A Letter to my Future Teenage Daughter

Dearest M,

In 4 short years you will be a teenager.

A fact that scares us both right now.

You laugh nervously at the idea of being moody, emotional and addicted to a mobile phone you do not yet own.

It looms ahead of us, this unknown path we have to navigate. I know all too well just how diverse a path it is. How we will get to the other end of it, and who we will be when we get there, are questions too big for me to dare to ask.

So here are some of the things I want you to know, to try to remember, and to cling on to when we get there.

You will be the first teenager I will ever have. The only teenage daughter I will ever have, and the only “teenage you” there will ever be.

Please, go easy on me, and I will in turn try to go easy on you too. Let us remember it is unchartered territory for us both.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t know what I’m doing a lot of the time as a parent. I’m pretty sure most of us are just winging it, unsure how we became grown-ups overnight, when deep down we’re pretty sure we were teenagers ourselves just a minute ago. There will be a lot of give and take needed. Lessons will be learnt, mistakes will be made, by both of us. 

Let’s forgive each other quickly. I remember all too well how easy teenage anger is to hold onto, it could very well break us. 

We will both need a lot of grace.

I know that I will try to hold you close, keep you near, keep you safe. I will find myself torn between allowing you the freedom you crave, the freedom you need, and wanting to protect you from this big old world of ours. The world can be as terrifying as it is beautiful. Know that when I say “No” it comes from a place of love. Know that when I say “No” I’m just as scared as you are. (probably more so.)

If you talk, I will listen. Always. I might get it wrong sometimes, I might say too much or not enough. I know I will want to solve every problem. I will try to just listen, I will always want to hear your voice, whatever it is you have to say. Let’s always keep talking. 

You can tell me when I’m wrong. In fact I hope you will. I will sometimes be wrong. You see I’m not perfect, and I’m still learning, every day. You will sometimes be wrong too though, and I hope you will hear me when I tell you so. Let’s make sure we always feel safe to admit our mistakes to one another, no matter how big. I’d hate for you to think you were the only one making them. 

There will probably come a day when you feel like you hate me. You may even tell me so at times. When you do I hope you’ll be reminded of this letter. Because what I’m really trying to say is that I love you. Always have, always will. People don’t always love each other very well in this world of ours. But there is no possible way for this Mother to ever stop loving you, my Daughter. 

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