Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

How 13 Feels

on May 3, 2013


Until this morning, I felt fine. 13 is no big deal (just an entire decade +3…no biggie). Yes, it’s a milestone, but it’s just another birthday, right?

Wrong! 13 is huge. Not only have 13 years come and gone, making me 13 years older (aghhhh!), but my Hail is also 13 now (signal teary eyes and the urge to sob for hours)?! Where did the sweet little nose and feet, constant smiles, hugs, kisses and snuggles go? Will she ever love me the same again? We used to be buddies, exploring the world together, but now…


Since she turned about 10 years old, our relationship has continued to change. Mostly, I have become her #1 enemy (not by choice). And, as a teacher who works with adolescents every day, I know this is perfectly normal; it’s just part of her becoming her own person and blossoming slowly into an independent woman. She’s just trying to makes sense of all the change she is experiencing too.

But, as a mom, and even as her “step-mom,” it sucks. No, … It’s devastating. It’s the deep kind of hurt that slaps you in the face over and over again, unexpectedly. Every time she speaks to me in a new, grating tone or says something like, “You’re 34, so you don’t know,” I realize that the days where she looked up to me with her sweet, adoring eyes are over.


I keep telling myself that it’s just karma, and that it’s normal (Let’s not talk about how I treated my mom until about 25…and I love her to death!). “Just take it in stride,” I tell myself. But, the slow transition has been sooooooo hard, for both of us I think. In fact, perhaps it’s been harder on her.

Although I don’t remember the hormonal ups and downs of adolescence (I actually think I may have been more emotionally stable then!), I do remember that everything was a BIG deal. And, every time my parents enforced a rule to protect me, I felt as if their entire goal was to ruin my life. Ashamedly, I often shouted that I hated them…ouch (So, so, so, so sorry mom and dad!!!).


I don’t want her to feel that way about me or her dad, but it may just be one of those unavoidable things in life. And, since advice is the very last thing she wants from me right now, I will put it safely on this page, so she can see it when she is ready, and hopefully she will revisit it often.

For My Hail

~Don’t grow up too fast; time moves quickly enough.


~You don’t need a boyfriend or a man to make you feel whole. If he doesn’t accept you exactly the way you are…get rid of him IMMEDIATELY!

~When you feel like your entire world is shattered and there is no way it could get any worse, it will get better; I promise.

~Find out what you are great at…what you really have a passion for in life…and do it! Try new things without hesitation. Be adventurous and open-minded to the possibilities life offers! Don’t take the road most traveled and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Find your happy space!


~Stay balanced: Work hard and play hard. Work out, but challenge your mind too. Keep the people you love close but make time for yourself.

~Don’t settle…ever. Nothing is going to be perfect or exactly how you envisioned it, but that doesn’t mean you should accept anything but the best.


~Enjoy being young; youth is fleeting!

~Forgive those who hurt you. If you can let go of the pain and move forward, you will be a stronger person for it. Life has a way of using your pain to teach the lessons you need the most. Learn to forgive yourself too!


~You have an inner voice for a reason. Honor it. Whatever it tells you, listen and act!

~Daddy and I are always here for you! You will inevitably find yourself in a pickle at some point. Call us, talk to us, reach out. We love you and will know what to do to help.

~Having a few, really loyal friends who are there for you no matter what is much better than having a bunch of friends who may or may not be there when you need them.


~Treat others like you would want to be treated, even when it’s hard. We all have our bad days, pain that we are trying to overcome and issues we struggle with. Remember that we are all human and will inevitably mess up.

~Be grateful…for everything. There’s always going to be people who have more or less than you, but the grass is not greener on the other side…it’s really not.


~Love your body…I know that sounds weird, but your body will change with every new stage of your life – enjoy and celebrate it! Don’t listen to the music or media that tells you women must have “perfect” bodies. If you are healthy, you are perfectly you!

~Sex does not equal love. Don’t believe any guy who tells you this…ever. If he loves you, he will respect you and wait. Love should be butterflies and excitement when you are young. Sex on the other hand is painful and complicated before you are ready. When you are ready (about 20 years after you think you actually are…), it’s an amazing and beautiful addition to love.


~Give. Give of your time, give of yourself, give of your resources or your talents. Find a cause, a charity, a club or an organization that you love and give whatever you can. Whether it’s social, environmental, political or religious, helping others will reward you in ways that you never even imagined.

~Don’t repeat past mistakes. We all make mistakes. As long as you learn from them and move on, you will be fine.


~Be wise with your money, because no one else will. Save, save, save!

~Lastly (even though I have a million other things I want to tell you!), do as I say not as I do. I have not been a perfect parent, and I have made MANY (many, many) mistakes. And, I probably will need to keep working on my own challenges. But, I love you, daddy loves you and we want the best for you. That will never change…ever (Okay, now I’m sobbing!).


4 responses to “How 13 Feels

  1. Molar Mother says:

    What a touching, tender tribute to Hailey. And to you.

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