Rosie turns 13 tomorrow. So, it got me to thinking. What are the ten things I wish my mom said to me before I embarked on my teen-age journey (in her defense, she could have said them. I may not have listened. I was more than a little stubborn for the first 25 years of my life). Here they are in no particular order.
#1 Less skin is more- While it’s okay if you bare that belly at dance and the pool, walking around Oak Park mall flaunting a half-shirt just looks tacky. And, having your tushie hang out of your shorts is just plain wrong. When it comes to dressing, you always want to leave people guessing (I think I may patent that line). And remember how deathly afraid you are of needles the first time you think you may want a tattoo (which lasts FOREVER) and you may not want to pierce anything you can’t show in public.
#2 You won’t die if you eat well- Yep, some of the stuff we try and feed you tastes like crap, but once your taste buds mature (and you notice that you don’t have health issues like some of your friends) you may begin to like eating well. Promise. No one has ever died from taking regular doses of vitamins. And, water, it isn’t poison. Promise.
#3 The grass isn’t greener- We all want what we don’t have. So, if you had straight hair, you’d want curls. Your legs are not too long and you won’t be too tall. Be happy with the gifts God gave you. When you look in the mirror embrace your freckles. And, if you ever think of putting a blue streak in your hair, remember that people pay hundreds of dollars every day to have your hair color. And Rosie, someone will always have a bigger home, cooler clothes and a better car. It never changes.
#4 The nasty girls? They only get worse- Those girls over there (you know the ones whispering and pointing that get in your face and make you feel small?), they are bitches (Whew! I can finally say that now that you’re a teen). Most likely they have low self-esteem and treat others like crap to try to make themselves feel better. Or, they’re threatened. But, you know what? They’re just plain mean and they’re not going to change. In fact, they wind up being the nasty moms later in life. Smile real big and run away.
#5 Boys like to play games- First they like you, then they don’t. Then they like your best friend. Face it. They can’t make up their minds. Sweetheart, it doesn’t change. Have lots of guy friends and wait for a while. Let them grow up a little and also make them wonder what’s so amazing about you. That way we can hopefully delay your first heartbreak.
#6 Wait for that first kiss- You only get one chance so take the time to make sure it’s someone that you ‘d want to remember when you’re 45 (yes, I still remember mine). I know that may sound lame, but you don’t want an acne faced, football captain that really is a dick to be that memory. Pick a nice boy. And, then remind him that Daddy has guns. (I would be remiss if I didn’t say the same thing goes for sex. Now that I’ve completely horrified you, I will just move on)
#7 Don’t let them dare you- Guess what? The first person that says, “You won’t be cool if you don’t (smoke a cigarette, drink a beer, do something stupid)…” is an idiot. Run like hell. Coolness has nothing to do with following the crowd. (And, yes, I know you guys probably don’t say the word “cool” anymore but you get the point). Be a leader.
#8 There is nothing good to do after midnight (this my mother did tell me)- Sooner or later you’re going to want to stay out late and Daddy and I are going to have to tell you no. The only things to do after midnight will get you in trouble. Trust me on this one. I went to jail.
#9 Don’t let anyone dash your dreams- There will always be people in life that are critical and those that try to tear you down. Always believe that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to and that you can reach the stars. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Promise you’ll always believe.
#10 Everything you do is public- You, my dear, are growing up in an age where everything is Instagrammed and it’s all permanent. Taking pictures of anything other than your face or fully-clothed body will haunt you later. Sending an amorous text may only cause you pain. You don’t want to be sitting on a job interview in 10 years and have a dossier of social media snafu’s handed to you for explanation.
And the bonus….
#11 It’s okay to cry- Be prepared, the next few years are rough. Don’t be afraid of some tears. And, don’t be scared to tell me it all. I will be here for you. And, I will probably cry too. And, that’s okay.