Dear 16-year-old Faith

Most "Dear 16-year-old" letters are supposed to be from the older person to the younger person. I don't really have much to say to my 16-year-old self as I made the choices I did without the wisdom of a 30-year-old so it's hard to have regrets. The one thing I would tell myself is not to let someone else and their feelings/lack thereof for you determine your self-worth. But on to a letter to 16-year-old Faith.

Before I start, I just want to give a little background on why I chose to write this post. I've been pretty quiet on social media for the last week and it's mainly because of the Boston marathon bombings. After the initial posts from folks about their sadness and sorrow, most people went right back to posting pictures of their dinners and random life events. It seemed all too soon. Even the other stories in the newspaper the day after I felt should have just been left with white space instead. As we watched way too much news coverage, it made me think of my favorite 2-year-old and how innocent she is. She had and still has no idea what's going on outside of her little world. She still believes all people are inherently good and the only evil doer in this world is Captain Pete from Mickey Mouse. Oh Faith, how I long for your outlook on life some days. Years from now it won't be that way, and I just wanted to capture for both her sake and mine, what life was like for us in 2013.

 Dear Faith,

Now that you're 16 you're probably driving to and from school and maybe (if your parents are under the influence of tranquilizer darts) to the movies for a date. Just know that when you were two, your dream vehicle was a princess car from Toys R Us and your idea of a date was watching a Barbie movie with your mom and dad while eating microwaved popcorn.

Know that you loved holding my hand and I loved holding yours. You're way too grown up for parental hand holding now, so that's why I treasured it each and every time you reached for me as a kid.

You probably sleep in now, rising sometime after 9, 10, (God forbid) 11 a.m. Just remember, when you were two, you often rose before 7 a.m. and if you did wake up grouchy, the promise of cheerios and "cartoonies" was all it took to get you to bounce out of bed. I so hope you're still a morning person.

Your mom and dad are probably the last people you want to hang out with in your spare time. But, when you were little (and we would be trying to get dinner ready, clean, REST) playing with us was all you wanted to do. You had 1.1 million toys and playing hide and seek or "tickle me, dad" or Mr. Handy (sock puppets) was always your No. 1 choice.

I hope we get along well now that you're a teenager. It can be tough at 16 when you think your parents are lame, but remember, letting go of a child after being needed so much for so long is hard on us. You were the center of our lives at age 2 and needed us for everything from going to the bathroom to brushing your teeth. You also considered me your best friend and when that time ends and I'm replaced, just remember the breakup will not have been mutual.

As you venture into romantic relationships, I hope your dad and I have set a good example for you of what to look for in one. We may not always show/tell each other how much we love the other person, but know that I respect your dad and value his love for me and who he is as a man as much as I possibly can. I feel lucky to have found someone so willing to share an equal partnership that I pray the same for you. I would write something about the chances of finding that person in high school being very slim, but wouldn't have listened if someone told me that at 16 so I'll just let you figure it out on your own.

Makeup. Hopefully you are better at it than I was at your age, and hopefully you don't abuse it, but I just want you to know that at age 2 you didn't need makeup to be beautiful and you don't at age 16 either.

Your 1st attempt at makeup. You were so proud of yourself!
 Your fashion sense has probably changed a bit from when you were a toddler, but I will always remember the days when you would ONLY wear a tutu/skirt and a t-shirt. You didn't care if it was freezing outside, you were not putting on pants, dammit! I used to fight to get you to dress warmer, but realized it was not a battle worth my while. As long as you're comfortable and confident, I don't ever want to get in the way of what you wear. Hold me to that.

Unfortunately, you weren't very excited for your baby sister to be born. While you mentioned her as part of the family, when someone asked you about her you didn't want to talk about it. However, regardless of how you feel now, I hope that you two love each other deep down and come to each other when you need something. A sibling relationship is a blessing and I want nothing more for my daughters to have each other after their mom and dad are long gone. It's OK to fight and disagree, but your sister  will always be a part of your life, so treat each other well and with love.

I wanted to write you this letter so that you would have a better idea of what exactly you were like when you were little. And maybe you'd know a little bit about what your mom was like. Sometimes it's hard to know a mom other than as your mom, but I am still just a person. I get frustrated with you sometimes, annoyed when you won't listen to me, tired after chasing you around all day, but I never ever stop loving you. So when you think I'm a dork for dressing a certain way or just don't "get" what you're going through, remember I was there with you once too (seriously, a tutu/skirt EVERY DAY). I hope you will do what I tried to do back then and take a breath and remember, it won't be like this forever. We are lucky to have each other, even if we will think so at different times in our lives. You were a privilege to have as a daughter at age 2 and I know you will be when you read this letter down the road.


p.s. For everyone reading this, I apologize if the tenses of this post were confusing. It's harder than you think to write a letter to someone in the future!

p.p.s. For everyone wanting to hear about the move and see some new pictures, patience my people! We're still settling in, but soon! I do want to thank our amazing family and friends for all their help in the process. We are so grateful to you!

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