13 Things I Want My Son To Know On His 13th Birthday
I saw a woman at Loblaws yesterday bending over with a baby in a front carrier trying to reach something. She laughed as I helped her, "It's a learned skill," she said.
"Yes." I replied, remembering the soft thump of my baby's head on my chest. "But you blink and then your child is 13." I said. I pointed to him reaching up to grab something from the shelf.
How did he go from the soft, fuzzy baby at my chest, to a fully-formed teen reaching higher than me?
Parent years are like dog years but squeezed. I try, but I can't really put a finger on how long it feels like I have been a parent, but it has been 13 years.
I always feel a little maudlin at the big birthdays, as the time goes by so quickly and I haven't done enough to savour it. And 13 is particularly scary as the TEEN years are here. So with the threats of sex, drugs and rock n' roll (or texting n' video games) hanging over my head, I will offer up the 13 things I want my son to know on his 13th birthday.
13 Things (okay, 14) To Remember on Your 13th Birthday
- It's a brave new world out there. I don't know what it is like to live without privacy, but you will. Be smart, don't put too much out there. And don't forward anything that you wouldn't want out there about yourself.
- Some people are orchids, some are dandelions. Appreciate who you are, and what special things you have to offer. These aren't easy years but you will find your place and hopefully, come out with some funny stories to tell.
- Shower more. Wipe the juice out of your dirtstache.
- Talk. To me, to your dad, to your aunt, to your older cousins. Find someone to unburden to, someone who has been there.
- Be flexible. Don't decide on things ahead of time, allow yourself to change your mind. Take risks (but not stupid ones).
- Don't be too flexible. You know who you are, don't compromise yourself for other people.
- Be smart. Smart is cool. Nerds rule. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
- It doesn't matter who got picked first for soccer anymore. The great thing about getting older is that some of the things that used to matter, won't matter anymore. Some of the superstars will fade, new people will take their place. Don't get hung up on who is cool and who isn't. You will be surprised who becomes cool as an adult.
- Women have body hair.
- Stop staring at your screen. 10.5 I meant it, stop staring. Get a life.
- Girls are just like you. They have feelings, insecurities and needs. Treating them with respect is also treating yourself with respect. If all else fails, ask yourself: would I want my sister treated this way?
- Make eye contact, shake hands, say thank-you. Think before you speak. Manners still matter.
- Be kind. Be generous. Reach your hand out to your sister and brother. Help a stranger. Think about others.
- We will always love you; absolutely, completely, unquestionably, unconditionally.
There are so many things to add, but there will be other birthdays.
What would you say?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote one of my favourite posts: Mornings From Hell Happen To Everyone.