She’s 13! A Letter to My Teenage Daughter

Boy, the insanity of May really crept up on me. I should know better by now. But, with two first communions, an eighth grade graduation, junior-senior prom, two birthdays and the birth of our niece in the last three weeks, I’ve *just barely* kept my head above water. Anna-Laura turned 13 on Wednesday, but since we celebrate birthdays your whole month, this letter is still right on time, yes?

Here goes.

Dear Anna-Laura,

You’re a teenager. In my mind, you’re still the little 18-month-old who is throwing a fit because I’m putting on your tennis shoes and not your sandals. Time for me to fast forward a few years.

There was a day, not long ago, that wondered if we would ever reach the sweet spot. You know, the one where I felt like we could have a conversation without you rolling your eyes or slamming a door. I think we both grew up. You matured, I chilled out and we’re starting to navigate this tween, now teen, thing together instead of working against the tide.

It’s been beautiful. You still roll your eyes, get sassy and heavy sigh, but there is no more door slamming. I guess taking the bedroom door off the hinges for 24 hours after you slammed it, worked. {praise hands for small victories}  

There is zero exaggeration when I say you are my right hand gal around here. You do everything I do, and often, better. I cannot imagine our house without you. Plus, who else is going to make us homemade snickerdoodles or hand-squeezed lemonade? My sincere thanks to all the baking shows on the internet. 

You work so very hard for your grades and it’s super de-duper awesome to have a music nerd in the house. We’re all still frustrated you haven’t finished the seventh Harry Potter book, but nobody’s perfect. Ha!

There is so much joy in store for you during your teenage years. I pray you see the adventure and time for growth, rather than the pitfalls that may sidetrack you.

Your worth is not determined by a jean size. A while back, I overheard one of your friends make a comment about how awesome it was to get the flu because she lost weight. There was a time in my life when all I cared about was the scale and the numbers it screamed back at me when I stood upon it. Sweetheart, those are just numbers. In fact, throw out the scale. Be strong in body, treat it as the temple it is, crafted by God, and let the rest go.

Find your tribe of friends. The imposters may find a way in, the ones that gossip and judge, but seek the ones that lift you up and love you for who you are. I pray that I am setting the right example, that the women I cling to in motherhood show you what true friendship really looks like.

Use social media for good. As we enter into that foray, fill your feed with people that inspire you, not tear you down. And, don’t ever forget the power and importance of connecting with real life people. 

The boys can wait. Growing up I felt like being the girl with all the good guy friends was such a loser status. Turns out, I learned how to foster healthy relationships with both guys and girls. And, as lead counsel for all my friends in relationships, I learned what not to do. It prepared me well when I met your father as a young college co-ed. Your time will come, I promise.

You are smart and capable and stronger than you think. God has gifted you with some pretty spectacular things – your worth ethic, your goal setting, your tenacity and your sweet heart. Just because you don’t get it on your first try, keep YouTubing it (ha!) and keep at it until you master your goals. God has some pretty fabulous things in store for you.

Be proud of who you are. I sure am.

Trust your gut and never lose your sweet, kind, giving spirit. It makes me eternally proud to be your mama.

History and experience tells me that these next five years will fly. It sure will be a grand adventure. I love you BIG, pretty girl. Happy 13th birthday. Let’s go make it great!




  1. Annamarie Jakos on May 18, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Dang. All the feels.
    It’s so true about friends. Learning that myself as a new momma.

  2. Verdinalouisa on May 18, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I really love your birthday letters! I still don’t know how you do it all…and with such love! You are a true blessing to all!
    God bless you!

  3. Amy on May 18, 2018 at 10:38 am


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