There are a few things I want to share with my daughter about the strangely awesome rollercoaster ride she’s about to take called middle school.

Wear a bra. Otherwise known as an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. I know you’re going to feel self-conscious about it at first, but boobs are part of growing up. Everybody (if they’re lucky) has them. And you were born to me. So, Ummm . . . hello? You might as well accept it. Strap ’em in and move on.

Sex. Don’t believe what your friends say. Trust me when I tell you they are clueless on this subject, and probably don’t know what the heck they are talking about. Instead, ask me anything and everything, no matter how much it makes us blush. After all, I know a few things when it comes to sex because I’ve done it (at least twice) which makes me smarter than most 12-year-olds.

Sports. Keep playing them. No matter which ones you choose, you are less likely to engage in sex, drugs, and other kinds of high-risk behaviors if you play sports. Show up ready to play with passion, heart, joy, and effort. Always.

Boys. Don’t believe anyone who tells you a boy being mean to you translates to him liking you. Getting attention through hurtful actions, physically or mentally, is not love. Plus, you’re too young for serious relationships, anyway. Boys can be just friends. And NO always means NO.

Booty Shorts. Cover your butt. That is all.

Humble pie. Learn to eat it. Frequently. Say sorry when you are wrong. Accept responsibility for your mistakes. Have confidence and opinions but know you don’t know it all.

Moods. They are gonna swing. Sometimes minute to minute. Take a deep breath and know it’ll pass. And I will love you even when you feel unlovable and are mean to me.

Be you. Continue to be a square peg. Because your uniqueness is what will ultimately allow you to change the world. Never conform. Don’t bother trying to fit in. Keep beating to your own drum.

Drama. Nobody has time for that crap; walk away from situations that don’t serve you. But, never be indifferent. Speak up for those whose voices are softer. See it, own it.

Social media. It’s not happening. Our house, our rules. You will thank me someday. Get “likes” through real relationships. Friends aren’t made to be collected by way of followers. Instead, work to make authentic ones.

Be kind. You never know who may need a light in their life. Try being someone’s ray rather than putting others in your shadow. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. In fact, you should choose wisely. But, be inclusive. Leaving others out is mean. Extend grace and compassion to others.

Be aware. Invite those outside your circle to join you. Reach out to the kid sitting alone. Make eye contact. Introduce yourself. Be bold. Don’t give a darn what others think.

Explore. Play an instrument. Try out for the school play. Always have a good book handy. Understand math and writing are muscles; the more you use them, the stronger they will get.

Finally, know you’ve been given many gifts, most of which will take you decades to realize. You will flub up. Sometimes embarrass the heck out of yourself. But keep trying new things. Embrace your failures and learn from them because it’s all part of being uniquely YOU!

In the end, know you are a child of God. Pace yourself. Greatness awaits.

You may also like:

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Moods. They are gonna swing. Sometimes minute to minute. Take a deep breath and know it’ll pass. And I will love you even when you feel unlovable and are mean to me. #middleschool #teens #tweens #raisinggirls #daughters

Valli Vida Gideons

I am a military bride, who writes about raising kids with cochlear implants, military life, and other things from the heart. Unrelated but not irrelevant... I have a degree in journalism and wrote my first short story in second grade about a walking/talking sponge; I've been an exercise instructor since my teen years (Flashdance sweatshirts, leg warmers and vinyl records to prove it); and may have been an extra on the vintage 90's hit, Beverly Hills 90210 (proof still found on VHS tapes). I got hypothermia in my first marathon at mile 25.5, but went on to kick butt the next six times I toed the line; I use to cut hair on Melrose Ave. in another life; and I am still besties with my two closest pals from elementary school, who encouraged me to share my story. This is my journey. I hope it provides a sliver of inspiration for anyone who is entering or in the midst of a fog. Follow my journey on Facebook and my blog!