Family

Dear Dad, I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well. I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman. First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing. Because of pornography, I was...
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Dear Pa, I know you care deeply about many issues, especially social justice. You’re tired of wars, you’re ashamed of the attempts to destroy social programs in this country, you hate seeing the unions that helped you as a worker provide for our family get dismantled by wealthy CEOs whose only goal is to make themselves and their cronies more wealthy. These are noble things to believe in, and values that you’ve instilled in your children. But you probably don’t often consider how you select and digest (and frequently, share on Facebook) the stories that you’ll accept as true. This is called cognitive bias–sorry, that’s a terrible article for a layman, but I’d be happy to discuss next time I’m home. Anyway, the bottom line is that the beliefs you already hold prime you to accept...
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Dear mum, I often ponder the story you told me long ago, of when you upped and left my biological father when I was just 6 weeks old, with little more belongings than just the clothes on your back. You’ve repeatedly told me that the reason you left is because you didn’t want me to grow up in a violent household. You chose not to stick with a familiarity that you weren’t happy with. You don’t know what was beyond the cliff but you knew I couldn’t be as bad as the life you knew then, so you jumped. You knew stepped into an abyss with a fully dependent baby girl with very little security and no idea what was coming around the corner. I think about that huge act of bravery a lot, these days. You had me at a younger age that I am now, bearing more responsibility than I do now, yet you knew...
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Dear Parents: On behalf of your friends without children, I’m officially serving notice that you suck at being our friends. We respect and admire you as parents, and we support your decision to have a family. However, we feel that once children entered your life, you stopped being the friend we thought you were. We have been shuffled to the bottom of your priority list, and our calls have gone unanswered. You broke up with us, abandoned us for another, and frankly, we’re a little miffed. I know, I know. We just don’t understand the challenges of parenthood. Trust me, I’ve heard that argument before. For the record, I’ll stipulate that we the childless cannot know exactly what it’s like to be parents, but we’re still educated, intelligent, aware adults and thus capable of forming...
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Dear Son/Future Apple Employee, I’ll admit it: things might have been different if you were a first child. But, alas, that wasn’t your lot. Technically speaking—and the emphasis is definitely on “technical” here—you are my fourth kid and in the interim of raising your older brothers I have learned a thing or two. Like, for instance, the existence of boundaries. It’s been all well and good for me, this newfound sense of entitlement: to five minutes’ peace when I want it, to the entirety of my own breakfast, to arms free from the weight of your body at certain moments of the day. But for you, I’m afraid, there is only loss. Because you see this 2.31 by 4.5 inch rectangle with a picture of the forbidden fruit on its back? You know, the one you pine for endlessly? Well, it’s mine. Mine,...
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Dear Ex-Fiancé, Sometime last summer I contracted an infection in my left hand. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Probably something along the lines of: “That didn’t happen,” or “Classic Dramalie,” or “Are you talking about your eczema?” It happened. My feelings are valid and I’m not being insane, exaggerative, weird, or any of the other cute nicknames you’ve given me. I resent that most of my spare time is occupied defending my sanity to you and others. Yes, after we broke up I almost eloped with a stranger and then five minutes later had a difficult time explaining to him that I wasn’t ready to call him my boyfriend. And yes, on more than one occasion I have expressed an interest in giving up all of my vices—yet every time you see me I smell like a drunk tobacco factory....
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Dear Grandpa, I never knew you. You died when my dad was only a small child. And truth be told, I never really thought of you. Until now. I think about you every time I log in to check my bank account and am prompted to verify the first name of my paternal grandfather. I’m ashamed to say the first time this happened I had to think hard to remember the answer. That’s how little I thought about you. But now I am forced to reconcile with your memory every time I go to check an overdraft or transfer from savings. Over time this began to condition me to think of you in a negative light. It was Pavlovian. Every time I typed your name I would immediately be shown how poor I am. I began to resent you. What kind of name is “Espy” anyway?! But then I realized how unfair of me it is to place all...
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Dear Son, Every woman tells the story of her labour, just like old men regale youngsters with their exploits in the war. It’s our mothers’ privilege. So here’s mine. I know you’re not interested, but tough. Here goes. I was just a kid and scared witless. I made out I wasn’t, but I was. My mother warned it wouldn’t be pleasant. And it wasn’t. I laboured with you for twenty two hours; my contractions were five minutes apart from the first two hours, and then four minutes apart for nearly fifteen, then three minutes for what seemed like forever. I didn’t think it would ever end. And you know what? It didn’t really, because after I FINALLY delivered you (with the cord around your neck no less – freaking us all out on top of that!), I then only got to sleep in ten to sixty minute...
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Dear Ex-Husband, When I saw you in your driveway yesterday, at our routinely scheduled pickup time, it occurred to me suddenly that I have not seen you naked in almost two years. I know that my face must have conveyed the relief I was feeling at this revelation, and I’m sorry I lied and said I was distracted by the dog. I was actually distracted by your penis. I am just trying to be honest. I figure this is important now, since it’s something neither of us could manage to do while we were married. So in keeping with this new philosophy, there are a few things I things I think it’s important for me to say to you. First, I am sorry. I am sorry that we promised ‘forever’ to each other when we had no concept of what ‘forever’ meant. If there is fault in that promise, it lies in...
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Dear Pastor, Tone can be tricky in writing. Picture me popping my head in your office door, smiling and asking if we could talk for five minutes. I’m sipping on my diet coke as I sit down. You know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind, part of the reason you love me (mostly!), so I’m guessing that internally you brace yourself wondering what might be next. I set my can down and this is what I’d say. A few years ago I sat across from a woman who told me she doesn’t go to church on Mother’s Day because it is too hurtful. I’m not a mother, but I had never seen the day as hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day. This made me sad, but I...
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