‘The dance of cutting kite strings while weaving ropes. Pushing away, but still needing.’: Mom shares emotional ups and downs of parenting teens

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“This is 16.

Occasionally curling up at the foot of my bed, watching TikToks and saying, ‘Mom, look at this.’

Asking if I want to go to Target to look for Squishmallows and makeup.

Telling me not to touch your hair, but then later asking me to Dutch braid it.

Begging me not to ring the cowbell, but also searching for me at the finish line.

You are a wild assortment of sweet, sour, salty, sassy, sarcastic, and silly.

You are magnetic. I feel your pull from rooms, miles away.

You are the moon. Orchestrating tides. Inviting the howls of the wild.

I highlight and dog-ear your pages. Your stories have me up past midnight.

This is 16. The dance of cutting kite strings while weaving ropes. Pushing away but still needing. 

16 is laying in bed amongst a sea of wrappers, procrastinating studying for the test, putting a star pimple patch over a new zit, and complaining about what was made for supper.

16 is an eternal ache of possibility.

16 is wanting a boyfriend but thinking all boys are SO immature. Learning about politics and forming strong opinions about social causes. Being overwhelmed by this world. Not knowing how to process war. Feeling anxious most of the time. Protecting your tender heart with ferocious sarcasm. 

16 is wanting me to hold your hair back when you have the flu and bring you ginger ale when your stomach settles.

16 is messes and hair products and clothing preferences that change every month.

16 is expensive shoes. Thank goodness your feet have stopped growing.

16 is you being even more effortlessly you. Even if you can’t see it.

16 is a gift.”

16 year old girl poses with two thumbs up in a ski outfit
Courtesy of Melissa Neeb

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melissa Neeb from Never Empty Nest and Faith In The Mess. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Melissa here: 

‘We drove to McDonalds at 8:30 p.m. She hadn’t eaten in 8 hours, nothing sounded good. Depression will do that.’: Mom shares heartache parenting daughter with depression mirroring her own

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‘My 14-year-old came into the bedroom with distressed eyes. ‘I was panicking last night and couldn’t sleep.’ This is the third time in 3 weeks.’: Mom stands in the gap for daughter battling anxiety

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