An Open Letter To My Son

It’s been pretty intense around here, with all the soul cleansing and growth, the changes inside and out.  Like finding seashells along the shifting tides, I was too wrapped up in my discoveries to see the signs.

Still, I knew something was off.  I felt the shift in his manner, his voice, and the way he looked (or rather the way he didn’t look) at me.  The realization hit me like a 2 x 4 yesterday morning and gave me a raging headache.  I couldn’t let this sit and stew.  I had to do damage control – and fast.

Dear Jesse,

I woke up this morning and felt really, really awful.  Sick, but not physically.  It was more like my heart and soul had collapsed.  I didn’t have it in me to get out of bed, and for me, that’s pretty bad.

I panicked because I realized I had forgotten something very, very important.  What made this oversight even worse, was that I couldn’t remember how long ago that I had begun to forget.

Sometime between the ages of 15 and 16, I would guess.  Maybe even before then.  Perhaps it was it when you started with the teen-tude or buried yourself under texting and Facebook.  Maybe it was when you started rolling your eyes or put your emotions on permanent lockdown when I went off on my “informative lectures.”

My love started to fall under the guise of teaching you the “rights” and “wrongs” of life and somehow I made you feel less than the perfect person you are.  You did things your way, but it wasn’t enough.  I wanted more from you, but I didn’t take into account that you had your own issues to process – issues you came into this world with, along with the normal, everyday teenager stuff.

The only difference between the issues you and I are processing is that yours are new and mine are old.  Yeah.  Mine go waaaay back, but I’ve been flinging them at you when something set me off, and I didn’t realize that until just now.  I reacted with anger when you showed me lack of respect.   Feelings of worthlessness screamed when you ignored me when I talked.  I felt inadequate when, even though I gave you 200%, you complained about it and still wanted more.  That’s all recycled stuff from a different decade, bleeding from my past into your present.

Whether intentional or not, I had ignored the distinct sound of disconnection when you tuned me out.  I fought hard to pull you close when you fought hard to push me away.

During that battle for control, I believe that is when I forgot to show you that I love you.  As a writer, I should know this one.  I could tell you I love you until I’m blue in the face, but it won’t have the same impact unless I put action in place of those words.  When you stand four inches taller than me, I see the man you are becoming, but forget that you still respond better to hugs than to words.

Today you take your pretest in Tang Soo Do, and after that you are only a few months away from your black belt.  You could never have gotten this far had you not been determined, focused, and talented.  You are a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn’t be prouder of you.

So now I will start once again to build the bridge between us.  I’ll teach my lessons through examples and laugh a heck of a lot more.   I’ll be sure to draw the line between my issues and yours.  I’ll untie the cord around your waist and give you room to stretch your wings.  Not that this gives you a carte blanche to do whatever you want, but this will allow you express yourself and be who you need to be without my issues holding you down.

I hope that by letting you go, you’ll find your way back to me.

And I promise…I’ll remember to never forget.

Your biggest fan,

Mom

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About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on August 26, 2011, in Family, Personal, Relationships, Teenager and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. This is a beautiful heartfelt post from a Mom who so clearly loves her son it hurts. I’ve been where you’re standing right now. The rope around the waist? I thought I was the only Mom who visualized that rope and felt the way you’re feeling now. How validating to read these words. I have tears in my eyes.

    These are the teenage years… we forget that they are difficult for everyone involved. One thing I can say with certainty…your Jesse is going to be just fine.

  2. They grow so fast, don’t they? And they change almost daily. My son is a few years from his 16th birthday, but I already see how much his personality changes and how difficult sometimes it is to communicate with him, getting to him and understanding his behavior.
    I’m sure, despite how you feel today, you have this special Mother-Son connection. It might be buried under everyday stress, chores, work… but it is there. Be patient. Listening is often more productive than lecturing ( I know from experience). Good luck, my dear. I will be thinking of you two.

  3. WOW!

    I am simply…blown away…

    Beautiful…I cried!

  4. Truly heartfelt Diana. I remember the teen angst years and how I just KNEW my mom didn’t understand me (or care to). A letter like this would have done wonders. When kids get to college, they realize how much they don’t know and communication gets better once the crazy teen hormones leave.

