Kids, as that old-y time-y TV program, How I Met Your Mother likes to begin:
I am so damn proud of you. Whoever you are, whatever you do, already and in the future, I am proud of you. Because, heck, you came out of nowhere and took over my life, and it takes a lot to manage that because I’m inherently both lazy and hidebound and I like my little ways and I like my stuff just the way I like it.
But aside from my dislike for change, which you have challenged every morning, noon, and night (especially night) of your lives, you are amazing people. You are so much yourselves, and nobody else. You listen even when I think you don’t, you take on board information I have trouble processing myself, you know what you should be doing even if, even as, you make an informed decision not to abide by it. You stand up for yourselves, you demand attention, you shout, dammit. (Shhh. My ears.)
Don’t ever lose the self-assurance you have now, in your pre-tween years. It may be damped down a little in adolescence, when you strive for acceptance among your peers by trying to fit in or by keeping quiet when something inside you would rather sing and dance. But bring it back as you emerge from your chrysalis, shedding one skin after another as we do in our teens, trying on one persona and then the next like so many pairs of jeans, until we are finally left with ourselves, whether we like it or not – and then we have to learn to love what we are, or be miserable ever after.
Take your parents’ love for you, our delight in you, our trust and belief and our assurance that you’re beautiful and that you’re worth all of it and more, and keep all those things in your heart, so that you demand that worth from the people you encounter, the ones you love whom you want to love you back. And from yourselves.
I’m proud of you, because you are you.