I'm so proud of you because knowing what you're looking for and where you are going is half the battle. The journey is where lessons are learned.
There are some things I want you to know and even though we've talked about them, a lot, I want to put them in writing.
Girls can be your very best allies and what keeps you sane. They can also be mean. So mean. Don't be one of those girls.
Avoid drama as much as you can. It almost never leads somewhere good.
You're going to stumble and fall and regret things you've said or done. That's ok. We all make mistakes. What really speaks to your character is how you handle those mistakes.
Give people grace. Again, everyone makes mistakes.
You don't have to be best friends with everyone, or even like everyone, but you must be kind.
Stand up for yourself. Being kind doesn't mean that you have to be a pushover. You have a strong moral ethic; I've watched it play out again and again. Stand by it and don't be swayed.
Enjoy social media but don't get sucked up by it or be a slave to it. Remember that often times it's a highly curated image of someone's life. Your own life is much more interesting. Embrace it.
Every single day you choose what you want your life to look like. Choose wisely.
The really and truly cool people don't try to be cool. Being true to yourself is your best avenue to being confident and that's what's cool.
Working hard almost always pays off even if it doesn't seem like it.
Smile. A lot.
I love you ever so much,
P.S. Boys are a whole other list!