1st Letter 2 My Son And His Response

I know you may not want to hear this but: I know you’re in a really crazy place in your life right now. I’ve never been in your shoes before (exactly where you are…about to leave the only home you’ve ever known, with your sister and me, to go off to college), but I know that you’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I’m so proud of you for all the effort you’re making to try and be grown-up and responsible. I really am. I know you don’t feel like I am right now but I truly am more proud of you than you know. I’ve heard praises from your employer about how great your work ethic is and it has been extremely impressive to watch you start to move about your life more like a man: to go out and get a REAL man-job, buy big, steel-toe-man-boots and leave here everyday with your little cooler; to know the pride you must feel to be able to help me out financially and do things to support your family.
I’ve listened to the things you’ve been saying to me and I’ve heard you, “son”. I understand why you feel like I haven’t really taken much notice of all the great big, grown-up things you’ve been accomplishing. Here you are, my first-born baby boy walking out of the house like a grown man every morning to go stand in a FACTORY all day long and I’ve acted like it was, basically, nothing. Here you are, all squared away for college because of all the work you’ve done and you do deserve a lot more credit than I’ve given you. You’ve always been so good at taking the initiative and putting things into motion in your own life. You went to “that private high school” for that one year ALL because YOU took the initiative to find out about it and find out what both of us had to do to make it happen. All I basically had to do was fill out papers, show up when I had to and put some money down. You did all the real work. You’ve always made my job easier, as a mother. It’s been the same way with college, too. All I did was call “the basketball coach for your college” to make sure he could come to see you play. You did EVERYTHING else. I never had to explain the process to you. You took the initiative and found out everything YOU needed to know to make it happen. Again, all I’ve had to do is fill out papers, show up when I have to and put a (really small) amount of money down!
I’ve noticed you, son! I promise, I have! If I’ve failed at showing you that recently, it’s only because I’m human. It’s NOT because I’ve ever believed (for even a millisecond) that you’re NOT the ****!!! Please believe, there has never been a moment since you came into my life that I haven’t known how MUCH of a blessing you are, as a son and as a human being. For the most part, throughout you and your sister’s lives, I feel I’ve done a sufficient job at encouraging and supporting you both. Maybe the reason why you’ve been feeling somewhat like I’ve abandoned you lately IS because you’re about to leave home! I’ll admit, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, son. You have to remember, no one has taught me how to be a mother. I’ve always only been winging it. You keep reminding me that it’s time for me to let go; that you’re growing up; that you’re not a little boy anymore. And, sure as ****! You’ll be walking out that door in a few, short weeks. So, I’ve been trying to “let go.” Letting go is usually something I’m pretty good at, actually. But, you are my son. It’s not the same. I don’t know how. I know that I can and I am but, the way I’ve gone about doing it has been a bit faulty because I don’t know how. With other people and things, it’s different. I’ve gone from one extreme to another with letting go of you. I’ve gone from clutching you to my bosom to practically turning my back on you because, I don’t know… I figure “letting go” means I can no longer participate in your life or your decision making processes. So, in order to avoid interfering and give you the time, space and freedom to go away, I’ve just said and done nothing. There has to be a happy medium and I promise I will find it.
This is a tough time for both of us…for all of us. Every single one of us is being confronted with the “Great Unknown” on a daily basis. We all know our lives are about to change DRASTICALLY when you leave the house but none of us really knows what it looks like, feels like, what it’s really gonna be like. This “not knowing” is really contributing to the tension between us, I think. We don’t know how to respond to the situation because we don’t really KNOW what we’re responding to, yet. But, we’ll know soon. You’ll move into your new (temporary) home and we’ll all get a good taste. We’ll all know what it feels like and looks like. We’ll KNOW what it is so we’ll better be able position ourselves to respond to it. It will no longer be “unknown.” You’ll learn that, no matter how many new homes you may have throughout your adult life, no matter how temporary or permanent any of them ever is, that you will always have a home with me and your sister, wherever we may be. As you continue to grow and expand the geographical circle of your life, so many questions you must be having now will be answered for you. And, it’ll be good. You’ll begin to see how everything fits all together….the life you’re “leaving” and the new life you’re creating. Over and over again you will experience this process throughout your life. It’s what living is.
But, for now, please know that you’re not alone, son. I’m here. I’m here loving you, watching you and ready to help you in whatever way(s) I can and to step back and let you do things on your own. Please forgive me for not doing much to help make this transition easier for all of us, especially you. I really feel like you’ve been communicating to me that you feel like I’ve been failing you. In many ways, I agree with you. But, it’s not because I don’t honestly care about doing the right thing, especially by you and your sister. It’s been a combination of me being so unsure of myself and taking it for granted that everything is always so easy for you to handle….and, I’m only human, completely imperfect.
The thing about family that’s so beautiful is the unconditional love. In other relationships that we have, it’s not so easy to love each other that way. Things get in the way…things like pride or selfishness…a lack of forgiveness. People can afford to let things get in the way with each other. It’s not the same with family. You never love anyone the way that you love family: UNQUESTINGLY, unconditionally, without choice.   It doesn’t matter what the person ever does, what decisions they ever make, how many countless ways they disappoint you or get under your skin. It’s a holy love. It cannot be touched or tarnished. This is the love I have for you and your sister. It’s the love you have for me.
