"What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful."
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You are so beautiful to me, sweet girl. It was snowing the other day at the house and you were standing outside playing with the dogs, snowflakes falling down around your face. You put a blanket down on the snow and begged Miles to lay down beside you while you tried to catch snow on your tongue. Red cheeks and long blonde hair falling around your face, calling out to me to come outside with you. How did I get so lucky to be your mom?
You are almost twelve and lately you and I have been having some really deep conversations. You ask me very thoughtful questions and I am enjoying the quality time we spend together while we talk about things that really matter. I can see the wheels turning in your head as you try your best to figure out what is good and right in the world.
One thing that comes up frequently is "the mean girl." Oh, sweetheart. What can I tell you about the mean girl? Unfortunately, she is every where you go and also, she is there even when you are 37, like me. I remember being your age, wanting so badly to fit in. One day having a best friend and the next day being the loner on the play ground. It is hard. One thing I have learned over the years about the mean girl is that she is insecure and hurting and she doesn't know how to express those feelings so she expresses them in unhealthy ways and a lot of times, it's hurtful to others. I know that is hard to understand, but the more you can try to have compassion for "the mean girl," the less your tender heart will be hurt.
Another thing we have to deal with in life when it comes to relationships with other people is balancing being genuine and brave with who we are while also protecting our hearts. There are people you will meet who will be safe enough to be in your inner circle, friends who will actually wade into the trenches of life with you, loving you every step of the way, and there are people who you will meet that you should be kind to from a distance. When getting to know others, as you are growing and forming friendships, be cautious who you allow into your inner circle. Not everyone will be willing to stay in the deep with you, and that is ok. Protect your heart.
Also remember, as you are learning about friendships, that most of your life lasting friendships will be made when you are an adult. Think about my close circle of friends. Aside from one close friend from my youth, M, who I still stay in close contact with, every single one of my friends has been made when I was an adult. I know that right now it may seem like the end of the world when so and so doesn't want to be your friend today, but believe me when I say that not all friendships will be like this. I promise.
Lastly, I want to talk to you about being brave and genuine. More than anything, I want you to grow into an adult who is not ever afraid to tell her story. You never know who may need to hear it or be helped by it. There is a way to tell your story and to protect your heart. This is never a weakness, sweetheart, although some people will try to make you feel that it is. Telling your story is brave. Sharing your authentic self is brave. Standing firm and telling someone that you have no reason to be ashamed of your life, even if you have made mistakes, is brave. This year for your birthday, I pray over you the courage to be brave with your life.
I love you so very much.
Thankful to be part of your inner circle,