letter to my new teenager

Hey you, with your beautiful eyes and your bones which were once so insubstantial as hope, as my long-dreamed dream of you. What advice shall I give to you, girl on the eve of your thirteenth birthday?

Many would say Shakespeare put it best.

This above all - to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

So let's start with that. This is what I'd advise you, darling:


First off, understand your source of intelligence. Don't just go with something because it sounds good. Take Polonius, for example. He was originally known as Corambis for a good reason. (Shakespeare always had a good reason.) The name means reheated cabbage. Always consider the context when you are deciding if something is actually wisdom or not.

Secondly, sweetheart, don't be true to yourself. Not necessarily, anyway. And certainly not if you've been listening to people like Polonius or whoever quotes him without thinking. You're still young, untested. Stuff that seems like a clever idea to the thirteen year old brain may be obvious disaster to those of us who have lived through it before and actually know. Love yourself. But listen to other people. Just make sure they're good people, smart, with your best interests at heart. How will you know? Well, mainly, they'll listen back. And they'll not be trying to sell you something - not a product, an idea, a vision, a service, or themselves.

Thirdly, question things. Don't just take the road less travelled, read the whole bloody poem, learn about the poet, comprehend what he meant when he wrote about two roads diverging. Understand what Polonius actually represented before you decide whether his advice works for you. Go deep. Always, always, go deep. The light on the surface of rippling water is beautiful, mesmerising. But its the weeds underneath that you most need to know about.

Mainly though, this is what I want you to understand: there are no limits to love. Your very existence is proof of that. So go hard in the cathedral of the wild. You can never, ever, under any circumstances, fail with love.


ps, listen to Pink Floyd.

Love,
your mother.

15 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to Rose! What a lucky girl she is to have such a wise, loving mama. I loved every word of this letter.

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  2. A wonderful letter. Happy Birthday to your lovely girl!

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  3. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl!

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  4. Beautiful letter. With love as my faith, I believe your 'there are no limits to love' will never fail your young girl.
    Sarah, I have a question, Is it Rose's birthday? I remember reading she was born on yule day, isn't that in December?

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    1. Only in the northern hemisphere :-)

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    2. I was unaware, Thank you.
      Wishing Rose a beautiful birthday and a life abundant with God's blessings!
      May tomorrow be full of poetry for both of you :)

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  5. Happy birthday, Rose. You are blessed to have such a mom.

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  6. haha love the ps. oh how i wish my young self had been given such wise and gentle advice. what a wonderful little gift as your daughter enters her teens.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Ha ha, I can't win! No matter ho bolshy, gritty, snarky I get, people still call me gentle! Please, people, you need to know me in real life. So not gentle.

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    1. Sorry, meant that to come with a ;-) and a deep and genuine thank you to all for your lovely comments :-)

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  9. The wo-man doth protest too much.. perhaps ;-)

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  10. I'm sorry you deleted your lovely comment because I should have put a :-) with mine to assure you I was charmed, only a little bemused by the disconnect between my real self and blog self :-) I hope I didn't offend you.

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  11. no..not offended sarah. the comment i deleted was a duplicate..same comment posted twice?? or thats how it looked here.. if you only see one commnet on your end.. and its a deleted one.. sorry :-)

    real self.. blog self.. are they not all just aspects of the same self? the beautiful multi faceted spirits, we are.

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  12. Dear Cousin, this is priceless! Love you and that newly-minted teen!

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