You’re the only one who can
survive your story, the only one
who can write your future.

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Fifteen

Jun 30, 2017

FIFTEEN

When I first announced in my dining room to friends and family that I’d be publishing my first book, my niece jumped out of her seat and said, “I’m going to be the first one to read it!” She was already claiming the spot as my biggest fan. “You’ll have to wait a bit . . . it’s not for kids.”

Because, I didn’t know how to put it into words for an 11 year old how sad and scary a book about losing your best friend might be, even though she’d be 12 in a month and she’d already seen more horror movies than me…

“But how can I be your biggest fan if I don’t read it?!”

“You’ll always be my biggest fan. You’ll practice reading other books, books for 13 and 14 year olds. . . and when you’re older, maybe 15—when you’re the same age as the characters in my book, I’ll let you read it. I promise.”

15 felt so far away then, for both her and I. And how most kids count down their 16th birthday to being able to drive, she’s counted down this birthday to being able to read my book. “3 more years!” “2 more years!” “1 more year!” I tried remembering it wrong earlier this year, “I thought I said when you were 16?” and she wouldn’t let me budge—I made a promise.

In just a few days she turns 15. I still want to shield her from reading about my pain and from ever having any pain of her own, except—I remember being fifteen. Fifteen is about seeing the world without that shield of childhood. It’s the age that you step up and see things a bit more how they really are.

So, a copy is signed and wrapped. I can’t wait to give this to my biggest fan and to tell her that whatever she faces at fifteen or thereafter, however complicated things might get, as long as she lives with LOVE and HOPE in her heart that she will overcome ANYTHING life throws at her, and she’ll have me—HER biggest fan—to help her do it with “No Regrets”

Xoxo

“Aunt Tessa”