My darling baby girl,
Except you aren’t quite a baby anymore. You’re a beautiful young woman who is just beginning to feel the excitement that life, and love, have to offer you. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it? You know that feeling you get when he walks into a room or you see his name pop up in a text message. Your heart speeds up just a little bit and your stomach might do a backflip or two. It’s wonderful! And because of the divorce between your father and myself, you already know what it feels like to have a broken heart. The confusion, frustration, the pain behind the eyes when you try to hold back the tears… that’s not so wonderful. Quite tragic, actually.
I get it. You may not be ready to admit it right now, but your mama knows a thing or two about love. And I’d love to impart some wisdom that, while it won’t protect your heart forever, it might just help you avoid the unnecessary heartbreak a lot of us feel these days.
And I want you to trust me. I’m not just your mother. I am a righteous and passionate woman who has loved more fiercely than I ever could have imagined, had my heart broken in more pieces than I can count, and has managed to come out on the other side more confident, have a stronger relationship with my Father in Heaven, and am stronger than ever before. Instead of being afraid to love again, I am eager for this second chance, determined to set a good example for you.
So here is some advice that I wish I had known the first time around, and that I am determined to practice from now on.
Remember who you are
Let’s get one thing straight: you are a a force to be reckoned with! Your value and worth depends on nothing more than the reality that you are a beloved daughter of God. Every day, I look in your face and think “how did I get so lucky? I can’t believe I get to be your mom!” You are talented, smart, hard working, funny, compassionate, and SO STINKIN’ CUTE!
But you are so much more than that laundry list of characteristics and talents! You are Divine in nature. You are utterly unique and no where on earth will you ever find your equal. You are meant for greatness and no one can take that from you. No one.
Look, sweetie, life is hard. You’re going to fall, you’re going to have your heart broken. You’re going to cry so hard that you don’t think you’ll ever be happy again. And when that happens, I want you to remember who you are!
I don’t just want you to take that idea and tuck it into the recesses of your mind. This isn’t just something I say just out of habit or to make you feel better when you’re feeling down. This is true. And I want you to do whatever it takes for that knowledge to settle into your heart and take root. Let that confidence and knowledge lift you into the air! Fly as high as you can, and then let it dust you off when you stumble and fall. It’s impossible to stay down for long when the certainty of your Divine Nature reaches your whole soul.
Let it color everything in your life, including how you treat other people. Remember they are meant for greatness, too. And interactions with you should always bring other people closer to knowing who they are and just how much they are worth.
If he ever makes you feel like you can’t be happy without him, he’s not your guy.
Remember your beauty is the least important thing about you
I’m not gonna lie, being told you are beautiful feels wonderful. But, I’m going to tell you a secret: It gets old. I will be forever grateful for your dad for helping me realize that I am more than just a pretty face. He helped me realize how smart, strong, compassionate, forgiving, and excited I am for life.
As a beautiful, articulate, funny, single woman, I do attract a fare amount of attention. As will you, so listen well, my love. Do not commit yourself to anyone who makes you feel like your beauty is the most important thing to him. Ever. Because it is, in reality, the least important thing about you.
When a boy is getting to know you, he should be asking you questions about yourself. What books do you read, what movies do you like, where do you see yourself doing in five years, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream? You should be able to talk about ideas, shared interests, and have fun.
You should never feel like you need to look perfect in order to keep his attentions. Being attracted to the way someone looks is easy. And you, my darling girl, are NOT easy. You are complex, you have dreams, you have imperfections… and if he doesn’t want to know or hear about any of those parts of you, he’s not your guy. And if his looks are the most important thing to you, you’re not his girl.
Know your own mind
There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where we meet a woman whose race is one in which the female can “imprint” on her partner, thus becoming the perfect spouse for that person. She takes upon herself his hopes, dreams, desires, and tastes. In every way she morphs into what he could possibly want in a woman. If the man she was with wanted someone loud and energetic, she became loud and energetic. If he wanted elegance and thoughtfulness, she became elegant and thoughtful.
Do not be that woman.
You are your own person. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Don’t conform to some else’s interests. Don’t pretend to like football just because he does. Don’t stop listening to your favorite country songs because he doesn’t like country.
By all means, be open to new things! Allowing yourself to experience things that he enjoys together is totally cool! Go to that basketball game with him. If he loves tennis, go ahead and give it a shot! But if you try it, and hate it… don’t be afraid to allow him to play tennis without you. Don’t for a second thing that you can “become” his dream woman by changing who you are.
You are uniquely you! Embrace and love who you are and what you dream! Sing along to soundtracks as loud as you want, get lost in your art, continue to fall in love with the characters in books and cry when the story ends. Keep loving God keep striving for excellence. Keep dying your hair whatever color your want and dress in a way that makes YOU feel awesome.
