A Letter To My Son
I may not have been a perfect mom, but I tried to be. I was only 21 with limited life experience. I gave you my all.
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Years flew by, I fed you and bathed you and clothed you. I bought you lots of leggos, pokemon cards, video games, and toys.
I sang for you, read for you, and taught you all I know. You are my boy, my precious, baby boy~ and in many ways, you always will be.
I woke early, (most of the time) to send you to school. I stroked your forehead and back when you were sick. I always knew when you were not feeling well, because you’d let me do these things. You were never very cuddly when you were well.
I paid for heat to keep you warm, and lights to show your way. I stared at you for days and days, after you were born. I didn’t want to miss anything. I adored you.
I kept you safe. I kept you clean. I soothed you when you cried. I let you stay up late and watch TV, or movies in your room.
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We sometimes argued as you grew. You formed opinions of your own. I tried to teach you right from wrong, and how to respect others.
I hugged you and kissed you at least three times, every day. You couldn’t leave for school without my hug and kiss. Remember doing homework after school? Hugging and kissing me goodnight? Reading stories at bedtime?g
I tried to right the mistakes my parents made with me, who were, and still are, non-demonstrative. I told you “I love you” constantly; daily, hourly even, always, because I do. I love you.
I love you!
When you were small, I made up a rhyme about the ‘big moon’. I made it up on the spot, while we were walking in the dark, to distract you, as you were always so active and wiggly. The day came when I wrote down the words, and eventually realized that I think of it and you, every time I see the moon.
I support you in the decisions you make. I encouraged you to be great. When you were thirteen or fourteen and wanted to come home after misbehaving with your friends one night during a sleepover way across town. I listened as you told me what had occured. I told you I’d always be there for you, and it was my bad choices that took me away. I will always be sorry. I can never get the time I missed back again.
I am so very sorry Rivers.
Please find it in your heart to forgive me, so I miss no more of life’s precious moments.
When you started high school, I was not there. I wrapped myself in a blanket, and cried. Wishing things were different. I’m sorry.
I tried to be the best single mother I could be to you, my only child.
I sacrificed many aspects of my life to enhance yours. I did this many times, for many years.
I loved you from the moment I felt you inside my belly, flailing your tiny arms.
When you lost your teeth, I became the Tooth Fairy. I was Santa and the Easter Bunny, too. You never knew, until I told you.
I dressed you up on Halloween, and took you out trick-or-treating, because that’s what good moms do. Do you recall our ritual of checking the candy when we got home, to make sure it was safe? I did everything in my power to protect you.
Each time we had to move from one placeto another, I made endless preparations to ensure a seamless transition. I explained things to you, preparing you the best that I could for what was to come. I wanted you to feel secure. As an adult, I hope you were.
Yet now you pretend not to know me. You did not even want me at your high school graduation. I understood. But it hurt. I forgive you. It was your first outright rejection of me. I hope to never feel that pain again. Please forgive me. I am so very sorry.
At a young age, I taught you to do laundry. You were in charge of socks. You had fun matching them. As you grew, you graduated to face cloths, underwear, and towels. You were a big help, you know. I was surprised when you refused to let me launder your teenage clothes, and was impressed with the excellent care you took, and still take, with your wardrobe. I’ve never seen anyone iron like you! When you trusted me to sew the holes, I felt needed again. I loved those moments, even though I hate sewing!
Because I have eating and weight issues, and have had them all my life, I never wanted you to worry about weight. Ridicule and self-loathing were not things you were going to experience! The healthy habits you formed early on in life have helped you become the strong, young man you are today. Do you still prefer yogurt over ice cream? Apples over potato chips? Granola bars over chocolate bars? I think you do. You go running enough! You do it faithfully, and I’m so proud. You’ve worked long and hard for your muscles, your abs, your rock-hard body, seemingly made of steel.
Remember our little, plastic, red, first-aid kit? My heart swelled when you told me you brought one to the beach and when you went camping (or was it hiking?) with those girls. Your foresight and sensibility astonishes me. Maybe I wasn’t perfect, but I tried hard to be the best single mom I could be. I was still so young when I had you. I was only twice your age once. I was 18 and in pain, physically, when you were forced into this world. I was 35 and in pain, mentally. You I remember, too, how crazy I was. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know I put you through hell.
When you were six and came home with a “D is for Daddy” father’s day card, you questioned me. After our conversation, I questioned you, asking you what you would rather have: a daddy who always yelled and hurt us or a mommy who loved you with all her heart. “I just want you, Mom,” was your response. I’ll never forget that, as long as live. I just want you, son, too. I just want you.
I love, and always will love, you. You’ll be my baby forever, even though you are a grown man now. I hope I will always recognize your face and your voice. A book I read recently about one woman’s struggles with dementia has prompted me to write and share this. It touched me in explicable ways. The book? “I Will Never Forget.”
I want you to know my feelings and thoughts while I can still communicate them. I never want you to wonder how I felt, or have unanswered questions. You are my single-most biggest achievement. I kept us both alive despite a huge lack of money to do so. I may have gambled, done drugs, and a few other things you hate me for, but I did try to be a good mother to you, and for you, as well as a friend. I’m not perfect, but I love you. Please, always remember that.
Don’t forget me, son, when I am gone. Maybe through my writing, I’ll live on.
Now, it’s your turn to be a good son.
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