I heard myself in my teenage daughter last night.
"You don't understand. You have no idea what I'm going through."
Oh, honey, I do. But you don't believe me. I was 16 once and thought I knew it all. I thought my mother couldn't possibly understand my life and how hard it was to be 16. I thought my parents were just there to make my life harder than it already was. I said those exact.same.words to my parents. (Well, my mom. No one ever talked that way to my dad. It just wasn't done.)
The only part of your life that I haven't gone through as a teenager is the constant moving. That part sucks. And I wish you didn't have to deal with it. But it's the life that God gave you, and there's a reason why He thought you could handle it. I wish I could explain to you that it sucks for me, too. I don't have best girl friends to hang out with. I don't have someone to cry to (except your dad, but sometimes you need another female...) I hate being the "new girl" too. It's not any easier as an adult. But it has made me stronger. More confident. And I know you don't think so, but it's done that for you, too. I see it in you - you are brave and strong, and you can handle it. I know you can.
I know you think that I don't love you, that all I do is yell at you. I know you think your life is hard. And some of it probably is.
But I don't yell because I like it. I yell to enforce the rules that you (loudly) disagree with. I yell because sometimes I have to be loud in order for people to even hear me at our house and take me seriously at all.
I do love you. We don't hug a lot, because that's not who I am. But I tell you. Maybe I should tell you more. And I am always there for you. It hurts my feelings a lot that you think I'm not.
Maybe you don't know, but I have been crying every night a little bit, too. Thinking about how in one year you will be eighteen and possibly leave home (for college). It's a day I've been dreading since 1994. You will be grown, and I will be replaced with friends, a boyfriend, a new life. You won't need me the way you did.
I don't know what to do. I have never been the mother of a teenage girl before. I don't know what I'm doing, and it probably shows. But I am trying. I'm trying to figure out this new phase of our relationship and how to make it work. It's hard. Some days it sucks.
It reminds me that I am not as young as I feel. I'm not that teenage girl that I see in your eyes. I am the mother now, and I have to figure out how to mother you through the trials that you're dealing with.
I make mistakes. Every.single.day. I wish I was perfect. For you. And for me. But I'm not. I am far, far from perfect. And I will make many more mistakes before I die.
It's a fact of life.
We have to find a way to work through this.
I guess I haven't told you enough.
I love you. I am proud of you. I am lucky to be your mom. And grateful. And honored.
I wish you knew that, but I know that it takes more than words.
I will work on it. I hope you will, too.
I love you more than life. I hope you'll believe it.