I have a son. I can’t always talk to him, so I write him letters. I’ve been doing so since he was a baby.
He’s an adult now.
Whether you have a son or daughter, my advice to you is to be honest and bare your soul. Write your child a letter if you are unable to talk. Writing is therapeutic!
My Last Letter to My Son
My TRUE TALE for today is a bit unique, because it involves me writing a letter to my son, whom I re-connected with in 2013 after being estranged from him for about three years.
We are currently – and still – strengthening our relationship (YAY!) and I obtained his permission to publish this on my blog.
FYI, he’s now 31. (I update this post from time to time…) 😉
I have written my son many letters and poems over the years, and I wrote this letter after reading I Will Never Forget, a memoir by Elaine C. Pereira. Elaine not only guest posted on this blog on a Featured Friday, but let me interview her, too.
She touched me deeply with her book.
In fact, this memoir inspired me in ways that I can’t even begin to explain. It was that moving. (In fact, at the end of this post, I share my review of this book with you.)
So now, I am putting together a book of letters to my son!
My Son Has Given ME Life
For now, here’s my most recent letter to my son.
I’m really looking forward to your comments, too.
A Letter To My Son
I may not have been a perfect mom, but I tried to be.
I may not have disciplined you enough, or maybe I disciplined you too much. I don’t really know. I know at times, I drove you nuts!
I fed you and bathed you and clothed you. I bought you toys.
I sang to you, read to you, taught you. You were my boy, my precious, baby boy.
I got up with you to send you to school. I stroked your forehead and hair when you were sick. I knew you were not feeling well, because you let me do these things. You were never very cuddly.
I paid for heat to keep you warm. I stared at you for 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.
Do you know that you mean the world to me?
I argued with you as you grew. You formed opinions of your own. I tried teaching you right from wrong, and to treat others with respect.
I hugged you and kissed you at least three times a day, every day. You couldn’t leave for school without a hug and kiss. Remember greeting each other after school, or hugging and kissing me good-night? I wanted to correct the behaviours of my parents, who were, and still are, non-demonstrative. I told you “I love you” constantly, daily, always, because I do. I love you.
I love you!
When you were two, I wrote you a song. I made it up on the spot, while brushing your teeth, to distract you. You were always so active and wiggly. Keeping still for those few minutes required drastic measures! I wrote down the lyrics, and eventually put it to music. I now sing it to your little cousins.
I supported you in most of the decisions you made. I encouraged you to be great. When you were thirteen or fourteen and wanted to come home (drunk?) after fighting with your friends one night during a sleepover way across town, I refused to pay for a cab, even though I told you I’d always be there for you, because I wanted to teach you a lesson about consequences. You learned it, too. Remember? You never let yourself get in a predicament like that again.
When you were on the high school football team, I went to your games. Even though I wrapped myself in a blanket, I still froze and felt the freezing effects of the wind whipping through my bones and at my face as I sat on the bleachers, while you worked up a sweat on the field.
I tried to be the best single mother I could be to you, my only child.
I sacrificed 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 didn’t want anyone to poison you, or slip a razor or another sharp fragment into your goodies. Remember how we avoided the pedophile’s place? You may recall it as “the bad house.” I did everything in my power to protect you.
Each time we had to move from one apartment to 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, you said you were.
Yet you pretended not to know me one day when we were walking downtown, shopping, until you wanted something. I understood. I was hurt, but I got that it wasn’t cool to be walking with your mom. I forgave you and admired you for exerting some of your independence. You had a fit when I joked around and pretended not to know you! You say you don’t remember that incident, but I do. Clearly. It was your first rejection of me.
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 facecloths, 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 gain an extra ounce. 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 to the gym enough! You do it faithfully, too, 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 two 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 a teenager 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 36 and in pain, mentally. You were 18 then. I remember, too, how crazy I was. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know I put you through hell.
When I almost lost my leg and had to undergo major surgery to save it, our roles were reversed and you took good care of me. Did I ever tell you how grateful I was? Let me remind you, I still am.
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.
Your unsettled Mom.
A Funny Follow-up
My Inspiration to Write Letters to Julian Came from A Book
I Will Never Forget
I also want to share my review of I Will Never Forget, which I’ve already posted to Goodreads and Amazon for readers to discover:
I Will Never Forget is Elaine Pereira’s beautiful yet heart-wrenching tribute to her mother. Never before have I read a memoir, and I was impressed with the light manner in which this story was written. Infused with humour, the author makes the most out of a difficult situation, making her book enjoyable to read despite the heartbreaking tale she tells. Keep a box of tissues handy – you’ll need them! I teared up many times while reading the author’s touching words, and was bawling when I read the final one. The poem written by the author, found at the end of the book, warmed my heart. It was lovely!
Through the author, the reader gets to know her family, and is able to identify with them as memories are related and glimpses into the author’s personal struggles are revealed. The style in which this book is written provides pieces of the puzzle that many sufferers of dementia face, and the reader can both commiserate with and find compassion for Elaine, the author, a feisty, spunky woman who truly did all she could for her wonderful mother while she was alive. I’m sure Betty (Elaine’s mom) looking down from heaven on her only daughter with great pride and a smile on her face. I would be, if I were her!
I highly recommend this book. I Will Never Forget will touch you in ways you cannot imagine or fathom. You will definitely not regret reading it. Besides, shedding a few (or more) tears is always good for the soul.
What is troubling you? Are you trying to change things with your son… or daughter?
Leave me a comment and let me know.