Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Letter to My Children's Step-Sister

As you know, with the little people gone, I write fun letters to them. Concerned that the youngest step-daughter of my ex-husband might feel left out, I write her as well. She has two older sisters of her own, both of whom are in their teenaged-young adult years. The letter below speaks for itself. I will be putting it in the mail today.

Dear ______,

Yes, it has been a while since you have received a letter. Chicken Little and Tiny Man will have to tell you why—it has to do with the family dog. But I have had some other distracting obligations in which you could most directly relate: there is a teenager in this house.

Teenaged girls are funny. They put on fancy clothes and shimmery make-up before going just to the grocery. They spend a lot of time playing with their hair. They sleep all hours of the day and are up at least half the night. They giggle. They text message. They eat odd combinations of food during the worst hours of the night. But most of all, teenagers seem absolutely consumed by the worst thing of all: boys.

So this summer has been the summer of coaching young ladies through break-ups with very foolish young men, protecting young ladies from the unwanted advances of other foolish young men, and helping them remain chic and savvy as they sustain another relationship with another young man (who may or may not be a fool at the present). This, my dear, will happen to you.

One minute you may find yourself happily slapping together mud pies in the yard or constructing new Barbie doll outfits out of old socks and bits of ribbon, and the next thing you know, the boy next door who used to break the heads off your Barbies suddenly turns cute—overnight. The dolls are packed away, the mud pies disintegrate into the yard, and you find yourself writing love notes in hot pink pen. You will write notes such as this one:

Do you like me? Check one.



__Well, I thought you looked pretty cute on Tuesday, but then I saw you Wednesday talking with Gracie and then all of sudden I was not so sure. You gave me the look of death. Did you mean that?

Yes, child. You will dot your i’s with hearts and sign your name as swirly as possible. You may even, given the chance, sneak a text message in spelling your parents will find absolutely atrocious, but that your peers determine is trendy code. You will change outfits multiple times during the day. You may, as well, completely underestimate your own natural beauty and talents, and find yourself feeling awkward and out of place among others. I assure you, child, that much of this awkwardness passes. So whatever crazy behavior you may see your big sisters exhibiting is only temporary insanity. In the meantime, any tips we can exchange on this rather delicate matter would be much appreciated.

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