Perhaps you’ve seen the gut-wrenching TV series Thirteen Reasons Why. I personally have not. I cannot bring myself to watch the series. I try not to watch things that will make me cry, with the exception of This is Us, which really must-see TV. If you can get through a season of that show without your eyes leaking, I question your humanity.
I feel like 13 Reasons why would make me cry for totally different reasons. I remember being an awkward teenager, feeling unloved, unhappy, and unnecessary. I have no desire to relive any of that. I have no desire to watch that happen to anyone else.
Which brings me to my real dilemma. On Sunday, my mini-me will be 13-years old. I will be mothering a teenager for the first time and I’m nervous. I’ve heard the horror stories. I’ve lived quite a few of those horror stories myself. I do not know that I’m prepared to shepherd her through these next few years as she faces test after test, some standardized and others, not so much.
Anyway, we have all heard that the number 13 is unlucky, but I’m refusing to look at it that way. In fact the year I turned 13 was one of the most transformative of my life. I look back at it with a fondness that rivals only my college experiences. So I’m providing my baby girl with thirteen reasons that 13 isn’t so bad. Here’s my list:
1) I got my first paying job at age 13. I baby-sat and was paid 100 dollars a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but that kind of money is huge for someone in middle school.
2)At age thirteen, I met the people who are still some of my best friends today, her father included. (Dear God! I met the man I would eventually marry at around age 13, and now we have a 13 year old kid. What if one of those knuckleheads she hangs around with will be her spouse. Jesus help us both!)
3) Speaking of Jesus, he plus his 12 disciples is a total of 13 people.
4) Israel and his 12 sons are also 13 people.
5) Some kids start learning to drive at age 13. I’ll start teaching her if she’s interested… but in her daddy’s car.
6)At age 13, she can officially have charge over her younger siblings. This is a plus for both of us!
7) The Motion Picture Association deems you old enough to watch some more adult material. I’m praying that some of things I laugh at inappropriately still go over your head!
8) In biblical times, age 12 was the age of accountability. In modern times, we’ve generally associated that with when you start your teenage years. The benefit of accountability is that you also get to exercise independence. We trust you to make a few decisions on your own. Make us proud.
9) You’ll probably go to your first homecoming game and dance this year. On the positive side, we get to go dress shopping. On the negative side, I will likely chaperone and embarrass you with my dancing.
10) College visits. Listen. Start watching “A Different World” and “grown-ish” now. Let’s talk about the pros and cons. Let’s talk about all the stuff you are going to see… and you are going to see a lot.
11) Boys. They will drive you crazy at this age. They will drive you crazier as times go on. They’ll be taller and stronger, but unfortunately, they are not necessarily smarter. Do with that what you will.
12)Cell phone. You finally have one. Use it wisely, or lose it.
13) Joshua and the Israelites walked around Jericho 13 times before the wall came tumbling down. You’ll have obstacles at this age(and every age going forward), but nothing you can’t handle following God’s (and your parents’) instructions.
Happy birthday, Pumpkin Pie. I love you to life!