My teenage years were arguably the most awkward- aren't they for everyone?
Personally, I began high school at 12, and consequently, entered my teens among peers who already had a few years experience handling what it really meant to be a teenager. I might have been a fledgling among experts but I distinctly recall how quickly I caught on to the keystones of teenage-hood; sharp tongues and attitude, fierce independence, and entitled superiority. Since that sounds more like a dictator, than someone's child, it's easy to see why teens get a bad wrap. But, truth is, the teen years are still some of the most magical years for a parent or guardian. Momma liked to call me 'half baked'- she'd say "most of the hard work is done, now I can watch my hard work rise and truly define itself."
Sabrina was extremely shy when I met her, but I quickly learned her shyness was only a cover for her intelligent quirkiness, and a secret passion for heavy metal (taught in her younger years by her uncle.) It's hard to believe the very first photo I took of her for this blog is that young girl with the round rosy cheeks, holding that plus panda blanket.
(She's got the teenage look down, right?)
It's even harder to think how the afternoons after school, and the Summer vacations turned into road trips and girls nights out. I became a mentor, and gained something priceless in a relationship I couldn't imagine not having in my life. And, I'll admit, both her mother and I dreaded the swap from tween to teen- where had the baby girl disappeared to so quickly? But, a she's moved, and taken on a whole new set of challenges, learned how to play an instrument, and joined a volleyball team, there is no limit to the surprises Sabrina the teenager has in store. And we couldn't be more proud.
Yoplait Go Big, the new Grip And Rip real yogurt product from Yoplait, challenged me to write a letter and share what makes the teenager in my life so amazing. I didn't hesitate at the challenge- it's actually something I've been wanting to do since Sabrina and her (military) family were relocated last year. So I sent my sister to her local Walmart, where Sabrina was excited to see the new Yoplait product, designed just for active teens like her, and I sat down to write a letter that flowed quite easy.
Sabrina never looked at her mothers' prince charming as a threat- she never rebelled with jealously. In an act that I feel would have been quite hard for me to do at her age, she opened her heart to all 3 of them, and embraced her new family. A single child became a big sister almost over night, and she truly shone in the role- then came Nathan, a brand new baby brother, demanding everyone's love, patience and time, and Sabrina amazed me yet again. Here's an except from my letter to Sabrina:
"Brina, to say that you have become a young woman is about as cliche as it gets- but my heart truly swells at the vision of you over the past few years. Once an independent, smart, fierce young girl living alone with her mother- one might have thought that was the biggest challenge. But, in truth, the way you have opened your home, and your heart, to a family that loves you so equally in exchange is in my eyes one of your biggest accomplishments.
As much as you fuss about what music is playing, or how your makeup looks, I know it's titles like "Cory's daughter" and "Nathan's big sister" that truly define you. As a teenage you are asked to fulfill so many roles, athlete, student, individual- but its' your resolve to the roles within your family that truly inspire me, and emphasizes your transition to a young woman."
"Sabrina, you're far from a constant ray of sunshine- so much for an inspiring letter, huh? But let's be real, I still remember waking you up from an after school nap and wondering who fed the Gremlins after midnight. NEVER wake Sabrina from her slumber!
But, I digress, if I had a dollar for every time you turned a downright rotten day into a more tolerable one, I'd be buying us both front row Bruno Mars tickets. Ha! One of my favorite memories still has to the return drive from Universal Studios where you remixed a Taylor Swift song so much I literally peed myself a little. Your unique perspective and witty outlook has always offered a fresh view to even the most mundane of situations. There's never a dull day when you're around, and you'll always be the life of my party."
I bet your teen is amazing too. Why not let Go Big spotlight that amazingness? For a chance to win the spotlight for your teen, go to the Go Big Amazing Teens contest page and share how your teen inspires you. Go Big will select three teens with amazing stories and give them a platform to show the world, in addition to a $3000 cash prize! For more information, full contest rules can be found on the Go Big Facebook Page.
What Daughter Says: The teenage years are definitely years worth watching.