A Letter to My Daughter Who’s So Anxious to Grow Up: You’re Going to Miss This

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: A Letter to My Teen Daughter Who’s So Anxious to Grow Up: You’re Going to Miss This

Written by: Ali Flynn

I popped my head in my daughter’s bedroom for a few minutes to kiss her goodnight and I couldn’t help but notice that her bedroom was a mess…

“Listen, I know you’ve been slammed with homework, but your room is getting out of hand… I’d really like you to squeeze in some time to clean it this week,” I said.

After a long and rather dramatic sigh, I heard her mumble under her breath, “I can’t wait to go to college. No one telling me what to do or when to do it. No one bugging me about stuff that doesn’t matter. I’ll be the one calling the shots in my life… I can’t wait.”

Like a blast from the past, her words brought me back to when I was sixteen. Like her, I was ready to break free from my parents’ control.

I thought I was ready.

I thought I had it all figured out.

I thought having freedom would solve everything.

But wisdom, maturity, self-reflection and a heaping spoonful of life’s harsh and beautiful lessons make you realize just how clueless you were at that time in your life, how much growing up you still had yet to do and that some things in life shouldn’t be rushed… childhood is one of them.

“I’m excited for you to go to college and I know you are, too,” I told her. “But leaving home and being on your own isn’t always as easy as you might think. You may not realize it, but these really are the good times. You may not realize it, but I promise, you’re going to miss this.”

When you’re a teenager, the grass always seems greener on the adult side of the fence. You can come and go as you please without anyone freaking out if you’re past curfew. You can eat Pop-Tarts for dinner without anyone lecturing you that you’re eating too much sugar. You can sleep in, pull an all-nighter and do chores when you feel like it.

Some things have changed dramatically since I was a young teenager, but the full-throttle eagerness to grow up and get to the finish line still seems to be the goal of so many teenagers today, including my daughter. 

In a blink, she somehow went from dolls to driving, dress-up to formal dances and playdates to puberty – always rushing, never stopping long enough to breathe.

As I sat on the edge of my daughter’s bed and listened to her go on and on about how much better life will be once she’s out on her own, I patiently took it all in with grace and a subtle grin.

But in my heart, I knew

My girl is going to miss this. She’s going to look back one day and wish these days hadn’t slipped through her fingers so fast. She just can’t see it yet. So, for now, I write her this letter filled with love, hope, space to grow, and a tender reminder… 

To My Daughter Who’s So Anxious to Grow Up…

I know you’re anxious to make your own decisions, go to college, make your own money and tackle life on your own, but please, sweetheart, slow down just a bit. 

Life isn’t a race… it’s a journey. It’s all about enjoying the view, relishing in the moments and learning from the process. It’s about taking it all in knowing that we’ll never have this moment again. 

You’re Going to Miss This

These are some of the best years of your life. Your first big dance, your first date, your first kiss, your first love, cherished time with family all living under the same roof, time with friends you grew up with – take a picture with your heart, never forget. One day, soon enough, you’ll be calling on these memories to ground you on your journey. 

Today’s Lessons Will Guide Your Path

While you’re busy rushing through life, you may not realize all the lessons you’re learning and tucking in your back pocket for a rainy day. The fact that you can do your own laundry, that you know how to work an ATM at the bank and deposit a check and that you’re learning how to navigate complex relationships – these and so many other little nuggets of wisdom and experiences are guiding you on your path to independence. 

Take Time to Embrace the Little Things

I know you’re wrapped up in the daily grind of school, after-school activities, life with friends, preparations for college and that next step in your life, but don’t forget to take note of all amazing things (regardless of how small you think they are) happening in your life right now. Because one day, sweet girl, you’ll look back and realize the things you thought were little weren’t quite so little after all – they were some of the most treasured moments of your life, the ones you will miss the most.

The casual conversations our family has at the dinner table or the special, fleeting moments with your grandparents that you’ll so desperately miss one day. Walking in the door and seeing a handwritten note that says, “Hey hon, I’m running errands. Dinner is at 7:00 – your favorite! Love, Mom.” Or, those big bear hugs and cheesy jokes from your dad when you’ve had a crummy day. Those little moments  – the ones that seem oh, so ordinary – will one day mean more to you than you could imagine.

Be Grateful for Your Family – Even The Little Annoying Things They Do

When Dad sneezes so loud you’re sure the whole house will implode. Your sister’s uncanny ability to chew with a weird slippery sound. My laugh that’s always accompanied by a slightly embarrassing snort or the way your sister annoyingly leaves gobs of toothpaste in the sink and her dirty clothes on the bathroom floor… yup, you’ll miss this. 

One day, when you least expect it, it will hit you… your family is everything. Love them, appreciate them, spend time with them. This precious time goes by all too fast. 

Your Hometown Will Always Bring Comfort to Your Heart

The town you think has nothing to do may become your safe haven of tranquility and peace. The idea of simply driving by the old firehouse, your middle or high school, or stopping by to sit in the chairs at the apple orchard may, one day, bring you comfort. Can you imagine? Comfort in the simple things that you couldn’t wait to branch away from? 

So before you go, take a moment. Step back, reflect, capture a photo in your mind or literally with a camera, embrace the scents and colors and allow the simple pleasures of home to encompass your being. You never know when these moments will carry you through. 

Hold Onto the Hugs

You know those hugs you so often deny or push away or roll your eyes about? You’re going to miss those, too. 

With all the rushing to grow up, you may not realize the value or importance of truly feeling the warmth of someone’s love. But, oh, I think you’ll one day find how important those hugs were. Try not to pull away. Don’t adopt the belief that you’re too cool or that hugs are lame… they’re not. They’re one of the true reflections of love. 

My sweet daughter who’s so anxious to grow up… hold onto hugs and special moments and family and friends who love you and beautiful days when you can feel the warmth of the sun on your cheek… this is what truly matters, this is what will sustain you, this is what will fill your heart.

I love you always, MOM.

About Ali Flynn:

Ali Flynn is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real. You can also find her on Facebook or Instagram.


If you enjoyed, “A Letter to My Daughter Who’s So Anxious to Grow Up,” you might also enjoy reading:

I’m Spoiling My Teen While I Still Can

25 Things That Surprised Me About Having a Teen Girl

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