Dear Sixteen Year-Old Me

Dear Sixteen Year-Old Me,

You’re probably thinking you are pretty grown up now, with your new drivers license and shiny flip phone. With the new found freedom these things bring, there is no denying that you’ll push the boundaries. And girl, you’ll push them hard. I suppose all of this comes with being a teenager, but let me tell you, you have so much to learn.

Now that I am (or you are) a mom, thinking about having a teenage daughter scares the hell out of me. Lord, if she’s anything like us, we might need a miracle. 

You have no idea how lucky you are to have a mom that cares enough to keep nagging you about “stupid” things even when she knows it might end up in a fight. Do you think Mom wants to fight? No. Do you think she is doing this for fun? Hell no. She is doing this because she cares. 

Mom and I when I was 16

I think deep down you know this. But I don’t think you will truly grasp how much she loves you, how much she cares and how badly your words can hurt her until you become a mother yourself. 

I know you appreciate your mom. But just wait, someday you’ll realize, even after all of the hell you put her through growing up, she will always have your back. You are who you are because of your mother. You will have a beautiful life with a wonderful family because of her. 

More than 10 years later, you’ll remember the words you said to her out of anger or frustration and you’ll regret it. I know you never really meant those things and that you were just being a rebellious, know-it-all teenager, but seriously, shut up.

Soon enough you will get to move out of the house and spend all of your money on bills. You’ll get to make all of your own dinners and buy all of your own clothes. You’ll get to be an adult. And you’ll miss your mom.

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One day when you are actually grown up and have a family of your own you will appreciate your mom on a whole other level. You’ll call her to complain about how difficult your toddler is and she will sympathize with you and say “I wonder where she got that from?” You’ll hear in her voice an understanding and reassurance that being a mom is hard. She should know, you gave her a run for her money and now it’s your turn.

Be grateful for the mom you have. Don’t take her for granted. One day you’ll realize you need her more than you know. She raised you to be the independent, strong person you are, so thank her for that.

Tell her you love her and let her know one day you will come back to her without the angsty teenage attitude. Until then, give her a break. Everything she does for you is out of love. 


Almost 30-something-year-old you

P.S. Don’t forget Mother’s Day! She really doesn’t like that! 

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One Response to Dear Sixteen Year-Old Me

  1. Diane May 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

    Oh Kristie – I’m struggling with what to say. I could so easily get all mushy on you, but I will just say that you really touched my heart with those words. Perspective is a funny thing – looking at things through a mother’s eyes changes things that’s for sure. It means a lot to hear that you appreciate all the mothering I did, but don’t forget that I was very far from perfect. It’s that perspective thing again – I’ve worried so much about all the times I was a bad mother – when I yelled too much or said or did the wrong things or was just plain mean. I think the reason I dissolved into a puddle of tears after reading your letter is out of sheer relief that you can look back and see me in a kind light. Growing up is a struggle for kids and parents both and everybody just has to do the best they can and forgive each other when they fall short. You also have to learn to forgive yourself when you mess up as a parent (and believe me you will) and that is a hard thing to do. So really, what I guess I’m trying to tell you is that reading that letter written from your perspective has helped me forgive myself a bit. So – that was the gift ❤️