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A Letter to My Teen: I Love You. Now Knock It Off.

I say this in love. Knowing that you can't. But that someday you will. Knock it off.
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To my dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, sweet child, whom I love very, very, very, very, very, very much,

Knock it off.

You are driving your family crazy, man.

Crazy to the moon.

And when I say "your family," I include you in it, 'cause I can see it in your eyes, this confusion at your own behavior. This mystery at the vitriol that erupts. This wondering at the drama. This fact that you're driving yourself crazy, too. And I assure you, you're not alone.

You're not alone. You're not.

Even though your attitude rises every day, as faithfully as the sun rises in the east, and shines upon us all with steady heat, but beats the hottest on you as you stand on the equator of your life, you're not alone. We are all here with you. For you.

But knock it off.

Even though you regularly spend time in your room, contemplating the 56th WOW, MOM and the 34th GEEZ of the day -- a WOW, MOM and GEEZ that you delivered at the angry top of your lungs because your mama asked you to kindly remove your shoes from the hallway where she tripped over them on her way to the toilet -- you are not alone. I am with you, in my heart, because I WOWed and GEEZed my mom, too, and I know what it is to lay there on an unmade bed, misunderstood, with furious tears in my eyes and "think about what I've said." I know, believe it or not, even before I send you there, that "thinking about it" sounds a lot less like "I shouldn't have said that and I'm so sorry" and a lot more like "DEAR GOD, my mom is SO STUPID and AGAINST ME and I HATE HER and IF I RAN AWAY, SHE'D BE SORRY." And that's OK. I understand that it's just part of this life right now.

But knock it off.

You did so well at your new school this year. You found your way and met new friends and stuck up for old ones and worked hard and learned piles of new things, some of them even academic. I know that adjustment periods are hard. Finding new rhythms when life changes takes a while. I know that you used every single ounce of your energy to grow your changing body and to maintain good behavior at school. And I know that means you have nothing left to give this summer so we get the goo and the angst and the nerves. I know you give us the yucky parts because at some deep level, you trust that we can take it. You're right. We can. And you're not alone. We're here with you while you figure it out.

We're here.

But knock it off.

I say this in love. Knowing that you can't. But that someday you will.

Knock it off.

And, you know, when you do? Years down the road? When you knock that attitude off and come back to us in the fullness of yourself and we look back on this crazy time and laugh? I will love you no more then than I do right now, kid. Because I already love you all there is.

You are not alone. You're not. And I love you.

Now knock it off.