I sent you daily affirmations for a while, while you were too far away and dealing with too much, and it was the best way I knew to keep beating out “I love you, I love you” on my heart drum so that you could hear it. You complained, once home again, that I’d stopped doing it. I guess the daily stuff fades into the background, not quite as loud, easy to ignore and easier still to forget where it comes from and what it means.
Part of me is grateful for the forgetting. Last year on your birthday all I wanted was for us to forget, all of us. Especially you, my delicate, emotional sponge. You soaked up everything, got wrung out, soaked up more, and you frayed at the edges a little more each time. As hard as it is to watch, I know it’s harder to live.
Today’s affirmation (1): On your 15th birthday, you are still here, and you are stronger than you knew.
Life isn’t perfect. Not now, probably not ever. Human beings are flawed and life is hard, sometimes—maybe most of the time—and that’s okay. Waves of emotion still crash over you in ways I know you wish they wouldn’t. The difference is that now you get right back up and keep going.
Today’s affirmation (2): You didn’t give up. You falter (you’re allowed to be human!), but it doesn’t stop you. You are unstoppable.
You push. You find the boundaries and sidle right along them and poke and prod and streeeetch to see where they might not hold up. There is not an argument you’re not willing to have to prove your point. There is not a rule you’ll accept as immobile until you’ve thoroughly body-slammed it. You take nothing on face value. You need to work it all out on your own before it’s real and true.
Today’s affirmation (3): Everything that makes you a challenging child to parent will make you a confident, capable adult. (And I truly am glad for this, even when you’re driving me crazy.)
All hail the Meme Queen! You slip your own humor into everything, create your own versions of excellent reasons to laugh. Comic relief is always available, usually in Photoshopped form, but sometimes simply in a quirked eyebrow, interpretive dance, or even just a few words. I confess I kept my blog blocked on your computer purely to hear you squeal, “Moooooom! YOUR BLERG IS BLERKED!” a few more times.
Today’s affirmation (4): As long as you can laugh, you will find a way to be okay.
We butt heads. OH HOW WE BUTT HEADS, you and me. I call you Gretel when you leave a trail of items through the house. I call you Frances when you eschew a carefully-prepared dinner in favor of a sunbutter-and-jelly sandwich. You resent my meddling. And then you resent me telling you that I won’t get involved. We push buttons, both of us. Push, pull, push, pull. It comes from love, you know. It won’t always be quite like this. But it’s okay that it is for now.
Today’s affirmation (5): When you inspire strong feelings in someone, or feel strong feelings in reaction to someone, that’s telling you something important. You’re getting better at listening to that.
I started baking this morning before I’d even finished my coffee. You asked for flourless chocolate cake, saying it was so that I could have some, too, but I teased you that it’s just because the gluten-free version eliminates all that pesky flour in favor of more butter and chocolate. Your sweet tooth is voracious. But it’s also an easy way to hide other things.
Today’s affirmation (6): Today, cake; tomorrow, who knows? I see you there. I see you giving a damn even when you try to pretend you don’t. I see you.
You’ve changed, some. You open yourself up to more people, I think. Slowly, still, but it’s progress. And sometimes people are jerks. But mostly people are kind. And most important: good things happen, bad things happen, but you accept that this is the cost of letting people in.
Today’s affirmation (7): It’s worth it. YOU are worth it. I think you’re finally understanding that.
Our family was incomplete without you, for too long. Whatever you think you know about what matters to the rest of us or how you may “complicate” our household, this is one topic where you underestimate your importance. Yeah, life went on. But it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t right, for any of us. Your brother may be the most effusive when it comes to showing you how much greater he thinks life is with you here, but he’s not alone.
Today’s affirmation (8): You are an important, irreplaceable, and treasured part of our family. Always.
This could be the year, Chickie-pie. I really think it might be. You’re 15, and you’re walking around with a soul that’s about 90, and you probably sometimes wish you were only 5, and I get how that can make for a rather confusing daily experience. But look at how far you’ve come. Look at everything spread out in front of you, yours for the taking. Seriously, look at you now, kid. LOOK. Don’t shrug it away. Own it. It’s you, and you are AMAZING.
Today’s affirmation (9): You’ve come a long way, baby.
Today’s affirmation (10): Look at the last year, and tell me you don’t believe you can get through anything. I dare you.
Today’s affirmation (11): There is a pound and a half of butter in your cake. YOU ARE WORTH A POUND AND A HALF OF BUTTER (and possibly an angioplasty).
Today’s affirmation (12): You inspire me. Today and every day.
Today’s affirmation (13): I love you more than you know.
Today’s affirmation (14): A lot of people love you more than you know. This is because you are lovable, it turns out.
Today’s affirmation (15): Happy, happy birthday to my favorite 15-year-old. You are truly the most amazing thing I’ve ever made (shhh, don’t tell your brother).