To the Teenage Me Who Wanted More From His Parents,
Hey you. Lying there in the dark. Working yourself up in such anger that you started to cry. I still remember you. You're at the beginning of becoming a person who decided to strip away from those closest to himself and do everything on his own. I'll admit that you were pretty successful at it all the way until you didn't match into residency. However, I need to tell you that…
You don't have to go at life alone.
You're strong, but no one's that strong. I know you're mad at your mother. I know you're constantly emotionally bleeding from the fights. I know you've gotten to the point where you want to lash out at her in a fit of rage. But take a minute to hear me out.
Your mother grew up in a different era from you. She was raised in Vietnam and survived the Communist takeover. She was stranded on an island while trying to get into the US and lost a sister to the ocean. She spent her entire life looking for stability so that you could be born here. That's why she didn’t have the time or the means to develop herself socially to be able to tackle the issues you deal with now.
Your life is not the dangerous one that she knew, but I know you have roller coasters of your own. It's not fair for you to resent her for not understanding how to help you through them. Some of it is because of cultural influences (not that they are right, but it takes a lot to break that mold), and the rest is because she's trying to figure it out along the way just like you are.
She loves you.
That's the one thing I'm sure of after having gotten to know her better over the years. She's not perfect. She doesn't always know what to do. Her decisions aren't always correct. But, she loves you. And she's doing the best she can with what she can process mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically at times… for you.
She doesn't know how to give you all 5 love languages. Her primary one is service. Let me explain to you what she's trying to say.
When she sits down with you to help you with homework and to teach you ahead of class, she's trying to say "I love you enough to give you my time and knowledge so that you can do well in school, career, and life."
When she doesn't let you go hang out with friends on school nights, she's saying, "I love you enough to teach you discipline because that is the foundation upon which you will need to build your life."
When she looks at you walk away after dropping you off for school/practice/time with friends, she's not just waiting to make sure you are okay. She's saying "I love you" the only way she knows how, and maybe… just maybe, she's wishing that one day you'll come back and give her a hug and a kiss goodbye.
She doesn't know how to reach out to you sometimes. Your angry stares and scathing words push her away. Do her a favor. Tell her you love her. Tell her how proud you are of her and all she does for you. Sit down, tell her about your day, and ask her about hers. I promise you that she's just as flawed and insecure a human being as you are, and she needs as much support from you as you're looking for from her.
With a little love and grace, there hopefully won't be a divide that needs to be healed. You don't have to go at life alone. I wish I could've given you the strength, knowledge, and support to bridge that gap before it's too late. I wish I could've told you to lean on God in your weakness and hurt. Maybe now, He'll finally use your pain for good in someone else's life.
Hang in there buddy,