The Shocking Thing I Discovered In My Teen’s Secret, Hidden Letter

I didn’t mean to snoop.

I swear.

I wasn’t looking to stumble across my teen’s secret letter.

A letter bubbling over with emotion.

With a broken heart.

With defiance.

She will stand by her man.

“I have yet to hear a legitimate gripe about him,” she wails. “I’m not going to stop seeing him no matter what you say.”

Oh my.

And to think I was just hunting around in the basement hoping to find an old photo of my sister.

Instead, I found this letter.

My teen is very clear about her intentions in this hidden letter.

My teen is very clear about her intentions in this hidden letter.

Never thought my teen would hide it here.

Call me nosey.

I prefer, “curious.”

I devoured every word.

Am I going to show my daughter?

Show her what I read?

Show her I found declarations not caring about this boy’s past. “I don’t see what Bonnie or Tracy have to do with us?”

I am.



Will it be embarrassing?

You bet.

And, there’s this—

A good chance she’ll like me better.

Like me for snooping, for reading her private thoughts?

No.

Like me for showing her mine.

See, the teen who wrote that letter, who declared her love, who looked pretty dumb, who will be embarrassed, if you must know,

That teen was me.

The letter I stumbled upon wasn’t written by either of my kids.

It was me.

Teenaged me.

Oh, the love, the angst, the emotion!

It all came flooding back as I found this letter folded and stuck to the back page of a dusty scrapbook.

I was in high school and in deep for my first “real love.”

He just happened to be my brother’s college roommate.

Someone my brother had seen operate around other girls.

Someone my brother flat out refused to let me continue to see once he figured out what was going on.

Cue the soap opera sound track, or in today’s reality show terms, try “Keeping Up With The Kagans.”

My brother, the one I adored, keeping me from my first love.

Alas, I picked Love over Brother.

And so, the letter.

Written from me to my brother.

I have no memory of writing it or tucking it away in a scrapbook.

Must have been the 80’s version of writing an email, but not clicking, “Send.”

Good for me.

Because I sound really dumb.

Looked even dumber when Brother proved to be right.

This boy was no match for me.

Have you had this chance, Dear Reader?

To come face to face with a much younger, sillier version of you?

It’s a shocker.

And a gift.

To think I was looking for a picture of my sister.

Instead, I found a picture of me.

By the way, this was the photo I was looking for down in the basement--of my little sister's second birthday party. How cute is she?!

By the way, this was the photo I was looking for down in the basement–of my little sister’s second birthday party. How cute is she?!

To rediscover tucked inside this boring old mom is a silly, lovesick, teenaged girl with determined handwriting.

To remember her, to see her again, is going to help me be a more compassionate mom to those crazy teen girls living in my house.

And if not, they can always set me straight by writing me a letter.

Please find my weekly newspaper column in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.

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The Shocking Thing I Discovered In My Teen’s Secret, Hidden Letter

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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