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A Letter from a Teen to Her Mom

A Letter from a Teen to Her Mom

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Mom,

If only you knew how I waited for you to knock on the door of my room, to come in and call me—even to force me—to sit with the family around the dinner table. Even if I’d make a face as I sat down with you, it would only be a mask. In my heart of hearts I would feel relief, feel important, I’d feel part of the family. I would feel loved.

I sat and waited. I thought and hoped that you wouldn’t ignore my absence. I hoped that you wouldn’t be afraid of me—me, your daughter, your own flesh and blood, your baby who only sixteen years ago emerged from your womb.

The more you move aside and ignore me, the more distressed, angry and aggressive I becomeYou celebrated my birth; you eagerly awaited my arrival.

You then waited for me to return from preschool and then elementary school, always ready with a hot lunch. I was your girl, totally and completely yours.

Lately, however, you’re afraid of me. I know that you are afraid. Every word we exchange leads to an argument and an explosion of emotions. But please understand: the more you move aside and ignore me, the more distressed, angry and aggressive I become.

Every time following what you would describe as a “scene,” I feel worthless and humiliated. I feel defeated, over and over again.

You think I am tough, that I don’t care what others think of me. You think I am winning, but I am not. I win, but I also lose. Because instead of being a strong wall for me to lean on, you shrink and allow me to disappear. I then again imagine you coming and taking me out of my room, and telling me in a firm but motherly tone, “My daughter, you are a part of the family. You are coming to eat together with everyone right now!”

But, again, you forwent my presence.

Mommy, my dear Mommy, let me continue being your daughter, your flesh and blood. Do not give up on me so quickly . . .

Mommy, I need these struggles. They help me find myself and build my identity.

I know that this is very difficult and scary for you, but you are my mother, and I beg you, don’t give up on me.

To be independent doesn’t must mean being orphaned.

I so much need you, your love and forgiveness. I am taking my first steps in the world, and I need to know and feel that any time I turn around I will see you there standing strong, smilingly saying, “Beautiful. Keep going. I’m here.”

I have to feel that your bosom is available to me in times of distress, that I can wrap myself in your love during the cold gray days.

Yesterday, you scolded me because I didn’t take a sweater. I’ll admit, I was cold. But I didn’t take the sweater because I wanted to declare that this is my body, that I am making my own decisions. I am my own person. I can think things through on my own, make decisions by myself, and choose my style of clothing.

But yes, I am independent from you, but still very much your daughterIt’s true that it is difficult for you to see me as an independent person with dissimilar desires—not mommy’s little girl anymore. But yes, I am independent from you, but still very much your daughter.

Mommy, all I am asking is that you not be afraid of me.

All I am asking is that you not give up on me.

All I am asking is that you love me for who I am.

All I am asking is that you be my mom.

I love you,

Your Daughter


This piece was written after a series of emotional and insightful meetings between a mother and her teenage daughter.

Shosh Greenberg is a marital therapist who lives in Israel with her husband and two children.
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Discussion (5)
November 24, 2009
A letter from a teen...
I'm holding back the tears. I remember. I'm 84 years old, but I remember.
It wasn't my mommy who raised me, but my aunt. It was my aunt who was afraid of me, who put down my misbehaviors as "artistic temperament."
Nothing artistic about it. I yearned for the "I love you," the pat on the shoulder. the smile. It never came.
I hope this mommy heard and understood the cry.
Anonymous
Sacramento, California
November 24, 2009
letter to a mom
Dear Shosh-simply TODA (thanks) toda for this.
Anonymous
Tel Aviv, Israel
November 24, 2009
I cried....
when I read this it reminds so much of my relationship with my mom. We always seem to be fighting and sometimes I push her away but I still need her , I'm still her little girl even though I need her to respect that I'm growing up into a woman.
Ava
Brooklyn
November 23, 2009
This is very wonderful written and shows
the cry of a daughter to her mother.
Inge Reisinger
Germany
November 23, 2009
Beautifully written.
The story could also reflect the distressed feelings of a rejected wife speaking to her husband.
Anonymous
rogers
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