I won’t share your name, but we both know it. And, even if no one else ever learns I’m speaking to you, I need you to know what I think of you.
I need you to know what you taught me.
You taught me how to ask for help. Even when extraordinarily complicated, you reached out. You bravely requested help when it was hard. You showed courage that could have been so easily quieted. You turned battery into bravery.
You taught me vulnerability. We cried. Maybe not together. You didn’t see me cry, but I did…with you. I tried to be strong for you like you’ve been strong for others. Once you were gone, my tears streamed. You honestly admit confusion in a way that so many adults can’t. You showed me strength can be sad.
You taught me strength. You don’t know this. You won’t for years. When I complain, I think of you. When I want to be sad, I think of your smile. When I want to quit, you keep me going. As I told you once, I want to be you when I grow up.
You think of me as the leader. But, you’re wrong. You are. I just get to watch.
You’re a teenager. There’s nothing more I want to give you than the right to be a teenager. I wish I could take all the difficulty away. Unfortunately, I can’t. You’ve dealt with things I can’t understand. You taught me things you’ll never understand.
I do this work for you. I do this because of you. I do this because of who you will be.
You say you want to be a social worker. I can’t wait to meet the kids that will meet you. Those kids don’t yet know how lucky they’ll be. But, already, I do.
With more respect than you can know,