Dear Teenager, Sorry About The Toddler And The Baby

by Gwen Cherne
Originally Published: 
A teenage boy, lovingly embracing his two younger siblings, a toddler girl, and an infant

Dear Teenager,

I am sorry that you are going through quite possibly the most difficult time in your life and instead of having our full attention on your issues or ones close to them, we are changing nappies, pulling all-nighters with newborns, and dealing with a threenager.

I am sorry that when you need help with homework, we are often in the middle of bath and bedtime routines, which often include toddler tantrums.

I am sorry that instead of actually watching your football games, our attention is split between watching you, running after a toddler who wants to jump in muddy puddles or cover herself in dirt, and feeding the baby.

I am sorry that when you are starting to explore girls, finding your own independence, and wanting some adult conversation, the toddler is saying the same thing a hundred times in a row at the top of her lungs and we cannot hear you.

I am sorry that every time you want our attention, the baby starts crying or needs something.

I am sorry that when you first wanted to drive, we did not trust you with the kids in the car and so it took awhile before you could get your hours up on your learner’s permit.

I am sorry we do not pick you up at the train station when you finish work more often, because we are either settling your baby brother, feeding him, or fell asleep waiting for your text.

I am sorry I cannot remember what time your game is on Sunday – or anything you have told me, for that matter – because I have not slept a full night in over a year.

I am sorry that when you are being reprimanded, you have a little peanut gallery echoing our lecture.

I am sorry that your door often violently swings open early in the morning or late in the evening and your sibling jumps on your bed and yells, “It’s wake up time!”

I am sorry that instead of surfing with you, we are on the beach with the little ones building sand castles and stopping them from eating truckloads of sand.

I am sorry that instead of taking you to see the last Fast and Furious movie, we went to see Home, or worse, Cinderella.

I am sorry that instead of taking you go-karting, skiing or to play paintball, we spend our weekends at play centers and parks.

I am sorry you are over having toddlers and babies in the house and just want some space to be a teenage sloth, but that you will never get that space under this roof.

But …

I am not sorry that nothing in this world makes your little brother and sister smile like they do when you walk through the door.

I am not sorry that your sister asks me once every five minutes where you are, and that she always knows – work, school, football, training, rowing, or whichever friend’s house you are at.

I am not sorry that your siblings are obsessed with you.

I am not sorry that you almost never get to sleep past nine o’clock because they cannot wait another second for you to hang out with them.

I am not sorry that you have to share your birthday, because you will always share it with your brother.

I am not sorry that I barely have any pictures of you without your siblings, because you are such a good big brother.

I am not sorry that we ask things of you that many kids your age do not have to deal with, because we trust you and your siblings count on you.

I am not sorry you have to go to play centers, parks, sit on kids’ rides, and build sand castles, because you have gotten to be a kid again – and you look cool doing it!

I am not sorry that your little sister took her first steps to you.

I am not sorry that you know how much it takes to be a parent now and that you will be an even better father because you have watched us and helped us each step of the way.

I am not sorry that you have to be a better person, and so do we, because their little eyes are watching, and they look up to you.

I am not sorry you will have loyal siblings to lead, lean on and love you the rest of your life.

I am not sorry that you became a superhero overnight.

As your journey continues and you grow into a young man, we want you to know how proud of you we are. Your patience as a son and a big brother is never-ending. These years are hard to navigate for teenagers and parents alike. So thank you. We are sincerely grateful for your love, patience and acceptance of our imperfect love.

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