Today my niece turns 13. THIRTEEN.
Jessi Rae…It seems like just yesterday, I was racing to the hospital with your parents full of so much excitement at the thought of finally getting to meet you. Then you were born, and you were amazing…and you changed my Nyna that day. I wear that name with pride, because it means YOU’RE my niece and I’m your aunt and forever I’ll be here for you.
So on your thirteenth I want to share a few things with you.
1. Keep God first. You’ve already done a lot of great things in these first 13 years of your life, and I can only imagine what will come in the next 73 years to come (probably longer because you’re a Carreon and apparently we have some crazy good genes). Of all the advice I could give you, this is the most important: remember everything you accomplish is really from Him. Keep Him in front of you and just watch at how He clears the path to an amazing life.
2. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to mess up. Take chances, have fun, try new things…and if you strike out looking, it’s okay. Keep trying. You’re going to make mistakes, what matters is that you get back up and keep trying. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to try to be better today than you were yesterday.
3. Love other people. Like really love them. Treat them with respect whether they are the principal at your school, the one cleaning your table at the restaurant or the homeless person on the side of the road. Respect them, and when you do, they will not only see but feel that they are loved and matter.
4. You ARE beautiful. Since the day you are born, you’ve been gorgeous and so full of life. Don’t let anyone tell you anything differently. The magazines and tv will try to convince you that you have to look, dress and act a certain way. Those are lies. No ones hair is perfect everyday. No one. No one really looks like the girls on TV or in magazines or online. They all require more makeup and hairspray than anyone should ever wear. So, when the world tries to make you believe that it’s true, just smile and walk confidently knowing that YOU are beautiful.
5. Play like a girl and be proud of it! You have so much talent running through your veins. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You’ve practiced longer and worked harder. One day you’ll hang those cleats up, but never hang up that attitude that you can do anything…because you can!
6. SMILE. You have the most gorgeous smile. One that lights up your whole face. Smile, because when you do it makes everyone smile back at you.
7. Mean girls suck. There I said it. They exist and will throughout the different stages of your life. Let me tell you now: what they say isn’t true and their opinion doesn’t really matter. When they roll their eyes or whisper to each other, walk with your head held high. They just want your reaction, don’t give it to them. When you see them tearing someone else down, smile at their person…let them know they have a friend and someone on their side.
8. Sticks and stones aren’t the only thing that hurt words do too. You have the ability to cut people down to their knees or build them up with the words you say. Chose the later. No one has ever regretted making someone feel better.
9. Tell people what they mean to you. it’s the only thing that doesn’t cost you anything, but means the world to the one hearing it.
10. Family is forever. We have a big, loud, crazy family. One thing I’ve learned is that they will always be there for me…and YOU. There will be moments when you’ll make a mistake, know this…they will never be disappointed in YOU, they may be disappointed in your choices, but NOT YOU. WE have your back. We want you to succeed.
12. Laugh…a LOT. Few things are more enjoyable than laughing till your face and stomach hurt. Do this as often as you can and do it with your friends and family.
13. You are loved. I know, I know…I already said family is forever. What that means is, you will never go a day of your life, without being loved. We have loved you since the day you were born, actually long before that. Without you, our lives wouldn’t be the same. So everyday, when you wake up, know that you changed our world, and we LOVE you for it. I’m so proud of the amazing young woman you are becoming, and I love watching you grow.
Happy Birthday Jessi Rae.