My sweet T became a TEEN today. What a wonderful blessing. And yet-I have to write this. Let me know what you think of this mom’s letter to her 13 year old:
Thirteen. Teenager. I cringe just writing that. Because I am talking about you-my firstborn. My ten pound baby girl that was pulled into this world because she had camped out long enough in my tummy. I’m not freaked because you are a teenager–I’m just wondering where all the time went. I stayed home with you-I should remember everything in acute detail. And yet the time blew past for us the same as all moms and daughters, and we find ourselves looking out at this new landscape: you a teenager and me still your mom.
So I need to tell you something–even birthdays can come off the rails a bit. We found that out today, didn’t we?
Let’s face it-you’ve had a charmed life when it comes to birthdays, dear daughter of mine. For as many years as you can remember, we’ve spent your birthday at the beach. So the beach trip always felt like it was also a birthday celebration that lasted all week.
And then this year came. We knew ahead of time there would be no beach trip. You don’t have a party planned even though we have talked about a beach getaway for a few days with friends or a Great Wolf Lodge spend the night. And you know what? You are beyond fortunate in that regard. (Notice I did not say spoiled because to me, that word indicates something that has gone bad.)
After years of birthday parties and vacations on your birthday, we had a regular day. With church. Lunch at home. Swimming. Time with grandparents. And I think you would have agreed this would have been a nice birthday.
But then at dinner, things went wrong. Jared started it off, no doubt. But the thing that put us over the edge was your petitioning again for a horse–followed by the comment that it would never happen. Just one sentence too much. I couldn’t handle it. After the week I’ve had with problems with my hearing in one ear, I just broke down.
Sweetie, number one: it might not ever happen if you keep expecting it. We are bone tired about being asked about buying a horse. Right now, it is not in the cards. You need to accept that and move on. But second of all, I am worried about what kind of mom and dad we would be if we got you a horse. Nevermind what kind of financial undertaking that would be. What kind of young lady would we be raising if we bought you a horse simply because you asked for it? Let’s transition into this first by considering leasing a horse perhaps. But buying a horse is the easy part. It’s what the horse needs every day that gets to be expensive. And guess what: you have picked an incredibly costly hobby.
GobankingRates estimates that “the cost of riding apparel (e.g. boots, pants, helmet, gloves, etc.) and coaching lessons is the least of parents’ worries when it comes to horse riding; the purchase and long-term maintenance of the horse itself is what makes this easily one of the most expensive sports for kids to practice (number 2 on their list). Horses range from $4,000 – $25,000, depending on the breed, age and training, and the cost of professional stabling, veterinary check-ups and saddle equipment requires parents to shell out up to $11,220 per year. That’s $112,200 for a horse’s 10-year lifespan.” Yowza!
So we put a pin in your birthday festivities until tomorrow. None of us were up for cake and doing the final presents. So if the day didn’t turn out the way you planned or hoped for, I am sorry that you were disappointed. But it’s my job to teach you many things in the few years I have left with you living in this house, and I take that job very seriously. Your dad and I will continue to support your love of horseback with all the enthusiasm and encouragement we possibly can. You will have many opportunities to do camps and pony club and lessons. And you may not own the horse you ride. But that doesn’t make you any less of an equestrian. In fact, you amaze us with your abilities and your passion, and I imagine that it will only continue to grow as you do.