What I CAN Give You: A letter to my Teenage Daughter


Trip – Canceled

I can’t give you your orchestra class trip to Chicago. The one you had been planning for and talking about all year. I could physically feel your disappointment when you realized your trip had been canceled.

I can’t give you that trip, but I CAN give you grace. Grace, when you are moody, and it seems like I can’t do anything right. I quietly remind myself that you are frustrated at the situation and not me.

Graduation – Canceled

I can’t give you your 8th-grade graduation and all the fun things that go with it. Trips to Cedar Point, the formal dance, yearbook signings, and shared conversations with your friends. This seems especially disappointing because you’ve been with many of these kids since kindergarten, and next year you’ll be at a high school out of the district.

I can’t give you back 8th-grade graduation, but I CAN give you random ways to let you know I love you. A note in the morning left on the counter before I go to work. On it a quality you have that I admire. 

State Competition – Canceled 

I can’t give you a chance to win at the State Championship for debate. Something you had found out you qualified for before the world turned upside down.

I can’t give you a way to know if you would have won or lost, but I CAN give you my respect and admiration for you and your friend starting the debate club at your school. And for what it’s worth, you already won before you had your very first debate. You and your friend spent hours planning the club, found a teacher willing to oversee it, and presented your idea to the principal. That makes me more proud of you than a championship win ever could.


I hope that years from now when you talk about the pandemic, it won’t be about all the things I couldn’t give you. Instead, I hope you’ll remember the random evening we played scrabble in the backyard and lost the letter N, or how we finally got around to making a yule log. 

So while I may not be able to give you a school trip, graduation, or a championship win. I CAN give you a promise that I will find ways for us to make the best of this time. And more importantly, I CAN give you love. Love in the form of grace, patience, and shared family moments worth remembering.

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Michelle Turner
Michelle Turner was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She can’t imagine a better place to raise her now teenage daughter. She’s been married to her husband for 14 + years and with their daughter and raised a much-loved pooch named Clever. She’s a lover of organization, Gilmore Girls, and baking. She works full time and has also started a side business, Remind and Inspire, to help moms find inspiration from memories and treasured moments. She does this by incorporating baby’s clothes, beloved blankies, and treasured team t-shirts, into a keepsake journal. Remindandinspire.com She also has a blog where she shares ways to create memories with your kids. remindandinspire.com/blog



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