I see you there.

I see you struggling to find yourself. To find your place. To deal with the cavalcade of emotions that assault you daily. With the confusion of growing up. With your parents’ divorce. With navigating relationships and responsibilities and life.

I see you, and I remember.

I want to help you, but please know that my help won’t come packaged the way you think it ought.  I do you no good, in the long run, by pandering.

I will stand strong in my place as your mother. I will share with you the wisdom I have gathered along the way.  You will often scoff at my wisdom but it won’t stop me from sharing it.  You will know who I am, how I am, and where I stand.

I am not without compassion or empathy, but I will not bend to your will.

I will love you regardless of the arrows you shoot at me, for I know you are dealing with hurt yourself and I am a convenient and safe target to lash out at. Part of my job is to know when to keep my mouth shut when you loose your arrows on me.

You should know those shots you take hurt. They leave me in tears and temporarily incapacitated, questioning my parenting. But I don’t serve you by being weak and allowing your teen angst to leave me questioning what I know.

Here is what I know:

I am a strong woman, and I am raising you to be a strong woman.

A strong woman is clear about who she is and what she will and will not stand for.

Because I am a strong woman, I will protect you from certain truths about your parents that you do not need to know.  You think you know enough about things to make judgments about me, about our situation, to pick a side, to draw conclusions. You don’t know nor do you ever need to pick a side. You can choose both sides. Furthermore, you never will know these things because I am your mother and it is my desire to protect you from some truths, even if doing so leaves you judging me more harshly than you otherwise might.  I do this for your own benefit, as a good parent should.

I am not without flaws and shortcomings. I have made many mistakes along the way. But I am no victim. A victim stays down. I do not, nor will I ever. Every single time I’ve been set back, whether due to my own blunders or through the fault of others, I have never failed to pick myself up and carry on. I have never abdicated my responsibilities. I have never not stepped up.

The only person I control is myself and I take that responsibility very seriously. My life is a series of decisions I have made, not I single one which I regret for I made the best decisions I could at the time based on the information and circumstances in front of me. I don’t control others, but I choose how I react and respond to them.  I am in the driver’s seat of my life and always have been.

So bring it. Bring your venom. Bite hard and let it seep into my bloodstream.  I am a strong woman and I will survive.  I will still love you. I will continue walking the high road in spite of this hurt.

One day you’ll understand, because one day you’ll be a strong woman.

I will help you get there with my strength. And on that day in the future, you and I will walk arm in arm, two strong women. When that day comes, you will understand what I did back when you were a teenager and why I did it, and you will appreciate it. You’ll seek my forgiveness for the hurtful things you did and said to me but you’ll realize you’ve had it all along.

Because I’m a strong woman and you are my daughter.