Dear 13-Year-Old Me,

Stop complaining about having to spend the holidays with your family. You’ll appreciate it so much more next year, when you beg and plead with your parents to take everything they bought back to the store, because all you want to do is go home and be with your family.

Take extra time to sit with – and enjoy – your Sugar. You don’t know it yet, but this is her last Christmas, though it isn’t the last porcelain doll you’ll get. She bought early; you’ll get your doll for next Christmas in July when they’re found, along with many other things she left behind for the family.

Life is not as dramatic as you think. Appreciate the friends you have. A few will really hurt you before the end of the school year, but pay them no mind. You’ll move away from them at the end of summer. There are a few who will keep in touch with you. Hold on to them for dear life. They are the important ones.

When you are older than dirt, aka over 25, you’ll go through some Major Stuff. You’ll assume it has robbed you of a lot of the memories you have of being 13. Take more pictures, so you can remember it. And if you can’t remember it, that’s okay. Remind your boys – there will be two of them – to take photos all the time, so they have concrete memories.

And, be nice to your parents. They do a lot for you [like book a last minute plane ticket so you can be with the family you complained about last year], and they deserve your thanks.