I don’t understand why you refuse to wear tights with your dress in the sub-zero weather, as you slip on your Converse gym shoes instead of your winter boots, but apparently bare legs and gym shoes are in when it comes to high school dress code regulation.

I don’t understand how you prioritize watching an entire season of The Office and yet you simply can’t find the time to pick your clothes and wet towels up off your bedroom floor, but apparently, having a bedroom looking like a fermented fabric explosion doesn’t faze you and it is of utmost importance to be entertained.

I don’t understand why you choose to stay up late, red-eyed and exhausted from a three-hour swim practice knowing that 6 a.m. is a painful daily forecast predicting the inevitable exhaustion, but apparently sleep is not a priority for teens.

I don’t understand why my robust and glorious singing along with the radio irritates you so much that you beg me to stop, but apparently my fabulous energetic rendition of popular tunes is not hip—and hip is not cool—and cool is not dope—and dope is not, um . . . savage?

I don’t understand why you leave towels and socks and crumbs and cups and shoes and papers all over our house, dropping a constant trail behind you, but apparently being an unrelenting slob is the true nature of adolescence.

I don’t understand why you forget to do pretty much everything I ask you to do within minutes of the request, but apparently forgetfulness is medically linked to the raging wildfire of Estrogen that has dominated your existence.

I don’t understand how you spend an hour in the bathroom, carefully placing your pore strips on your nose and tweezing your eyebrows, then proceed to don extravagantly priced jeans that are ripped to pieces, but apparently being a beautiful teen requires an unlikely combination of homelessness and pageantry.

There are endless things I don’t understand about your choices, your behaviors, and your priorities on a daily basis—but when it comes to the big stuff: your morals, your principles, your values. When it comes to making wise decisions when it’s most needed. When you are faced with choices that can last a lifetime, choices that risk your health, your future, your peace of mind, and your integrity . . . 

I know you will dig deep within your heart to discover the wisdom you have, the strength you hold, and the faith you believe—to do the right thing, the smart thing, the noble thing.

Because you may do a lot of things I don’t understand, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’ll keep going head-to-head on those trivial annoyances that will continue to make me question why and surely I will keep giving you the greatest vocal performance in the automobile stage, and we’ll bicker and fuss and laugh and drive each other nuts through these teenage years . . . 

But I want you to know that when it comes to the big stuff—the hard decisions that really matter, the opportunities you will encounter that challenge you to be brave and bold, wise and responsible, strong and confident, honest and respectful, kind and compassionate—I understand all too well I’ve got a girl with a godly heart.

And apparently, that’s all I need to know to survive these teen years.

I don't understand why you leave towels and socks and crumbs and cups and shoes and papers all over our house, dropping a constant trail behind you, but apparently being an unrelenting slob is the true nature of adolescence.

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Christine Carter

Christine Carter writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness." and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World.” Both books sold on Amazon.

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