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Dear Shane;

P1. Right now you are upstairs in your room thinking that life is completely and totally

P2. The whole world is against you because there is not a single person in it that
understands you. You would say that you love your friend, but the truth is that you love
them more on Facebook, Tweeter and Instagram than you do in real life. In real life,
you can only handle spending so much time with before they start to annoy you
because, as I mentioned before, no one really understands who you are.

P3. Your room is a mess. The clothes that you beg for me to buy you are crumpled in a
heap in the corner. When asked to clean – when asked to do anything, really – you roll
your eyes (not to my face, because you are smart enough at this point to know that will
set me off) because you have a thousand more important things to do like watch
Pangako Sa ‘Yo or check your phone.

P4. You are both obsessed and terrified by boys.

P5. Some days you think you are pretty. Some days you are certain you are the ugliest
person on earth. You are sure you are being left out of something. Some party, some
conversation, some sleepover is happening and you were deliberately excluded because
no one cares how you feel. You have every right in the world to be moody because life
is hard. Grade 11 is pointless. There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t been able to get
into the college they wanted to because they got poor grades in Grade 10. Mostly
though, life is just hard and complicated and difficult and confusing. Despite this, you
are never given the credit you deserve for always knowing what’s what. You know what
is best for you and there is nothing more irritating than someone else (like me)
presuming that they know.

P6. I realize that when I raise these topics with you, you will not hear me. Despite all
appearances, you are not a small adult. You cannot reason like an adult and so it is
impossible for you to understand that I am trying to help you and guide you and not,
pain your life. This privilege I exert does not necessarily come from biology, it comes
from the fact that I have been exactly where you are and I have been navigating this
life for a lot longer than you. It is true that everyone has a story, and everyone’s story
is unique, but loss, pain, anger, confusion and sadness are universal. These feelings
don’t separate you from the world, but rather they bind you closer to it. Someone out
there is feeling the exact same way do right now, including me, my dearest girl, and I
am only a few feet away. There will never be and can never be another you, but you
are part of a magnificent community of humans. Humanity at times can be brutal and
petty and mean-spirited, but that’s never an excuse for you to be that way. You are so
much more and so much better than a bad day.

P7. I am not you friend. I don’t care what you think about me. I am not aiming for
popularity in our house. Most importantly, we are not equals. Think about it; how we be
equals if you depend on me for everything? If you’re going to ask for extra money for
whatever you wanted to buy, then you have to take my rules. Some people call it
parenting. Greedy me, I call it authority. When you don’t need me for thing, only advice
and counsel, then we can explore a friendship.

P8. When I ask you to do something right now, I am trying to teach you something
about success. Procrastination is a dream killer. No one ever became a grand success
by doing it later. You’re right, your room is yours. I am less concerned with the state of
it than I am of your mind. Ever see a happy person on Hoarders? It sounds ridiculous to
you, but a clean space makes it easier to be creative and productive. When you let your
room slide, you are likely to let everything else slide too, like homework.

P9. I am not a Tiger Mom. I am not interested in you getting A’s (though, of course,
that would be great), I am interested in you doing your absolute best. Sometimes you
do your best and you fail, and you need to learn to be okay with that, too. You must
learn to be good AT school, so it will be easier for you to be good AT college and AT
work. Yes, of course, it’s pandering to a system, but everyone, regardless of status has
to work within a system, unless you’re becoming a hermit which let’s face it, is never
going to happen. When you become overly concerned with pleasing your friends and
making them happy it takes away from your focus, your job, which right now is school.
The balance you learn to strike right now will carry you through your entire life where
friendships can be vital. But, you cannot rely on a great friendship to buy you a house.

P10. I don’t tell you often enough how beautiful you are. Even though you are
stunning, I do guess I do this on purpose. Being beautiful should never be the most
interesting thing about you. A girl who relies on her looks is setting herself up to be
woman lost at sea as she gets older. We live in a world where beauty can and will open
many doors but how you choose to open them and what you do inside become about
character. Character, moral aptitude, empathy, grace – these are the traits that will
carry on your beauty far after your looks are gone. You aren’t anywhere near
understanding this right now, even though I am trying to lead this change by example.
When you look at me all you see is old, and mom.
P11. Unbelievably though, I was young (and not so long ago, I might add) once, and
nothing you can say will shock me. In point of fact, if I was to over share and talk
about some of the things I’ve done, or still do actually, on a pretty regular basis with
your step dad, it is you that would be shocked. Don’t worry, I would never, because like
I said, we are not friends. I promise you this, though; as long as you tell me the truth,
you will never get into trouble, though I can’t promise I won’t be disappointed.

P12. Until you have children of your own, you won’t realize the depth in which I love
you. I would do anything for you and it is great irony of life that the person I love most,
I get treated the worst by. I am your greatest cheerleader and your biggest fan.
Sometimes you scream “Why do you hate me!”when I am doing my job as a mother.
You don’t understand that if I indeed hated you, or felt a far more heinous thing,
indifference, I simply wouldn’t bother. I would let you get on with it and shrug my
shoulders and not say a word. When I stand my ground and open myself up to your
vitriol and disregard and general railroading, that, my dear, is love.

P13. The most important thing for you to understand is though you may be convinced
otherwise, whatever happens in this crazy, upside down life, you will never, ever be
alone. So maybe, just once in a while, will you keep this in mind and be a little kinder to

Your ever loving,


1. What kind of relationship does the letter describe?
2. Who are involved in the relationship? Describe each character.
3. What roles does each character play in the relationship?
4. Are you satisfied with this type of relationship? Explain your answer.
5. Do you agree that this type of relationship can be improved? Explain your answer.
6. In what ways can the characters show they are responsible to main a good