I imagine when you were little, the dreams of turning 16 were high on your hit list. The sparkly shirts, and fancy hair styles just to prove that you were well on your way to being 16 proved just that. I have often said that you were born to be a teenager, and in a way I still find that true. But in another way, I wonder how true you think it is. Do you find being a teenager harder than you thought? Is it all that you dreamed it would be? Do you ever wish you could go back to being that carefree little girl who thought 16 year olds had it made?
Watching you over the past few years has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Now that you have officially landed in the camp of being 16, I often wonder if you really think its all that it is. No doubt you do. You drink in every minute, and don’t let any moment pass you by.
Many people say that the teenage years are hard – I have to wonder if you think the same. You seem to have gone beyond all that. Put the hardships in their place, and grabbed a hold of life with everything in you – as if you are saying you will not be beaten down, you have lived for this moment, and here you are. 16.
Looking back over all the years, time has gone so fast – which is maybe quite possibly why I still see you as being little.
This year has been far from easy – and of course you have taken it all in stride, you are growing up, and perhaps that is what makes it more difficult, not on you of course. Growing up is your thing. Watching you grow, and realizing that more and more I have to let you go, and let you grow – has proven to be more difficult on me than you. Letting go has never been, my thing.
Even though they say that I should be the one teaching you, you have always been the one teaching me. Teaching me this year to let go. There is so much I want to save you from, but realize that I cant. Saving you from something you need to experience so you can grow, would only harm you. And so it is. This year, I have let you go. I have watched as you step out, and take the world into your hands. And while I fear for you, you have no fear.
They often say that watching a three year old can be fascinating, but honestly I find watching you more fascinating. You are not put off by obstacles, you don’t stop when things get hard, and you don’t give up when they don’t go your way. You define the odds, and put the philosophers to shame. You redefine meanings, and pave your own path – not caring who casts the odd look. YOU. Show them how it is done, and don’t ask to be shown.
All in all you are a great kid, who really isnt so much a kid anymore. Somehow it seems, that you will be ok. Not because everything will go smooth for you, or because you wont have bumps in your road, but because you have the right attitude. You don’t give up. You hang on and fight, and you keep on going until you accomplish what you have set out to do. Stubbornness at its finest, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Yes there are days that I worry. Its my job, to worry about you. I worry that one day your dreams will be shattered, or that you will lose your perspective. I worry you will settle for less than the best, or that you will give into the constant demands around you. I worry that you will forget to pursue what makes YOU happy, and instead chase someone else’s dreams. But every time I worry – I am reminded. You arent just another 16 year old girl. You are YOU. You grow, and change, and learn and fall. But you always find the way up, and I have no doubts that you will be changed by the world around you – but rather the world around you, will be changed.
Every year you prove me wrong – and every year I couldn’t be more proud of who you are, and who you are becoming.
Keep teaching, keep showing, and keep living life to its fullest.
Happy 16th Birthday kiddo,
– Your Uncle
“Never change who you are so that other people will like you
Just be yourself and the right people will love you just for being you.”