Oh, my sweet boy. I know middle school is tough. I know classes are getting harder, relationships are getting deeper, and attitudes are getting bigger. It’s probably the strangest of all the school levels. There’s a whole lot going on in those three short years. But, you will finish smarter, taller, and braver than when you started. I know this.

I know 13 is weird. I know some changes are happening at warp speed and some are taking their sweet time. Sometimes you feel like an adult and sometimes you still feel like a silly kid. You want to have control over areas of your own life, but your mom is constantly nagging you to go take a shower. Seriously. If you ever question if you should shower, just get in the shower. Please. I know this.

I know confidence in yourself doesn’t come easily. You are changing every day and forming more and more of who you are as you learn, as you grow, and as you experience what’s happening around you. You are amazing, even in a constant state of change. And while you’ll always continue to learn, you’ll soon be able to walk tall with the knowledge of your own principles, your beliefs, your morals, and who you are deep in your soul. I know this.

I know life is constant ups and downs, no matter how hard you try to keep everything moving along smoothly. And just because you’re young, you’re not exempt from feeling like you’re on a roller coaster that doesn’t really care which way you’re leaning. It’s going to give you some beautiful highs and some gut-wrenching lows. It doesn’t really stop, but you’ll learn to lift your hands up and enjoy the fun parts, and hold on tight and power through the scary parts. I know this.

I know you have to literally stop sometimes and think about the good, the sweet, the positive right in front of you so the other stuff doesn’t overwhelm you.

I did that today. I asked you to stop for a second so I could snap a picture of you as you hopped out of the car. Your face brightens my heart every morning and I needed to hold onto that for a little bit. And I needed you to know you are part of the good in my life.

I’m so thankful you are my child. I’m so thankful you are the bright, loving, quirky, hilarious teenager you are. I’m so thankful you showered this morning. And I’m so so thankful for that smile and the “I love you, too” before you closed the door and walked away.

Because for all that I know, and all I’m trying to pass on to you, more than anything I want you to know how deeply you are loved.

Even on the mornings you don’t shower.

This post originally appeared on Facebook it has been reprinted with permission.

Dana is the founder and content creator of 39ish Life, a freelance writer and editor, and an aspiring children’s book author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Sunshine and Hurricanes, Parenting Teens and Tweens, and in the anthology “The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys.” She lives in Florida with her hot husband and their four awesome boys.

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