You turned 13 on Saturday. Usually I have your birthday letter ready on the day of your birthday, but since I spent four days this past week driving you to and from Red Deer, I hope you’ll forgive me for writing it two days late.
You are officially a teenager, which is really hard for me to wrap my head around. Because it doesn’t feel like 13 whole years have passed between these photos:
To you, the main thing about turning 13 is this: you get to have access to Facebook. Yay? I hope you use it well and that you let me know if anyone is being a douche-canoe.
I’m very proud of you, Kaylie. You’ve become quite responsible and therefore have been given certain freedoms. You love biking to school (six kilometres away) on your own, and taking your younger siblings to get slurpees (or, “swuppies”, according to your brother). You’ve even flown by yourself. But you’re not getting your driver’s licence till you’re 21, okay? You’ve learned to cook and bake and do laundry on your own. Just read the directions closely in recipes so you don’t add a cup rather than a teaspoon of baking powder, okay?
You like the schooling part of school and have excelled in almost every subject. I hope you keep working hard as you enter eighth grade. I know that girls your age can be jerks, but know that high school doesn’t last forever. Soon it will be done and you’ll enter the real world, where there are also jerks, but in not-as-concentrated amounts. You care about your friends a lot, and I’m impressed at the grace you show toward them even if they don’t deserve it. You do, however, need to learn to not take their burdens on as your burdens. You are empathetic, but at a certain point you need to let go so that you do not self-destruct. Also? If a boy wants to date you, he has to ask your dad first.
Your younger siblings look up to you. You and Liliana butt heads a lot, but I hope that as you two grow up you’ll learn to treat each other with more kindness and to stop with the fighting. It happened with me and my siblings, and I’m sure it will happen with you two as well. I’m glad, though, that you two do love each other, and that you do show it once in a while. You love playing Minecraft and other video games together, and often you’ll play with toys with her as well. Liliana loves spending time with you; you are one of her most-favourite people.
Since there are ten years (and a buffer) between the two of you, you and Preston get along much easier. He calls you something that sounds like “Kiwi”, but I’m sure he’ll get his Ls straightened out soon enough. He (and Liliana) loves watching you in everything you do. As I write this, he is sitting right beside you as you play “Miyokwaft” (MarioCraft) and giving you advice as to when to jump and when to grab coins. Yes, MarioCraft is not the correct title, but he just wants to be with you, doing what you do. He pays attention to the things you and Liliana do and wants to be involved with them as well.
I’m thankful that you talk with and confide in me often. I love talking with you and I hope it continues as you go through your teenage years and beyond. I hope this coming year brings you joy, and that you develop the skills necessary to face the challenges that will inevitably come your way. As much as I’d like to protect you from any pain that comes your way, you will only be living in our house for another five years before we kick you out and you’ll have to fend for yourself. (Though come home often, okay?)
I love you, you goober.