Letter to My Teenage Self

Dear Sandra, circa 1996-

I know you’re busy. You  have some meeting to preside over and math homework you’ve put off until the last minute again. You bought a copy of the new TLC tape at Hastings and you want to listen to it on your way to school. Plus, you want to get there early enough to get a good parking spot so at lunch you can be one of the first to Claudia’s pizza. I know, I know. But this will just take a minute . . .

There are few things the 2012 version of you wants to tell you:

  • Paying more attention in English than chemistry is really the best decision. Commas and semicolons we use every day. The periodic table? Not so much.
  • As cool as it is, that Swatch phone that’s really two phones in one is not the coolest phone you will ever own.
  • I know you don’t think you’re really good at anything. There’s someone better than you in each class, in choir, and at church. You’re the middle child and you want to stand out at something, but the middle is actually a very comfortable place to be. Continue trying a little of everything without the fear of failing.
  • You love being in choir, Key Club, SADD, Youth Alive, LRC, your youth group, and some club for those who think they are going into the medical field. I still love that you did all those things. Maybe that’s why now you have three blogs and write for three more. It’s fun to get to know people who have different interests.

That’s me in the bottom right corner, playing Cindy Brady. I still know all the words and choreography to “Keep On, Keep On.”

  • The first week of your senior year the five best friends you’ve had since 8th grade will stop being your friend. This will change you forever. Eventually you will forgive these girls and even accept their friend requests on Facebook. (By the way, be very thankful you don’t have Facebook now.)
  • After you walk the halls alone and have a few lunches by yourself, you’ll make new friends. The most fun, sincere, and loyal friends you’ve ever had. Enjoy every minute with them.
  • Spend less time trying to get a boyfriend. You won’t meet “the one” until grad school, so the rest are a waste of time and heart. (Apply this advice in college also!)
  • That idea to go to a college where no one knows you? Excellent! One of the top five best decisions you’ll ever make. College is so much better than high school (but I know you are already hoping that’s true!).

  • Spend more time listening to Dad’s stories and learning from Mom in the kitchen. Listening and learning are harder to do when you’re not in the same time zone.
  • Love your sisters deeply and appreciate them for exactly who they are and not who you think they should be.
  • Give your parents a little more grace when your sister gets more attention than you do. It’s not easy being a special needs parent. You will learn this first-hand soon enough.
  • Be thankful your parents believe in you, support you, and give you the opportunities you have. Out in the big wide world you will find out how rare that is.

I really just want to say I adore you. You’ve always felt a little different, but instead of changing who you are to be like everyone else, you just accept it. Sixteen years later you’re still a little different. You would still rather read than talk. You still turn red when you lie. And you still have all those freckles Mom said would fade by now.

Thanks for being you so I could be me.

PS- You are so skinny and your hair is so blonde and cute! Appreciate it a little more!

I’m linking up to Emily at Chatting at the Sky to celebrate the release of her book for teenage girls, Graceful!

Comments

  1. Oh Sandra! This is beautiful … and I think the 16-yr-old me needed a friend like the 16-yr-old you. (Though we were not 16 at the same time.)

    • Sandra says:

      We would have been wonderful 16 year old friends! 🙂 But I sure am thankful I have you now!

  2. Hah! I was in Key Club, too! I was even in the middle school version of it before that. 🙂

    And, you know I can understand this: “It’s not easy being a special needs parent. You will learn this first-hand soon enough.” Whew. Not easy. Extremely tiring (physically and emotionally). Still a ridiculously amazing blessing.

    I love this: “Thanks for being you so I could be me.”

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