Friday, August 1, 2008

The Gift: An Open Letter to My Kids

Let's get it out in the open.
Things have been different lately.
It looks like I'm here,
but my mind is somewhere else.
You're acting out.
You're used to having Mommy around,
nursing every wound, making ice cream sundaes,
listening to every run-on sentence steam-rolling through your charged-up, little brains.

I love being that mom to you guys.
I gave up a twenty year career to be that mom.
I wanted to see for myself what I was hearing second-hand from the nanny.
I wanted to see you grow up.
And I have never regretted my choice.
(Ok, temper tantrums and bratty behavior don't count.)

So here's my gift to you.

No, it's not an IPod.
No, it's not a cell phone.
It's a lesson.
Yes, a lesson.
Now, shut up and listen, dammit.

Mommy's grow up, too.
Yes, even mommy's as old as me.
It's one of the cool things about life.
You keep growing and changing until your very last day.
But for adults, growth isn't measured in pounds and inches,
it's more a mental thing.
Like when you think you know all there is to know about math,
only to have your teacher introduce long division.

You see, that trip I took,
that "blogging thing",
jarred something loose.
Something that laid dormant for a long time.

Thinking back, I can recall hints of awakening.
A slight yawn here, an oxygenating stretch there.
But this trip splashed cold water on the face
of my yearning.

My need to be ME.

Not just the me who is your mom.
Me, the writer.
Me, the wife.
Me, the friend.

As an adult, life gets overwhelming.
We get buried underneath the weight of too many priorities.
Like choosing between mint chocolate chip or jamoca almond fudge.

It's easy to do lots of things,
impossible to do any of them well.

To tackle this problem,
I have a solution.
I'm putting myself first.
At least SOME of the time.

Selfish. Definitely.
Shocking. I bet.
Bad mommy policy. I think not.

You see, if I don't do this now,
I may never do it.
These past few weeks have taught me that,
you can bury your dreams,
hibernate and adapt.
but like a bulb in spring,
your passion will always manage
to push it's way through.

So, aside from teaching you good table manners,
and not to pick your nose in public,
this is one of the most valuable lessons I will hand down to you.

It's good to be selfish.

Not hoarding all the Oreos kind of selfish,
put yourself first kind of selfish.
Because if you don't,
no one else will.

This took me decades to learn,
I'm saving you precious time.
Because before you can say,
"my mommy is soooo old",
you'll be as old as me.

Yes. Really. You will.

I'll try to be patient as you both adjust
to Mommy's new world order.
Just remember,
in the theater that is my life,
you two will forever occupy the front row.
Only now you'll have to make room for me.

Yes. Really. You will.

*photo courtesy of Google Images


ByJane said...

Oh I love this. And I'm scraping it right up to put on MLB. Thank you....and I'm glad to read it 'cause this is one person who wants more of the Fran she met in SF

Lynn - the piggy bank painter said...

Oh I hope you are going to blog about how you do this. Put yourself first, wow. I have NO IDEA how to do that anymore....

Maybe I should take a lesson from my teenage DD....oh, I could start acting like her and see where it gets me. Hehehe. Might be worth it....

Florinda said...

I not only love what you said, I love how you said it.

You won't be sorry, and down the road, your kids won't be either.

AMomTwoBoys said...

Beautiful. Lovely. About damn time.


Connie said...

Wonderful post!

I have learned to do things for myself and I love it. I probably don't do as much as I should but I try.

Manic Mommy said...

One word: HOW?

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

Or at least this tired mommy.

I don't regret being home for a minute but God, how I long to meet myself again.

Insane Mama said...

This is so beautiful both the words and the lesson, too many people get caught up in their kids and forget themselves completely

Dawn said...


And manic mommy, I know how you feel.

apathetic bliss said...

Just to reiterate what everyone has already said....this is beautiful, touching, and resonates deeply. The realization that we can still choose what and who we are going to be when we grow up.

Librarian Lee said...

Absolutely perfect. Thanks!

Headless Mom said...

Ok, can I just link to you? You keep writing what I am thinking, and do so much better than I could.

Good N Crazy said...

Nice picture...

Nice thoughts. And what? Are we planning a job change? Back to the rat race, or just allowing yourself to enjoy the blogging thing more?

Kristen said...

this is awesome.

Z said...

Such a great post, and such a great thing to remember... Good luck with your new world order, and I hope you love the new "me" you re-discover!

Maggie, Dammit said...

Nice, dude.

And they'll be better kids for it, I bet. You'll be a better mom for it, I know.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

And your kids might not like it sometimes, but that's because their selfishness will be battling yours. - - En Garde!

kia said...

This is awesome! This is a lesson that all moms need to learn, asap!! I've learned it to a certain degree, but I've still got some learning to do. I DO know though how much better a mom I am when I'm a happy person. When I'm happy to be me.

Thanks for the great reminder!!

Good Enough Mama

Hill Country Hippie said...

Boy, I remember like it was yesterday the day my kids finally realized there was a new world order in our household. I had gradually been letting them do more and more for themselves, since I had discovered a passion for gardening and gone back to school to study horticulture. One day one of the kids, who was about to head off to college, told me they needed a dental appointment. “There’s the phone, and there’s the address book,” I replied. They stood there with mouth agape, hands on hips, then finally sputtered out with “What’s with this ‘making us do stuff for ourselves’ kick you’re on?” “It’s called ‘allowing you to become an adult’, Babe!”

reneedesigns said...

I'm working on this too. If you figure out how to do it, let me know.

Good luck.

Karen said...

I love this post--you put into words much of what I've been feeling. Of course, if you also figure out how to put this new you into practice, please let me know. . .I still can't figure it out.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

After reading the blog post on blogher, which included your comment and link - I had to go and put my piece up about trying to find myself ... because I hadn't even realised that I'd lost myself ... just that I was very angry and very frustrated ... and very lost!

The link to my article is here

Carving out time for your self is a good start ... and making everyone in your family realise how important it is. Writing a list of things that you love, have loved, or wished that you had have done ... and creating opportunities to experience them (write a list so you don't forget!) I still struggle with this - I fear I'll struggle the rest of my life because there will always be that terrible fear that I am being selfish.

I need an upgrade with a whole new set of beliefs.

I also enjoy reading 'Simple Abundance' by Sarah Ban Breathnach everyday - each days inspiration and very sensible essays that always get me thinking.

I've subscribed to your blog so looking forward to seeing you in my inbox on a regular basis :)

©2010 All rights reserved. Reproductions of any portion of this website only at the express permission of