Parenting, I always say, is the hardest job you’ll ever love.

Why else would you sacrifice your life for someone else’s? At first, when they’re little and full of wonder, the reward of getting sticky I love you kisses and watching them grow is totally worth everything on earth. But once they become teenagers? Honestly, at least in my case, not so much a lot of the time. And I think anyone who says differently is lying, or at least having what should go down as a national awareness day.

I mean if May 6 can be something as ridiculous as International No Diet Day or that May 23 marks World Turtle Day, why can’t August 8 be “My Teenager Was Nice To Me Today” day? There’s gotta be someone out there somewhere who can claim stake to it!

Just not me. At least not today. (The photo above depicts that it can happen and when it does, time to pull out the camera!)

I often blog about the tribulations of parenting my “eyeball rolling teenagers” and how impossibly frustrating it can be to try reasoning with their brain cells. But there is another side to this. Theirs.

I came across this poignant essay about surviving teenagehood by a young woman named  that I wanted to share with you.

It just might change your perception of what’s really going on in there.

 

Dear Parent:

This is the letter that I wish I could write.

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end—while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are—they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back–I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.

And this particular fight will end. Like any storm, it will blow over. And I will forget and you will forget. And then it will come back. And I will need you to hang on to the rope again. I will need this over and over for years.

I know there is nothing inherently satisfying in this job for you. I know I will likely never thank you for it or even acknowledge your side of it. In fact I will probably criticize you for all this hard work. It will seem like nothing you do will be enough. And yet, I am relying entirely on your ability to stay in this fight. No matter how much I argue. No matter how much I sulk. No matter how silent I get.

Please hang on to the other end of the rope. And know that you are doing the most important job that anyone could possibly be doing for me right now.

Love, Your Teenager

Reblogged From Emotional Geographic

June 25, 2015

4 Comments

  1. Mel Goldstein says:

    That sums it up very nicely Laura. But with your two pretty daughters, you shouldn’t have to worry. Just hold onto the rope and wait ’til there is smooth sailing.
    Keep on plugging.
    Mel

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