To my daughter –
I feel like I am adding to your stress when I try to help you wade through the emotions surrounding your current relationship. I love you very much and just want the best for you always. I want to share some thoughts on relationships. Hopefully they will be helpful, maybe they won’t. Just know that they and anything else I ever say or do, always come from the heart and with the best intentions.
The first thing I want to share with you has been said to me (and you) by a very wise woman in our lives, my mom. Your grandma’s analogy is one of the best I have ever heard! High School relationships are like trying on shoes. Right now you are in the store with a multitude of choices to try. This is your chance to try on the various styles to decide which ones you really want to put in your closet.
While we all want our high school romance to be the forever one that is not usually the case. What you value and want in a relationship as a teenager is not always what you value and want later in life. That is not because you do not value the right things, but more because you are still becoming the wonderful adult you will eventually be. Many people think that the younger years bring upon the most changes. I, however, feel that it is the teenage years on that truly bring on the most changes in who we are as a person. Does that mean this relationship is not important? Never. Does it mean it is not love? To an adult it probably is not, but to you… To you this is very much love as you know it. With that in mind, I want you to read what I have to say because they apply now and will apply later too.
No relationship is ever perfect. They are never like the movies. They rarely go the way we want them too. However, when you truly like/love the person…all of the struggles, missteps, disappointments and oops are worth it. Why? Because when you get through those together (or even alone) you have found the strength to make it through adversity. I often tell you that nothing worth having is ever easy… That is never truer than when you are in a relationship.
Does that mean you stay if the other person is being rude, mean, hurtful… ABSOLUTELY NOT! It does mean that you give the other person a break, time to make the changes you are asking for, accept their flaws when they are not harmful… Sometimes the best relationships start off a little rocky. It takes time to find the groove that works for the two of you. You have to decide if the person is worth the time and the chances. Only you can make that decision. It is not up to your friends, your parents, your siblings… It is up to you and how you feel about that person at this given moment.
You deserve to be with the great guy. The hot guy. The “popular” guy. You deserve to be happy with a guy. If he chooses you over any one else, then it is you he wants. Does that mean he will shower you with affection? Not always. Does that mean he will declare his like/love all over social media? Rarely. If he is telling you he wants you. Telling you he likes you. If he is making contact at least once or twice a day (even if it is via text/phone) when you both lead busy lives, then let it be enough in the beginning. Relationships grow over time, not over night. Enjoy them for what they are at the given moment. Do not put major expectations on where they should be within the first few months. Do not compare them to your past relationships or his. DO NOT let others in your head with their stories/gossip. Listen to the 2-3 people you know you can trust and shut the others out. Believe that you deserve him and happiness. However, do not believe that you NEED him. That is when it goes south.
Relationships require give and take, meeting half way and sometimes adjusting your expectations. Relationships are two-sided. Don’t always expect the other person to start the conversation each day, end it every night, come looking for you, go to your events, listen to your troubles/good things/stories and make the decisions if you are not willing to do them too. In a true relationship you both do those things. Often, even in the best relationships, one person does it more than the other. If the balance is too far off… That is up to you. All I know is that my most successful relationships were the ones where I gave as much (sometimes more) than I took/expected. If you expect it to all be about you and your expectations, it will never work. Be flexible. Be loving. Be giving. Be willing to take the first step often. Be interested. Be interesting. Be strong. Be honest. Be accepting. Be you!
You are one of the best gifts I have ever been blessed with. Your dad and I were so thrilled the night you came into our lives. Out of our love came this beautiful baby girl. Everything we prayed for and everything we hoped for. You are so special. Dad and I want you to see what we see and believe it. We see a beautiful, smart, creative, talented, kind, loving & wonderful girl! Please believe you are those things, because you are. You are those things and so many more. There is never a day that goes by that I don’t think how lucky I am to be your mom. Even the days we are butting heads. Whoever you are with at the moment, he should feel that you are one of the best things to happen to him as well.
So, I will back off and try to shut my mouth. Will I be perfect at this? Probably not, but I will try very hard because I love you. I will listen when you want to share. I will give advice when you ask. I will be here when you need a hug, need to vent, need to cry or need to gush. I will ALWAYS have your back.
I love you!