As your mother, I feel one of the most important roles I’ve had to play in your life is that of “teacher.” It’s certainly one I’ve taken deathly seriously. For, I’ve always believed, if I could teach you about love and the things that are really important in life that you would both have a solid foundation to take with you out into the world; a foundation that would make you better equipped to lead fulfilling lives. In order to teach you, I’ve had to utilize a fair portion of authority. It’s the nature of a teacher/student relationship and is unavoidable. I will never stop being your teacher. I understand that it’s time for me to step back, now, and let you make your own decisions, whether you wind up falling down, or not. I have to allow you the freedom to choose for yourself. But, I will never stop guiding you. And, you will never stop learning from me (just as I will never stop learning from you and “daughter” or from being your mother.)
I do not doubt what you are capable of accomplishing in your life, “son”. I never have. If I’ve experienced and/or expressed doubt, it’s doubt in myself; disappointment in myself. It’s guilt for all the things I didn’t do right in your life; for all the ways I’ve damaged you. It’s me kicking my own *** cuz I just know I could have done things better and, what if I didn’t give you enough? What if I’ve failed at the most important job I will ever have? That’s what it’s about. It’s personal. As a parent, I should have a handle on this stuff, I guess. Maybe it’s something that the children of “better” parents never have to deal with because their parents protected them from it.   But, one thing I know for sure is that trusting myself, trusting my own judgment, intellect and intuition when it comes to you kids has NEVER steered any of us wrong. It’s when I doubt myself and my instinct that things start getting screwy. Deep down inside, I know you know that. And I know, for a fact, that you understand the value and importance of respect. You’ve grown up to be a very respectful young man. That’s why the blatant disrespect you’ve been showing me is so intolerable. I see no reason why we can’t stretch and grow together without compromising the integrity of our mother/son, teacher/student relationship with all this disrespect. It’s okay if we have arguments and/or disagreements. It’s okay if we get upset with each other. We’re trying to work through some ****, right now. That’ll happen. But, it can happen without you crossing the line, “son”. And, in my opinion, there’s no reason for it not to. Not only is it a necessary respect, it’s a respect I’ve actually earned.
As part of the closing of this letter, I want to apologize, from the deepest part of my being, that you heard me calling you a “*****” over the phone. My stomach turned to ice when you told me that. Please understand and believe that it wasn’t a malicious comment. I can imagine that it must’ve felt pretty malicious, standing out there listening to it but, I was just venting. That whole day was crazy. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to make things so nice for you. I’d been working on making a nice party for you all summer, with the yard and everything. I was feeling pretty ****** that it turned out so different than what I had planned. I wanted SO much more for you. It was down to the last minute and I hadn’t even managed to get tables and chairs to the house for people to sit on. I was devastated that you didn’t want to help me but, all the anger and hurtful words wasn’t about you. You’re not a *****. I never have looked at you like that. It’s just a word. I’m sorry you had to hear it. I’m sorry I hurt you with it. There’s a price to pay for the privileges of being grown-up. You have to take all SORTS of grown-up responsibility for yourself. Part of that means realizing that you have the ability to hurt me, as well, “son”. 
You have more than pleased me. I more than approve of you. I trust you’ll forgive me for being human and forgetting to show you that over the passed couple months. I also trust that I’ve taught you the right things; that (while you continue to break away from me and become your own man) you will make an effort to do it with more respect because I know you deeply care about doing what’s right.
I’m starting to get anxious to get you off to college. The tension and excitement just keeps growing and growing and, I know when the day finally arrives, it’s going to be humongous!!! Holy crap! It’s gonna really be like we’re in a movie! Between that day and this, we should all just really try to focus on loving each other. Okay? Everything’s gonna be fine, son. You’re gonna be GREAT at being in college, at being a man. You’re already off to such a great start…..
I love you.
You say that you have never been taught how to be a parent, but honestly nobody is ever taught how to be a parent. Parenting is an instinct, being a good parent is reacting to every single situation in a way that will provide the most positive outcome. Yeah it has only been a couple months of this treatment, compared to 18 years, but it really has affected me a lot. I have known this whole time that you are having emotional issues with me leaving the nest, but I always thought that you would handle it better. What has been making me so upset with everything has nothing to do with the yelling, or the regular mother stuff, but the showing of total unapreciation for me and my actions. I feel the same way you do about me deserving all that I am receiving, but it feels like you have been holding that against me. I am not a full fledged man yet, I am definitely still learning. I learn something everyday about life. When you haven’t acknowledged all of the things that I have been trying to do it hurt me tremendously because I was putting forth all this effort unnoticed and unappreciated. I know that this is a crazy process to go through but why has it, at any stage of the progression been negative. This is a time to be happy and create certain memories for ourselves. All we have been doing is creating negative memories. You say life is all twists and turns and you never get what you expect. This is all true, life is an endless rollercoaster, but the key to managing it all is to set your expectations to the side and just live. Take every moment, positive or negative, and make the best of it. Worrying and Expecting are life killers. They consume you and tear you up. I just have to live and the same with you.  I know that I have also been talking to you in a tone that I shouldn’t be talking to you in but I have been so frustrated, and I am sorry for doing that.
MysticWriter MysticWriter
36-40, F
3 Responses Aug 18, 2006

You should let your son make love to you. This will make you close forever. Your love will grow. You are both adults. Only good will result. Good luck.

Mystic lass, My Apreciation of ya , already high took a giant leap reading this. It really took me back, that is such a hard time between a young man and his mother.<br />
It is indeed a sheet that must be torn and he will look on it differently as time goes on. he sounds so bright and there is obviously so much of ya in em as well. <br />
My mother tried to explain the first born business to me once when I was up in the air about her obvious higher standard of expectation for me once. It just seemed unfair. Ya are so obviously a grand MoM. He is a very lucky young man ta have a Mom who cares like ya do. <br />
Whatta gewl,<br />

Wow. This is incredible. Thank you for sharing this with us. <br />
What a wonderful relationship y'all share.