A Letter to my Tween Daughter

My daughter is now 13, as she reminds me often, but I still think of this age as the end of the tween years. It’s an interesting middle-ground between childhood and transitioning into teenage years. Some days she’s moody and tired, showing all the signs of teenage life ahead, and other times she’s giggling and silly just like she acted as a nine-year-old. She isn’t a child or a teen: she’s both. This time is so fleeting. I know I’ll blink and she’ll be packing for college. Pausing to reflect on how special this time is, I hope she knows how important this time in her life is, too. Here is an open letter to my daughter:

Dear Daughter,

These years are beautiful, and they are hard. You are growing and maturing each day, but you are still so youthful and innocent. I watch your friendships transition, your school responsibilities growing, and the way you handle life around you. Some days are fun and carefree, and some days are increasingly harder as you navigate relationships and challenges around you.

There are so many times I want to jump in and “fix things” for you, but you usually ask me to stay out of it. I struggle with how hard that is, but do my best to honor your wishes (as long as it’s safe to do so). I want you to learn how to find loyalty and truth in people, even if it means losing some friends along the way. I want you to learn how to stand up for yourself and for others, even when it’s hard. I want you to learn how difficult conflict can be, but experience the truth that most things work themselves out over time. I want you to know how special you are, no matter what outfit you have on or what event you have been invited to.

I watch you form opinions about certain topics in the news or subjects you hear about from your classmates. You are curious and compassionate, which is exactly what I wish for you to be. You see the good in people and try to understand both sides, which is one of the most beautiful things about you. You are intelligent and try to understand things by asking good questions and staying open-minded. There is so much you don’t understand yet and so much life to experience. I wish for you to stay true to yourself and protect your mind and your heart as you grow and experience the world.

These lessons will serve you throughout your whole adult life. There will always be victories and hardships all along the way. Knowing yourself and knowing who to trust are two of the most important lessons any of us can carry. Know that I am here to listen, no matter the hour and no matter the topic. I want to know about the school crushes, who’s being a jerk at school today, which teachers give the worst homework, what jeans you think are the coolest … I won’t agree with all of the things, but I want to know them.

The best thing about having a teen daughter is seeing her flourish into the next stage of life. It’s heart-wrenching to see the childhood falling away, but exhilarating to watch the future version of you coming to fruition. I know you’ll find yourself bit by bit along the way, as you continue your education and build a life for yourself. Sometimes I picture the adult version of you; I pray for her. My biggest hope is that you find peace and happiness in every step of your journey. And that you know your mom is always here.

Love, Mom

Rachel Harris Ledet
A New Orleans native and entrepreneurial mom, Rachel maintains a daily balance of running her own marketing firm, 30|90 Marketing, managing her kids’ schedules, and maintaining an active extracurricular life including teaching dance, volunteering, and instructing a digital marketing class at UNO. Rachel lives in Mandeville with her best friend and husband Lenny, daughters Addison and Amelia, stepson Luke, and new baby Tucker. With a growing family and a million balls in the air, Rachel keeps things light by continuously learning, spending time with amazing friends, blogging, finding any route to a concert or outdoor festival, and planning her next getaway with her husband. A sense of humor can get you through almost anything, so she tends to surround herself with fabulous and very funny people.

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