A letter to my baby sister on growing up

Dear Baby Sister,

You’re 14 now, no longer a baby. That’s weird, it makes me feel old, and I don’t like it.

I woke up this morning thinking about you and how you’ve grown up when I wasn’t looking. You’ll be a woman soon, and though you don’t see it, in many ways you already are one. We’re very different, you and I. You are a happier, kinder soul than I was at your age. You’re also really smart in that mathlete/scientist kind of way.

But there are some things I’ve learned, from surviving my teenage years that I want to share with you. So, in the spirit of unsolicited sisterly advice, here’s what I want you to know as you head into the metamorphosis stage of your teenage experience.

On Your Beauty:

Society is ugly. According to them you will never be thin enough, toned enough, pretty enough, or perfect enough. The truth? YOU ARE ENOUGH. Right now, exactly as you are. Your beautiful curves, your freckles; these things make you YOU, and YOU will always be enough.

LOVE your freckles. Freckles are one of your signatures. Learn to rock them. You have a perfect constellation of light, happy angel kisses sprinkled across your nose. They work for Emma Watson, they have worked for international supermodels Gisele Bündchen and Kate Moss, and now they work for you. Your eyes are green. You already win at life. You are a stunning, elegant beauty naturally. Be adventurous and wild and wear what you love, but always be you.

On Boys:

So much of this time in your life is self-discovery and learning through trial and error. This is your journey and no one can tell you how to navigate it, but I hope that what I’m about to say will merit a tiny space in your rapidly increasing knowledge base and that you will think back on it from time to time and it will help you choose better than others before you. Boys can make you feel the best you’ve ever felt, and the worst. They can make you laugh until your abs hurt, and they can make you cry so hard you feel as though you’ll never get over it. I promise you that in your life you will experience a little of both (if you ever need me to share tears of any kind, or make a guy disappear, I’m here). The most important thing is that you nurture your sense of humor and your mind.

Don’t be afraid to be smart. Be friends with boys who are nice to you. Surround yourself with boys who are respectful to their moms, and not too mean to their sisters. And if they recognize you for your wit, your artwork, and your laugh more than just your stunning physical attributes, you’re laying the groundwork for some good stuff later on.

On how I’ll always love you:

Many people will have opinions and advice, but they didn’t change your diaper or sacrifice every last Little House on the Prairie sticker they had for you—nor did they suffer through your biting stage—so you don’t owe them the time of day. I know I moved away when you were still little, and I haven’t always been the best at keeping in touch and actively connected, but you are my baby-baby sister, and I love you fiercely. I am proud of the young woman you are becoming. If I lived closer, we would have this conversation over our single scoop ice cream cones, but I thought a letter would be more fun.

I love you madly,


Christin Duncan is a resident of Nashville, living abroad in France. She dabbles in culinary experimentation, wine notes, giving unsolicited reviews, and self-diagnosing.

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