You'll want to quit band and activities and even life a couple times due to some internal conflicts between yourself and your budding hormones. Be Strong.
You'll get your first job after high school and be stuck on the night shift until two weeks before you go to college. The manager will be a jerk and blame you for everything, you'll be written up for not keeping the dining room clean on the overnight shift because for some idiot reason they leave it open overnight. Be Strong.
You'll move to college six hours away and cry for half an hour in the shower after your parents and sister leave you there all alone. You have a cold and a fever and don't feel good anyway, but your roommate seems okay for now, but you're still alone. Be Strong.
You'll experience a sexual assault, block it out until after dinner, then the memory comes flooding back. You'll have living nightmares in PTSD and eventually require medication to feel "normal." Be Strong.
You'll self-medicate with sex and booze, until you realize that "Mom was right" and she holds your hand as she drives you to another therapist where you are actually honest with everyone and don't speak a word. Be Strong.
You'll realize that putting your health in someone else's hands is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. Be Strong.
You'll meet "Mr Right" a few times and have a few good times and realize that where you thought you were going isn't where you're headed. You find yourself unmarried and pregnant and alone. You move home from college to live with your parents again and never touch another cigarette. Be Strong.
Your parents will move away and you will discover they are more important to you than you ever knew. You'll call your mom and cry for an hour before asking if she can come get you. She'll leave the next morning and be at your door the next afternoon. You'll fall into her lap and beg her to save your life, how it's too hard, you're too depressed, the meds aren't working and doctors are idiots. Your five year old son has been making his own breakfast because you can't get out of bed and you're experiencing the worst depression you have ever known. You feel worthless and ugly and hated and a bad mother. Be Strong.
You'll hear the word "Autism" when your son is 9 years old and deny that the disorder even exists. It will take you six months to accept the diagnosis and another year to realize that you can't "fix it" like you should be able to do. Eventually, you realize that you have been doing everything right. Be Strong.
You'll meet another "Mr Right" and he'll actually be the one. It will be rocky and you'll be tested more than twice. Be Strong.
You'll be 37 when your second child is born. She is tiny. She requires special medical formula. It costs a lot of money, and times will be tough. You will confide in your family and they will help. Be Strong.
My darling 13-year-old-self, to many others you have an easy life ahead of you. You won't have to go hungry or be homeless or suffer a great deal of loss. You'll realize that you are not your past, and you are not your future. You'll realize that everything you do is for the benefit of your children and yourself and your lives. Be Strong.
You will do things "backwards" - but maybe society's "backward" is your "forward."
Your children will see you battle for them. Embrace it.
Your children will see you cry. Let them.
You will fall and hearts will break. Let it happen.
You will make mistakes. Learn from them.
Sometimes strength is allowing yourself to fall and then picking yourself back up. That's the measure of strength. You are a remarkable person.
You'll forget at times, but when you're in your dark moments, you'll remember what your little sister Anna said when you ended your second engagement. "Emily, if you're not happy, he's not doing his damn job!"
And when you were feeling like a failure for moving back home, "Emily, look at what you've accomplished. You're raising a child and graduated from college. That's amazing!"
You'll know who you are and wish you could have this kind of confidence in your teen years.
You'll wish you could have stood up to those bullies who called you Bird-Nose through high school.
You'll wish you had the qualities at 13 that you have at 37.
You'll be thankful for the innocence of your childhood and for the protection your parents provided from "the big bad world".
You'll try to protect your children the way your parents protected you.
You'll Be Strong.