To My Nephew On His Birthday,
You turn 13 today buddy. Thirteen years ago you came into our family, making my sister a mother and my brother in law a father (and me an aunt). You are such a joy and delight to each one of us. I know it’s not cool to say that as you enter your teen years but you teach us alot about compassion and spirit, kindheartedness and love.
The next few years are going to be a bit crazy for you. Middle school is awkward, and high school is stressful for so many reasons.You’ll survive it, even when you don’t think you will. Those days when you fail at something you try hard for will come, as they do us all. But I know your heart of resilience, you will meet it and let it be a catalyst to learn from. Everyone is just trying to fit in during their teen years, they are looking for their people and a refuge to walk these bumbling years with. I pray you find your people and you all grow together for good things, achieving knowledge and pursuing your passions.
Don’t let your people change you though into someone you know you aren’t. Stand firm when the time comes, and it will. Encourage your people in what they do, be a good friend and support them just as they support you. Be a light when there seems to be so much darkness pervading the world you are growing up in.
Don’t be ashamed of who you are. You are one cool kid who has the awesome ability to show love, knowledge and passion in a blink of an eye. A girl will break your heart, eventhough you don’t want to talk about those gross things right now. Don’t let her break your spirit, and know that your heart will be mended, even when it feels like it’ll remain in pieces. And if she’s mean to you, let her know you have an aunt who needs to speak with her.
Life will try to tell you to grow up more, to be someone you’re not and push you into defining yourself by other people’s words. Do take the world’s words with a grain of salt. You do you so very well, so just be the absolute best you that has ever been. People’s words will hurt. I wish, as your aunt, I could protect you and your brother from that but I can’t. It seems these teen years are hard, and they are as you become more of who you were made by God to be. But they are fun. Don’t let the world steal your fun from you.
Be kind to your little brother. I know he’s difficult to be around some times because he’s so much younger, but he looks up to you. You see, I was the little sister to your mom and I annoyed her just like John Carter does. It’s because I wanted her to be in my sphere and let me be in hers. She was cool and fun, and her friends were so mature. That’s why we didn’t get along for a while when we were you and your brother’s ages. It’s part of growing up too. But before you know it you’ll be in college and he will miss you terribly. Brothers have a special bond and you’ll need each other. You get to experience things first and that lets you turn and help him when he goes through it. That is a pretty cool thing to be as the big brother. So on those days when you have to drive him around or he asks to tag along, just remember you got to do it first.
You’ll always be the Toothless Wonder and Will the Thrill…but you’re also a teenager today. I cannot wait to see how you grow and mature into the young man God created you to be. I hope that you don’t lose the sweetness you have always had, the way you’ll talk to me when you get frustrated about something, and that belly laugh. You have the best sense of humor, and the wit to go with it. I pray you seek God as you head into these years, and draw closer to Him in every moment. I know it won’t be the easy thing, or the cool thing, but it’s the true thing. More than ever I pray you keep that heart open that you love big with because it’s who you are at the very root. I love that about you buddy. That and your awesome dance skills.
Happy 13th Will,