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Dear Teen Son, I Hope You Remember My Love More Than Anything Else

Dear teen son,

As I’ve watched you grow older through these teen years, it’s been an incredible thing to witness you transform into a man. There are times I look at you, wondering how on earth my baby boy turned into such a strong, handsome guy. When we hug, your arms engulf my body as my head now lays on your chest. It seems I’m shrinking smaller and smaller each time we embrace. I still think about holding your little body in my arms through all those years of your childhood. But you’re not a child anymore. Instead, you are on the verge of becoming an adult.

Soon, you will turn 18 and head into the next season of your life, moving on to pursue your dreams. Soon, you will be leaving our home to head out on your own. The thought of this literally takes my breath away, knowing it’s coming closer every day. I often find myself thinking about your future and what it might look like for you. I consider all your different ideas and goals, and it’s so exciting to picture you out there doing it all. I fast forward to reflect on how someday you will meet a woman who is perfect for you and build a beautiful family of your own somewhere, too. Oh, what an incredible husband and father you will be, my beloved son.

I often picture you doing your thing, whether you’re at college getting a degree, training in the military, or traveling the world like you’ve always dreamed. Whatever you choose to do, I envision you doing it well and embracing life with full devotion and discipline and some fearless recklessness, too. But along with your innate passion for risk-taking, you are so wise and mature for your age. You have built such a firm foundation of values and virtues that are unshakable, no matter how much this world tries to persuade you to change. Oh, how I love that most about you. I’m so proud of your integrity and the incredible young man you are growing up to be.

As I dream of your future that will soon unfold, I wonder what you’ll remember most about these years growing up in our home. I especially think about your teen years and the rollercoaster ride that it’s been. This life we are living now will start to fade into distant memories that will soon create your history. And I keep contemplating what details you might highlight in your mind and what memories you will cherish most about your life. When you look back on your childhood and how you were raised, what parts of your story will you choose to hold onto, and what parts will you let go? And most of all, I wonder and worry just what you’ll remember about me.

I hope you don’t dwell on the mistakes I made or the heated fights we had. I pray that you don’t focus on the times I said hurtful things out of sheer frustration and rage. I hope you don’t resent me for all the things I did wrong or how hard I was on you about certain rules and expectations in our home. I hope you don’t look back and reflect on all the times you felt misunderstood, or you harbor resentment for not feeling heard. I know I wasn’t a perfect mom. I know I did and said some things I shouldn’t have said or done. I’m so sorry there were times I failed to be the mom you needed me to be.

But my deepest longing is for you to remember all the ways I loved you well. Oh, dear son, I hope you remember my devotion and grace more than all my mistakes. I hope that instead of remembering the times when I fell short, you remember the times when I came through. 

I hope you remember all the long talks we had when I listened, consoled, counseled, or encouraged you through whatever challenges you were facing at the time. Oh, how grateful I always am when you trust me enough to share, and I hope and pray that it continues even when you’re not here. I hope you remember how I celebrated all your amazing accomplishments and tried so hard to support you in everything you did. I hope you recall the times I told you how proud I was of you over and over again.

Maybe you’ll even look back and think how your mom put up with a lot from you during your tough teen years with relentless patience and perseverance, and she never gave up. I hope you remember all the times I helped you during those frantic early mornings when you were late to school or how I constantly cleaned up after your messes when you should have done it yourself. I know you will remember how brutally honest I always was with you. But I hope you learned that no matter how painful saying or hearing the truth may be, it’s always better than deceit.

I hope you remember my presence in your daily life, just being there for you however I could. I hope someday you might even appreciate the countless times I harped on you about not procrastinating and staying organized, efficient, and responsible too. I really do hope you can truly see how I did my best to parent you in ways I believed I should. 

I hope you remember how you were my priority through all these years of raising you. I hope you look back and remember all our favorite movies and shows we always loved to watch together and our long drives to cruise around and catch up and listen to your new favorite songs you wanted to share. I hope you remember the endless hours we spent just the two of us- connecting in deep and lasting ways that built our strong bond.

I hope you remember how your home was a safe, secure, and stable place for you to always come back to after a long day at school, work, or sports. I hope you look back and realize how I did my best to keep our house comfortable, (fairly) clean, and organized so you never had to worry about that. I hope you remember all the times I greeted you when you walked through the door to ensure your presence was appreciated and known. I hope you remember feeling like you were an important part of our family where you always belonged, and you felt respected and cherished with my unconditional love.  

I know you will look back on your teen years and remember some really hard things. I know you will reflect on the trials you had to go through because you suffered some difficult life experiences during your teen years. But I hope you will see how all those painful circumstances shaped you into who you are today. I’m amazed at your resiliency and commitment to healing and overcoming all your adversity. When you think back on all those difficult challenges you survived, I hope you also see that I was at your side. And as emotional and overwhelming and sad and frustrating as those tough times were, I am so grateful they brought us closer together than ever before. I hope and pray you feel the same way, and more than anything, I hope you remember how much I loved you through it all.

Oh, my beautiful boy, my precious child, my almost grown young man, it is and will always be my greatest joy to be your mom. Someday, when you’re grown up and on your own and you look back on your life back here at home, oh my dear teen son, I hope you remember my love more than anything else. I hope and pray that your memories reveal just how much your mom adored you, cared for you, and did all she could to be there for you. Although I didn’t do anything perfectly, and at times, I failed miserably, I hope and pray that you KNOW you have a mom who has always and will forever love you.

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