Dear Not So Sweet Sixteen, 

Hi, my angel. I know you hate when I call you that, and truthfully the name doesn’t quite fit right now, but that’s OK, you’re still my angel even when you’re acting like a spawn of the Demi-gorgon.  

It’s your mom, I know, I know, the last person you want to hear from. I get that I’m totally embarrassing. I swear I thought dressing up in your brother’s hotdog Halloween costume to walk the dog would make you laugh, I’ve learned my lesson (I thought it was hilarious.)

When I was a teenager, I thought my mom was a dork too.

Yes, I realize no one says dork anymore, that’s not the point, just letting you know I understand, and by the way, now that I’m a grownup, I think my mom is the GOAT. 

See, I do know some cool words. 

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 You’re probably reading this in your friend’s room while listening to Trippie Redd, vaping, and rolling your gorgeous big blue eyes. What? You thought I was clueless about the vaping?  That hiding place though! Stuffed in the left shoe of your pair of high top Nikes. At least push it down to the toe. You teenagers are adorable, thinking you invented the art of trying to fool your parents. Mom’s are better investigators than private detectives.

Anyway, I figured I would write since when I try to talk, your answers consist of “K” and “whatever.” Lately, things have been a bit, I don’t know, I hate to use the word ugly, but it seems to fit. You seem distant, holing yourself up in your room like a bear ready for hibernation. I seem to be following you around like a lost puppy, trying to somehow bond with you.

When we do communicate it usually ends up with you yelling hurtful words and slamming the door. I’m tempted to take it off the hinges. 

How easy it was when you were younger! I know you’re cringing, but remember when you used to crawl in my bed at night when you couldn’t sleep? We would cuddle under the warm blankets and watch The Joy of Painting, falling asleep to the sounds of gentle brushstrokes and Bob Ross’s soothing voice. 

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It must be really hard for you. These teenage years can be rough. An adult body but a still rapidly growing brain. All sorts of hormones. So much social media pressure. School, friends, parents, big feelings, and a pandemic to top it off. It isn’t easy. 

I just wanted to let you know I’m here for you. I may not understand everything, but I understand a lot.

When you’re raging and angry, or distant and cold, you are still lovable and worthy. When you fail and make big mistakes, I never lose faith in you. Even when it feels like you could crush my heart, and I break down and cry, I need you to know there is nothing you could do to disappoint me. 

I am your mother and you are my child and this is love. 

Forever. 

Love, Mom

P.S. Clean up the 11 water bottles in your room and pick up the chicken nugget off the floor. 

Claudia Caramiello

Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, mother of two teen sons both day and night. Hailing from New Jersey, she survives single motherhood on caffeine, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. You can find her on Facebook at Espresso & Adderall and read more from Claudia on her blog, https://wordblush.com/