Little children are often so adoring of their parents and love them unconditionally because you are all they know. But as they get older and learn more about the world around them and see how other families do life, they start to compare. I feel that once the kids reach adolescence and they still want to be around you and choose to hang out with you and still adore you as much as they did when they were little, then I feel like our relationship is on the right path. It's as much an adjustment for the parents as it is for the teen. You can't parent a teen the same way you did a child. That's where the breakdown comes for so many families, I'm afraid. Not that we have it down in the least - there are many moments of angst. Long-suffering is the greatest character trait of the parent's of teenagers. But overall, it's a beautiful, exciting time full of growth for both parents and teens.
Knowing what a turbulent time adolescence can be, I wanted to give her a gift that would help her traverse these often murky waters. So I decided to get all the special people in her life to write down some advice and tell her why they loved her. It's super important to remember how much your loved when times are tough! Here is the birthday girl holding her special book.
The book begins with this beautiful quote by Lao Tzu: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Here are some example pages. I even tried to find fonts that matched everyone's handwriting to make it more personal.
Even Ninja got in on the action.
At the end of the book were collages with Chloe and all the special people - this is just one example.
After a special dinner of Dad's Thai Basil Curry (the first year I didn't make the special birthday dinner) and cake, we played The Dictionary Game and laughed our butts off. We'll never forget Sacajewa's brother, Sacahuiste (inside joke). I think laughter is the best gift of all and time spent with those you love.