  5. Hugs for you and your son.

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Being a mother is the hardest, humbling, and happiest jobs we will find.

    Enjoy your precious gift!

  7. You put it so beautifully. As moms we love our kids so much, but sometimes get lost in the process of mothering. I understand where you are more than you’ll ever know. Well, maybe someday I’ll have the courage to blog about it like you’ve done.

    You are truly an inspiration. I think your son knows this.

  8. You made me cry, Diana… in a good way. You expressed the heart-tugging angst all good moms feel at some point during the teen years. It happens when our child is no longer a child but not yet an adul, and he just knows that he’s always right and mom and/or dad can’t possibly be. It happens when he rolls his eyes – those beautiful eyes into which we looked when he first entered the world! – at the wisdom his parent is trying to impart to him. You’ve had one of those “insight leads to transformation” moments, and I love you for sharing it.

  9. I wrote a similar letter to my son a few years back. As hard as we try to get it right and do it better than our folks did, we inevitably pass our baggage along. I guess the gift is in recognizing it and making amends before It’s too late. He will remember that letter for a very long time and it will make him a better parent when its his turn.
    P

  10. Diana, I hope your beautiful sentiments found their way to your son’s heart. Obviously they came from yours. Thank you for that.

  11. That was incredibly beautiful, and I hope your son feels the same way. 🙂

  12. Once again have brought me to tears! You know better than I do, that the contrast you are feeling is growth. Yes, Jesse is growing into a magnificent young man, and we are all so proud of him. But my dear cousin, let me point out the growth I see in you; from the wonder mom who has spent the last sixteen years pouring her soul into her children- to the beautiful, inspiring artist who is following her dreams! By fullfilling your purpose in life, by dancing to your own drum, by spreading your wings and flying as high as you can possibly fly, you are expanding and evolving into your highest potential! One day, mark my words…your boys will say, “Yeah…that’s my mom. She has inspired me for as long as I can remember. She’s an amazing woman.”

    Thank you for being so authentic. It is so refreshing to read your writing. xoxo

  13. Beautiful, Diana. He never left. Boys(men) always and forever love their Mom! Saying the words isn’t easy but it comes with learning.

    Having trained 7 years in Tang Soo Do and with two sons who are blackbelts I know the mind set and the fortitude it takes to attain this goal. Be proud and know he puts more heart into his family than might show. And you too see that pushing doesn’t work- hugging and love is the answer!

    Great letter!

  14. Beautiful, Diana.

    When my daughters were navigating through those years, it dawned on me that when they were the most difficult, they were having a bad day of there own, and needed my love and support. And at 16, the teaching was done. No further lectures would add to what I had already taught them. Guidance and rules, yes. After every infraction, we dealt with it and started fresh. No stacking of infractions! Clean slate. My arms stayed open to pick up the pieces of their decisions gone badly. They already knew why. I found those years the most challenging and the most precious, both for them and for me. They were not responsible for validating me. Nor was I responsible for validating them. The freedom from judgements is sweet to this day.

    Enjoy your challenge, and your son is a lucky man.

  15. And lest anyone thinks I didn’t depart from the above “plan”, I did. I think all mothers bring their baggage into their mothering … how could we not? It is part of what made us who we are, what we like, and what we find objectionable.

  16. Hi Diana,

    This is my first visit to your blog. Absolutely loved your post. Very moving. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of motherhood. I can’t imagine a single person who cannot relate to your letter. Your son is going to keep this for a very long time.

    Best,
    Suma.

  17. Oh man, parenting a teenager is hard–and yeah, sometimes we have to be able to admit when we’ve made a mistake. Which is NO FUN.

    Hope you and your son have smoother sailing ahead.

  18. Whenever you feel like things are out of control and you feel another rant come on you with your children….Stop! And read this blog post to refocus. This is beautiful and will remind you of your best intentions for them, but that they are fast approaching their own destiny and there will be a point where you will need to let go of them to choose on their own.

  19. Love this–it is such a good reminder for me.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I’m happy you were able to take something from it. I still slip back into old habits, but at least I’m aware. *big sigh* Everyday is another chance to get it right.

  1. Pingback: Sons and Moms; Growing Pains « Kathleen Mulroy's Blog

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