Don’t let him change you and don’t you try to change him. He’s not your guy.
Go ahead, be boy crazy!
Here is the advice no other mom would ever give, but I’m going to give it. Be boy crazy!
As a single girl/woman, I’ve always had crushes on a lot of different guys. I used to be ashamed of that. People told me I was boy crazy and needed to get a life. And they were right on both counts, but I’ve come to learn that being boy crazy is not a bad thing. It’s nothing more than a reflection of the passion I have for life in general.
I see that same passion in you. You’re right there with me, singing at the top of your lungs to the latest hit musical. You cry during the same episodes of Doctor Who. You squeal and jump when the characters in your books make poor choices, and you completely lose yourself in whatever art or educational project catches your attention for the week.
Whatever anyone else tells you, I am your mother and I am telling you NEVER LOSE THAT PASSION! Don’t tone it down, don’t hide it, and whatever you do, don’t you EVER be afraid to fail, to cry, and to get back up again.
I know what a lot of people are going to say. A lot of people will say that giving attention to more than one boy at a a time is akin to taking on the identity of Violet from It’s a Wonderful Life. They couldn’t be more wrong! Remember, we already established the fact that you are not easy. You know your worth. You know you’re amazing! Allowing several boys to catch your eye does nothing more than dilute the individual draw that each of them have on you.
In other words, the more guys you like, the less you will like a single one. And at this stage of the game, Sweetie, you do NOT need to be focusing all of your romantic attention on one dude. When you are 16 and your crush doesn’t like you, you’re world comes to an end! When you’re 16 and one of your 10 crushes doesn’t like you – Meh, no big deal.
Let me tell you a story. When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a crush on a guy my age who I will call “John”. Massive crush. We were at a school dance and I followed him around, eventually working up the courage to ask him to dance. He looked at me with disgust and said no.
I was devastated. Being the passionate woman that I am, I started to cry and think of nothing more than my breaking heart. As I started to flee the gym, another one of my crushes caught my eye. His name was Tim. He was beautiful. And two years older than me. I’d adored this guy for years. He was was the older brother of a classmate, knew I was head over heels for him, and was always so nice to smile at me when I blushed as I passed him in the hall. He saw the tears streaming down my face, ran over to me and asked me to save the next dance for him.
Absolutely stunned, I nodded my agreement and at the next slow dance, he carefully and gentlemanly took my 15 year old self into his 17 year old arms and gave me the most wonderful memory that I could ask for, and that I am still grateful for, over 20 years later. If I could track Tim down and thank him for healing my tender broken heart, I would. My devastation was immediately replaced with excitement. The pain of John’s rejection lasted for no more than five minutes.
That is why I don’t want you focusing all of your romantic affection on one dude. When you are 16 years old, or recovering from a break up no matter your age, the last thing you need is for you to allow one person to have that much power over you.
BE BOY CRAZY! Be art crazy! Be subject crazy! Be life crazy! This is the time to figure out what you want in life, in friends, and in a partner. When one of those dudes doesn’t live up to your standards, say goodbye and replace his name and face with another. There are so many wonderful young men out there! Please don’t saddle yourself down before you are ready.
And trust me, you’re not ready (and at the time of this writing, neither am I).
Meet, become friends with, and get to know as many eligible young men as possible, stay chaste and virtuous, live your awesome life, and let the cream rise to the top. And let him do the same. Eventually, after you have left home, discovered who you are and are rock solid in your goals and in your happiness, you’ll eventually find each other (whether you’ve known each other since you were kids or not). Only then should you start investing more of your heart in him. Then slowly, cautiously give him all of it.
And if he’s not investing in you or giving you his heart because you aren’t what he is looking for, he’s not your guy.
Create a life you love for YOU!
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, someone will break your heart. Sometimes the life you planned doesn’t work out and you wonder if you will ever be able to move on. It sucks. Let it suck. Cry. Scream! Wet your pillow with your tears and let the snotty tissues pile up in your trash can. Call me and rage about the injustice of life. Pray like your life depends on it.
Then pick yourself up and live again. Remember the things that you used to love! Remember your passion for musicals, art, and Doctor Who. Remember your talents and the hope that the future holds. Start to daydream about the life you always wanted. Travel, meet new people, do one thing every day that gets you closer to that fabulous life that relies only on the vision you create with God.
Happiness and joy is like an ice cream sundae. A man in your life is like the cherry on top… but the ice cream (you know, the most important ingredient)? That’s ALL you, hon!
Create the life that YOU want, and if that one special man wants to be a part of it, cool! If not…