I read this beautiful “Open Letter to my Son” and it inspired me to write one of my own for you expressing my own hopes and wishes for you.
From the very moment I knew I was going to be your mother, up until this exact moment with you snuggled up to me on the couch, I have wanted nothing more than to see you happy. I only want to see you smile, and to help guide and mold you into the great man I know you will one day become. I often question what can I do to ensure you grow up to fit in by societal standards, without sacrificing who you truly are.
I’ve made so many mistakes, and clung to so many wrong beliefs and ideas for far too long. I followed the silliest rules that made very little sense to me my entire life, but I never asked questions. I never strayed. I sat down, and did as I was told, I believed everything that was force fed to me. I suppressed my curious, and defiant nature, and I robbed myself of a happy life full of freedom by doing so. Why? I just wanted to fit in this world just like everyone else. I wanted to “normal”, and a key to true happiness. I could fall into place, and be a normal girl, as long as do exactly what the world expects of me. It would be easy, I’ll just have to graduate high school, go to college, find a good Christian man, graduate college, marry that good Christian man, have his babies, raise those babies to fit into that same mold, die, and then go to heaven. Maybe, or maybe I’ll waste my entire life worried about where I’ll end up after death, and miss out on all the experiences, and beautiful love this life has to offer, only to find out that I’ll no longer exist in any form at all after I die. That would be an absolute shame. As far as we know for sure, we only get this one shot. I wasted way too much time, trying to fit into a mold that was much to small for me.
I never want you to feel chained to mine, or anyone else’s beliefs or ideas of happiness, and success. I don’t want you to be suffocated in life, believing there is only one way to live this this in order to be happy, or successful. I want you to experience your own life in every possible way, I want you to find your own happiness, and come to find a higher power based on your own personal understanding of God. I want you to experience peace, and security, and I don’t want you to find yourself full of regret, wondering why you wasted time trying to adjust to societal expectations, instead of creating your own, and living a life that brings you joy.
I’ll never forget the day I found out I was going to be a mother. I was pretty surprised to see that other pink line, followed by a little bit of panic, but those feelings were immediately replaced by this huge, and overwhelming love for you. I had never experienced that kind of love, it was a deep, and true love that I would give anything and everything for, including my own life. I hadn’t even met you yet, and I already loved you with such an intensity that I thought my heart would just explode. That was a little over four years ago. I had no idea what I was going to do, and finding out I was having a little boy, made me feel even more uncertain. I grew up with sisters, I knew zero things about little boys, honestly, I didn’t really know much about kids in general. I was good at about two things, showing up late, and drinking. I was quite under-qualified for ensuring the survival of another human being. I honestly had it in my head that God was making a conscious decision not to allow me to reproduce.
God has a funny way of reminding us how little we know, or even understand. I always appreciate those little nudges. I hope one day you will too, they will serve you as a reminder to stay in the moment, and never get too caught up in making plans. Take time and allow room in your life for the unexpected, even if it’s not always ideal. There are moments to be treasured, and so much value in the lessons you will learn.
You are my favorite unexpected treasure, the day I met you was the best day of my life. Every moment I spend with you is so full of love, and excitement. We’ve come such a long way, and share so many wonderful memories, and so many more to make over the years.
So, here is what little wisdom I have to offer you, my own hopes, wishes, and dreams for my perfectly sweet, and sour little boy.
In the open letter, the mother begins by asking that her son always choose to be kind, that sometimes, it may be very difficult, but he should always be a beacon of light in even the darkest of moments. Such wise words, and I love how it was the first thing on her list of hopes and dreams for her young son, because I feel like it is the most important. The world needs kind men. I know you’re well on your way to becoming a kind man. You are already so thoughtful, and selfless. Even in your young age, you’re always considering others. I hope you never lose that, and I hope I can continue to effectively nurture that sweet side of you, and encourage growth in your willingness to serve and give to those around you. I believe that kindness is the most important ingredient to happiness. Not just for your own, but your kind actions will touch the lives of others and bring joy to all those you share it with. I’m a strong believer in what goes around, comes around. Whatever positive energy, and kindness you put in, will reap positive benefits in your life. Whatever negative energy, will do the same.
Next brings up another wish that I absolutely love, she reminds him he should always respect women. My wish for you, is that you respect ALL human beings, but especially women. We’ve come such a long way in our own country, there’s still much more progress to be made. Woman are still objectified, taken advantage of, and extremely underestimated and undervalued. In our culture, women are held to standards, set by men, that are either unattainable or unrealistic, greatly succeeding in making women feel less beautiful, insecure, and unworthy. I hope you’re able understand one day, how truly important it is that you treat women with dignity and respect. Always look for, and acknowledge a woman’s qualities outside of external appearances. Praise her mind, and her strength, and always treat her as an equal. Treat all the women in your life with the same respect you would give me. I have absolute faith in the man you will grow into, you have so many strong women in your life to help guide you.
