I was in a Mothers Who Write Workshop this fall, as I have mentioned before, and this was one of my assignments I never turned in. Our task was to write a letter to our teenage self. This was the toughest one I was given. I struggled and struggled with writing it. I like to mix lightness with heavy in my writing and my teen years were tough so it was impossible to be light in this. And I guess that was why I felt so exposed with this piece. So exposed I didn’t go to class that night and never turned this piece in.
Yesterday at church our pastor talked about the examples we are to our kids. He said some crazy facts on kids who go to church with their moms don’t end up continuing church nearly as often as kids who go to church with their dads. He talked about how the words we say, the actions we take are all absorbed by our children and at the end he had us all stand if we had any of x, y, or z situations growing up or in our current family now just to see how we all have been exposed to crap and we are all still here. Almost everyone stood. We all grew up with crap. We will all continue to overcome stuff, but knowing it is never too late to make changes, make ourselves better, and bring our kids up in a world better than the one before it. So I am OK sharing this piece. I am willing to expose myself because I understand that being vulnerable is how we grow and strengthen. God is good and will uses our pain for good purpose.
Happy Sweet 16 Kim. I’m sorry Dad didn’t show. I wish I could change that for you, but I can’t.
I know you are hurt and upset, you have every right to be, I just want to tell you he isn’t a bad guy.
In about a year from now we will almost lose him, then things will change for the better. Cry today, hold a grudge, but keep your heart soft to him.
Pay attention to how mom does it all, and especially how she handles your brother Bryan. You will be surprised at just how much your life ends up parallel to hers. And I know how much you love him, let him know that. His disability affects him way more than it does you. That is something you should know and eventually will understand. It isn’t all about you. When you realize that… the world opens up.
And that pretty mask you wear, only hurts you. I know high school is tough. I know your home life isn’t “typical”, but be you. You are a lot greater than you give yourself credit for. Being two people is exhausting and you will find a freedom when you finally take off that mask.
You take second best when it comes to relationships. You settle. You take what you think you deserve, but you will see you deserve more. You will find more. Your guy is out there. I promise. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Keep your soul tender to God. I know it is just Mom’s thing right now, but God will surprise you.
You’re about to embark on some rough years. How I wish I could tell you to turn left when you go right, but even as I know now the hurts you will spend many years regretting, I would never say not to do them. It’s your mistakes that become your greatest teachers. It’s your choices you made that now force you to make better ones today.
Trust your heart, love deeply, forgive easily and always show compassion.
God will protect you and he is there to comfort you. You are smarter, stronger and far lovelier than you ever believe you are. Chin up, take it all in. You will only be this young once.
And keep writing. It is the one thing that will always cleanse your soul. As we know running is not, nor will ever be our “thing”.