I know not everyone agrees with this or has this same experience because parenting a teen is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get from one day to the next, even from one hour to the next. One minute they love you and the next, maybe you’re the dumbest person to ever walk the face of the earth with the dinosaurs. But sometimes you get lucky, even if it’s just for a little while, and they love the shit out of you. Maybe we’re in the honeymoon phase of teen parenting but for today, happy birthday to my teenager, my best friend. There I said it. I love and her sister more than anyone in the world and quite honestly, I like her more than most people too.
The past few months have had me feeling a certain kind of way. It’s a new avenue in parenting that I’m just beginning, the teen years. Bella turned 13 last year and I felt the tug of her growing up. However, my little girl leaned in and we’ve gotten closer. We talk about everything that she wants to share, I don’t push but I encourage her to know that I’m always here. It’ worked for us, so far. I know it’s not the popular parenting school of thought but she is becoming my best friend and I love how close we are. I have no idea what the next few years will bring so I am cherishing every moment she chooses me to confide in. I’m here for all it.
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In the past year, there’s been first crushes, a new understanding of friendship and knowing when to hang on and when to let go, there’s been putting family first, learning that kindness is something we can give that always replenishes, finally comprehending that we cannot control how other’s respond to what we put out there. She’s become kind, generous and compassionate all on her own in ways I wouldn’t even have thought of because she believes it’s the right thing to do.
She’s become unapologetically herself not giving too much of a damn of what other’s think of her. My favorite shift I’ve seen this year, while she may still fight and bicker with her little sister, she will always go to bat if anyone even thinks about hurting her sister. Lastly, she is embracing her Latino culture in a way she has not fully appreciated in the past and that makes my heart happy. She also seems to be starting to be grateful and appreciate the parents that she has.
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Yesterday, she turned 14-years-old. We’ve already started planning next year’s quinceanera (in case you are not familiar with what a quinceanera is I will write a post soon explaining it all) and I think that’s got me all in my feelings. While she is holding my hand tightly, she is running head first, full-force towards 15; towards being a young woman. This makes me feel so proud of her, humbled being along for the ride and a little scared of what the future might bring but I am so excited for her. I can still remember all of the firsts and newness of this time in my own life and I only hope the experience is as exciting and enjoyable for her. Either way, we’ll always be here to help make the transition smooth.
As I sit here listening to Tu Sangre en Mi Cuerpo and looking up pins for the big 15th birthday party (quinceanera) for next year, I’m nostalgic for that sweet baby who smelled like green apples and came into my life and gave it meaning. Let me be embarrassingly honest for a moment, the moment that I held her in my arms, I fell deeper in love than I ever knew possible. I had never felt that kind of love in my life and the closest that came to it was the Big Guy. She and her sister are the culmination of the best thing that ever happened to me.
READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Tween
For Bella’s birthday, we let her choose to spend the day however she wanted to (that’s what we do in our house). We celebrate her party next weekend with family and friends. But yesterday, she wanted brunch, shopping for bikinis, a Disney movie marathon and homemade buffalo wing pizza for dinner. She had exactly what she wanted; a little bit big girl and still a bit of my baby. Culminated, like every year since birth, with her 4:51 pm birth minute kiss.
One day you will read this, my sweet girl, and I want you to know, I love you more than everything. You are amazing in ways that you don’t even understand but I see the good, kind and caring kind of child you ‘ve always been and the young woman you are growing up to be. Keep being you and living the life you want. We’re always here to get your back and love you, no matter what comes in life. You can do anything you set your heart to. Dream big, baby girl. To the moon and back and forever and ever.