Reflections on Turning 13

As a person who was thirteen once, surely, I have advice to give:
Don’t invite strangers when you’re alone.
Always carry a quarter so you can call home.
Be home by dark if you must roam.
Use proper etiquette when answering the house phone.

Alas, as a once-thirteen-years-old
(It’s been a bit since ’93)
The world’s moved on, it’s not the same
So my advice is rusty.

I must therefore learn what it is to be thirteen today
by watching you, my daughter dear.
After careful observation I have to say,
A certain view appears:

To be thirteen is Hunger Games discussions ‘round the clock,
And using Zoom in closets so your friends and you can talk,
And making plans and hopes and dreams and D&D campaigns,
And helping little brothers with cooking, books, and games,
And singing songs, even after we’ve asked you to stop (twice),
And being a responsible PTA mom, always ready with advice,
And ears that reject earrings, unless you wear them back to front.
All these things and more, in fact I’ll just be blunt:
Pretty and strong, successful and kind, good at everything you do,
A singer, dancer, book-worm, and perfectioniser too.

And now at last there comes the day,
Your count is down to zero.
You’re finally a teenager – hooray!
Love, your big old daddy-weirdo.

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