When you become a parent, everyone tells you it goes by fast.  I just never realized that kids grow up faster than a trip with Marty McFly in the DeLorean.

I woke up this morning with an ache in my heart…my oldest turns 11 today. She’s in full-blown tween mode but I couldn’t help to think about what is on the horizon: dances, dates, driving, prom, graduation.  Ok I know I am getting ahead of myself but just yesterday, she was a squishy little baby.

Every year on her birthday, I give my sweet Gia a list of advice to carry her through the year…and honestly I love watching her reaction when she thinks my “advice” is her present.

On your 11th birthday, here are 12 (one for good luck) pieces of life advice for you:

  1. You are loved more than you will ever be able to comprehend.
  2. Beautiful people are not always good. But good people are always beautiful.
  3. Don’t talk badly about people. Even if you “think” they gave you good reason to. Don’t. It gets messy.
  4. Use your library card every week. For books (just in case that wasn’t clear).
  5. Help others. But don’t publicize or brag about it.
  6. You may start entering the “awkward stage” of life. Ya know, acne and getting food stuck in your braces. Try to find the humor in it all…and remember when I was your age, I had a bowl cut and bottle-cap glasses. Things can always be worse 😉
  7. What makes you different, makes you great.
  8. Never act mean to fit in. That’s not the crowd you want to be in anyway.
  9. Tell me the truth and I won’t get mad.
  10. Stop with the staged pictures and all of the posing. Can you see my eye-roll? Live in the moment with your friends. Nobody is fooling anyone with the “pretend that I don’t notice the camera” shot.
  11. A pint of Tonight Dough by Ben & Jerry’s can solve everything.
  12. On your brightest mornings and on your darkest nights, I will always believe in you. Always.