1. Stay a kid for as long as you can. Play outside and pretend your bicycle is a horse. Pretend the couches are mountains you have to climb. Believe in magic, get lost in books and never stop dreaming. Days will come when these things will become hard to do, so while they are easy, never take them for granted.
2. Never be a doormat. Stick up for yourself and your beliefs — always. Never let your friends tell you what to do and never give into something that makes you feel uncomfortable because it’s cool. Be the odd one out — one day it will pay off to be your own individual — trust me.
3. Keep a journal. Write about what happens on important day and keep track of what makes you happy, sad, mad and unbearably angry. Write about the first time you think you’re in love. Write about the first time you feel like your heart is breaking. Think about what you can learn from dreadful experiences, and write them down. One day, you’ll look back and smile at all the memories — even the bad ones. Journals remind you of who you are, and maybe parts of you that you hope to find again. Keep track of yourself- no one else is going to know what really goes on in your head but you.
4. One day you will wish you could go to bed at 8:30, so don’t fight me when I try and make you sleep.
5. Cry. Cry over the friend you’ve drifted from. Cry over the test you failed (no matter how smart you are you will fail at least one test and that’s okay). Cry over the boy that broke your heart. Cry about the concert that I won’t let you go to because it’s on a school night. Cry over your favourite book character that died. Cry to your favourite song. Know that it is okay to cry and it’s okay to upset. But you must dry your eyes at some point, pick yourself up and keep going. No matter what- keep plugging away. And if you ever need a helping hand (or a metaphorical kick in the ass) I’ll be there.
6. You can tell me anything. You can tell me about the new song your favourite band released and how much it resonates with you. You can tell me about the drama going on at school. You can tell me about how you finally said hi to that boy you like, or maybe someone said hi to you. You can tell me about your first kiss, and how it might have been really weird. You can tell me that you are going to a party, and that you might try a drink. You can even ask me about that weird sex gif you saw on Tumblr one day (if Tumblr still exists). You can tell me about your mistakes and thoughts, because I’ve been there. I’ve been the drunk girl at the party making out with a boy whose name I didn’t know. I’ve been the shy girl in the school hallways too afraid to say a word, and I’ve definitely been the curious kid on the internet. As hard as it may be to believe, I’ve been where you are before, and I will never judge you for anything you do. I will always be on your side and help you get through anything.
7. Love yourself. This isn’t something that’s easy to do — and as you get older it won’t get easier. You are going to be bombarded with a million images of what “perfection” is and what is supposed to make you happy. You are going to idolize people who have a team of people to make them look flawless and think you should look like that too. You might start to picture yourself being successful only if you are thinner, or have longer hair, or if you were just that much more beautiful. Well let me tell you something: Every image is a lie. Every portrayal of perfection is nothing but a snapshot of a fabricated marketing scheme to make you feel like you need to change yourself in order to feel better. They want your money honey — that’s all. So find it within yourself to fight off the voices that so desperately want to believe these images. Quiet this voice by deciding for yourself what happiness is. It can be anything you want it to be. Whatever makes your heart flutter flutters makes you feel whole- hang onto it. Never let anything or anyone take it from you.
8. In my years on the planet, I’ve learned a lot — but (unfortunately) I still don’t know everything. There will come a time when you realize that I can’t protect you from everything — but sure as hell will always try. And one day, when you’re on your own, you will cry and ask me how to be an adult, and I won’t be able to tell you, because I’m still figuring it out too. No one ever knows what they are doing 100% of the time. Life is not about knowing everything, it’s about making the most out of what you have at your grasp, and working hard to get to where you want to go.
9. Even on the days when we’re far away from each other and it’s been a while, I will always be your mom.