The twins are starting middle school next week. Have I told you that 1,000 times already? I'm struggling with it a little bit. I feel like a door is opening to all of the things we want to educate them on and protect them from, earlier than I planned. Maybe not planned, but earlier than I was ready for. I feel pressure to pump them full of little tidbits about boys, puberty, drugs, respect, health, confidence. I want so badly to wrap them in wisdom so that they're prepared when these issues arise. So often these tests of character pop up masked as something else; it's rarely as cut and dry as the lesson your parents teach. I want to make them a cheat sheet to reference, with the truths I wish I knew at their age. If only it were that easy. I'll probably have to dish the information out from time to time as needed instead, and hope we're not caught off guard.
Middle School * Junior High * High School Cheat Sheet
Don't rush to shave your legs. There's no going back.
Always keep a little bag with an extra tampon on you. Someday you will need it, and more than once you'll be asked by a panicked stranger who forgot hers.
Be really nice to the person who's locker is next to yours.
Don't over pluck your eyebrows. It's not a good look on anyone.
Embrace the hips, and boobs, and beautiful curves you're going to gain over the next few years. Don't compare your curves to your neighbor's curves. Don't be embarrassed by your curves. And don't ever think your curves are the best part of you, or even in the top 10.
Always befriend the underdog. You'll be the underdog someday.
Don't take naked pictures of yourself. They will never go away. The wrong people will see them. Guaranteed.
Don't color your hair. You'll have plenty of time to waste money and energy on that crap when you're older.
Listen, absorb, retain. If you don't, you'll look back and wish you focused on what was important when you were in school; learning.
Don't let boys put their hands on you. They don't know what they're doing. They don't love you. You'll regret it, possibly for the rest of your life.
Don't worry about fashion trends. You'll look back and think you looked like a dork regardless. Best to keep it simple.
Treat everyone with respect, especially yourself.
Look people in the eye when they talk to you, and smile when you're smiled at. Good manners speak volumes.
Nice teeth speak volumes too. Take care of yours. We're only paying for braces once.
Don't lie to us. We will find out. If we trust you, your life will be a lot more fun.
Remember that you're still a 'child', and will always be my child. Play, grow, be awkward, have fun, and when you get lost don't ever be afraid to come to us. We'll always be your safe place.