“Work hard. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Your father and I will want to give you everything. There is nothing sweeter than spoiling your children with the things they dream about having. BUT we also know that confidence and a feeling of self-worth are earned from working your way up the ladder. The best night of sleep comes after a long hard day of work.”
Yes, I want you to work hard. The things in your life will hold much more value if you work hard, and earn your own way; But, there will be people in your life who are less fortunate, or may not be able to do things for themselves. You may at some points find friends and loved one in a time of need. It is important to never look down your nose at anyone in need. Help them, give them that free lunch, and don’t complain about having to pay taxes, appreciate that they may be going to someone who needs it more than you do. I believe in a strong work ethic, and taking care of your own responsibilities, but I also believe in lending a hand, and taking care of those in need.
When it comes to God, I hope that you choose to believe in a higher power, and I hope you explore the spiritual aspects in life. I find that hope, and belief in things unknown maintains my sense of wonder. It’s comforting to believe there is something waiting for us after death, or that maybe there will be a chance to discover the true meaning of life. I will never force my own beliefs on you, because I believe that your relationship with God, is between you and God. It’s your spiritual journey, and its personal. People will try to force their views on you, it may happen more often than not, but when discussing God, or any Religion, always be respectful of other people’s beliefs. You will come across deeply religious people, that have strong held beliefs against families like ours. You will come across members of our family who have those same beliefs. I know it will hurt, when they say those things about your family. Try not to argue, and try not to be angry with them, instead, have pity for them. They will spend the only sure life they have sacrificing relationships, and the little time they have on this earth, in favor of a ticket to heaven. People cling to their religious bigotry, and out dated ideas out of fear.
Which brings me to my next dream for you, don’t live your life in fear. There are so many things I wish I’d had the courage to do. I lived in a constant state of fear, and I missed opportunities that I may never get back. Don’t let fear run your life, you will regret those missed opportunities. Don’t let fear of rejection, discourage you from taking chances. Don’t let fear of failure, keep you from trying. Don’t let fear of the truth, keep you from seeking answers. Don’t let fear of inadequacy, rob you of your confidence. Never let fear of consequences, lure you into dishonesty. Don’t let fear of heartbreak, keep you from falling in love. Don’t let fear of being disliked, mask who you truly are, and don’t let fear of the unknown, turn you into a bigoted asshole. Keep any feelings of fear in check, and never allow them to overpower and cripple you. Be courageous, even when you’re doubting yourself. Facing your fears will give you the power to overcome them.
Things are going to happen in your life, and some of those things are going to feel like the end of the world. You’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to experience failures and plenty of let downs. On those days when you do feel like your entire world is turning upside down, you’re overwhelmed, and feel ready to give up, know that you will never have to face those things alone. I will always do everything I can to support you in your hardest times. I have created, and survived plenty of my own disasters in life, and I am pretty certain I’ll be well prepared, to walk you get through all of it, every step of the way. The most important things I’ve learned from my life’s messes are, to allow yourself forgiveness, allow those who wrong you, your forgiveness, and never sit too long in regret or self-pity, it’s unproductive. Learn from your mistakes, understand your part, take responsibility, and make things right.
Try new things, play all the sports, kiss all the girls, and put your whole heart into everything you do. Take trips, fall in love, fall in love often, and with everything. Ask lots of questions. Talk to me. Challenge me. Challenge anything you believe to be wrong or unjust. Grow your mind, and keep it open. Look at all points of view, and try to understand and respect other people’s personal views. Practice manners. Be truthful. Take showers, and brush your teeth twice a day. Learn to recognize when it’s time to speak up, and when its time to shut up. Trust your instincts, and always do the right thing. You’ll never be too old to love on your Momma. Don’t try to grow up to fast. Practice integrity. Be patient. Be considerate, and give grace.
Do things that make you happy, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’ll never owe anyone your happiness. Your dreams, are my dreams for you, wherever your big heart takes you, is where I want to see you go. My ultimate dream for you and your life, is that you experience a full life of satisfaction, and without limitations. I hope to see you living your every wildest dream, and not looking back with any regrets. Be exactly who you are meant to be, cherish the people you love most, and enjoy the amazing experiences this world has to offer. The love I felt for the first time the day I became a mother, has grown so much over the past four amazing years, you are so much more than I imagined you would be. You’re smile, and laugher is infectious, your cuddles are the best part of my day. You surprise me daily with how quick you catch on to everything, and how you figure things all on your own. It blows me away that at 3 years old, you have such a kind and giving heart. Watching you become the smart, and funny young man that you are growing into, brings me more happiness that I can express, your very existence makes my life a million times brighter, and I love that I get to be your Momma. There’s not much in this life that I feel insanely proud of, it took me a little bit to start getting things right, you are my pride and joy, and my whole entire world.
I love you to the moon Clayton Kade,