Today my sister Nikki turns thirteen. I can hardly believe that thirteen years have passed since we first brought her home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.
Nikki has always felt a bit like a mini-me. She is incredibly creative, a true dreamer, always with a song in her heart and a bit of a dance in her step. She's growing into such a beautiful and talented girl. I kind of can't wait to see all she has yet to do in life. I have no doubt she will shine, no matter what path she chooses to follow.
I can't help but remember being thirteen, myself. Becoming a teenager is a pretty huge thing. Even though it's just a number, I still remember feeling so…grown up. Mature. Listening to my favorite songs in my room, putting on make-up in my mirror and thinking I was probably going to fall in love for the first time in a matter of days. Ah, yes. Such bliss.
My advice to Nikki, on her thirteenth birthday, is the following:
Always be proud to be you. Embrace all the lovely, quirky, millions of tiny things that are a part of who you are. In life, there are always going to be those girls who don't like you, boys who ignore you, and people who you wish you could be more like. But if it's one thing I've learned, it's that those people don't really matter. There will be hundreds more girls who can't wait to be your best friend, boys who want to catch your eye, and people who wish they could be more like you.
Find your favorite song, and sing out loud. Even if nobody else is singing. Remember that it's okay to be a good girl, a nice girl, the one who cares a little too much. Be proud of your faith, your beliefs and your incredibly silly side.
Don't rush it. Try to enjoy being thirteen. Believe me, before you know it you'll want to go back to these days and probably wish you wouldn't have been so eager to grow up. You'll get there. Just enjoy where you are in each moment, every day.
And remember that I'm always here (even if far away) whenever you need a friend, sister or confidant.
So, I'm asking you, my darling readers: If you were to give one piece of advice to a thirteen-year-old girl, what would it be? Please share your wisdom (or perhaps just a birthday wish for Nikki!) in the comments.