To my teenager,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for what I said this morning. I’m sorry for the way I said it.

I know I can be a little hard to live with sometimes. Or maybe a lot hard.

I know I can be moody.

I know you don’t understand some of the rules I make.

I know it feels like I’m trying to hang on to you.

I know I drive you crazy sometimes.

I know being a teenager is hard for you.

But the thing is, it’s hard for me, too.

I’m trying to walk a road I’ve never been down before. I’m still trying to figure this out.

While I’m doing that, I need you to know a few things that don’t need any figuring out at all . . . things I already know for sure.

I need you to know that I believe in you even when—especially when—you don’t believe in yourself.

I need you to know that I’m going to do my best to guide you, even if you act like you resent that guidance.

I need you to know that I’m cheering for you.

I need you to know that I trust you. I need you to know that I’m going to expect you to honor that trust.

I need you to know that I’m trying to develop thicker skin.

I need you to know that I’m trying to keep a soft heart that can give out tough love.

I need you to know that I’m going to try to help your still-under-construction mind think further down the road than it would on its own.

I need you to know that I’m going to set boundaries . . . not because I’m trying to keep you from something good but because I’m trying to keep you for something better.

I need you to know I’m going to let you deal with the consequences of your actions. I need you to know that I’ll help you pick up the pieces of the consequences of your actions.

I need you to know that I’m proud of you, even when you’re ashamed of yourself.

I need you to know that I love spending time with you even if you act like you don’t want anything to do with me.

I need you to know that I love you no matter what.

I know we’re both feeling our way along here. I know we’re going to frustrate and fail and disappoint each other along the way.

But down the road, when we get to the other side of these years, I hope with all my heart we’ll also both know this: we got there together.

This post originally appeared on Guilty Chocoholic Mama

 

Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.