Here you are. Standing on the doorstep of teenage-ness. Brace yourself, buddy. They don’t refer to them as the years of angst for nothin’.

There will be irrational emotions that arise in your heart and plummet into your gut without warning; there will be acne and body odor and other physiological weirdness; there will be jerks who transform into first-rate a-holes; there will be mild flirtations, booty shorts, and full-blown geeked-out immaturity; there will be self-consciousness and questionable judgement; there will be more important boundaries and more serious rules; there will be tons of mistakes, blunders, and epic flub-ups.

But . . .

There will also be glimpses into the things that bring you true joy and ignite your passion; there will be responsibilities that allow you to find your own voice; there will be access to deeper insights and wisdom; there will be true independence and self-direction; there will be people who start to get, I mean really get you; there will be glimpses of the man you will become, even though you may still feel kind of like a kid and kind of not.

Don’t be fooled by the bad rap it gets.

This is, indeed, a magical time. And, so far, I love who you are morphing into. You are funny, and intelligent, and goofy, and hard-working, and unassuming. At times you can be annoying and loud (so very loud), but there are also moments you transform into the most interestingly exquisite person in the room.

Your curiosity from boyhood has sustained as a unique gift, proving to be an asset as you enter this next phase. All great thinkers crave knowledge. Keep being insatiable. 

I hope you never lose that wonder. I hope you never lose your faith. And when you do, I hope you look up rather than down. I hope you always see mountains you want to climb, oceans you want to cross, and pools that inspire you to cannon . . BALLLLLLLL! 

I hope you never experience true heartbreak. But, if (and when) you do, it’ll mean you have loved. Don’t worry, your kin-peeps will always have your back.

You truly are my muse, my battle call. And though at times I may get frustrated and lose my cool, I am and will always be in love with you. 

Happiest Birthday. 


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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!