In all honesty, I thought I was going to die while laboring in that maternity hospital twenty years ago. Braving pain has never been one of my virtues. I was told in my younger years that giving birth would have me screaming for mercy to all the saints up in heaven. Well, how right they were. Nothing could be further from the truth. But then, during those fateful moments when I was on the verge of bringing you out into this world, Life was also about to bestow upon me its sweetest gift.
I am certainly not a paragon of an outstanding mother. One of the chief purposes of this blog is for me to come clean about being just another average living soul who goes through life with no immunity to life mishaps and who keeps on committing monumental mistakes along the way. A broken soul with deep flaws who conceals emotional scars in order to move on gracefully. A single mother who’s got perpetual misgivings over her parental skills. Someone who has had shortcomings too disconcerting to disclose here.
I never had much chance to narrate my life stories to you. But I’m sure you already know me very well. We’ve been through a lot. There are no more indispensable secrets left to be told. You’re the only person I’ve allowed to see me crumble when confounded by job intricacies or business problems that threaten to annihilate our livelihood. There’s been more than a few occasions when you find me with nary an ounce of emotional strength to cut the Gordian Knot on pressing matters. Not to mention the agonizing affairs of the heart that has had your mother trudging in the dark. Oh how I wish there remain certain things I let unknown to my son.
Surprisingly, you’ve turned out to be a magnanimous person. Your unassuming manners, your ingenuous way in dealing with life, the way you handle crisis with better equanimity have all rendered me proud and in awe of you. People have told me they just couldn’t find a mean bone in your body. Time and again I get concerned by your innocent grasp of this literally mischievous world we live in, fearing you might get taken for a ride. With absolute certainty, I profess that you are a far better human being than I could ever be. What made me deserve this much felicity for having you as my child?
Your mother has not been the religious type for several years now yet you managed to find your way, cultivating and maintaining a healthier relationship with God far more than I have. You even told me half in jest long ago you had wanted to become a priest, which got me responding with apprehension “No no.. You’ve got to get married and give me grandchildren! I desperately look forward to seeing my grandchildren with you.”
A husband I can do without. You already discerned that about your mom. You also never had a real father figure as you were growing up. It has been only you and me all these years, without another male figure majorly factoring in our lives. I am happy you seem to have turned out fine. Very much fine in fact. You’ve also heard people keep on asking me ‘why not give marriage another chance?’ There had been times when I asked myself ‘why couldn’t things be just ideally right? Is it them or is it me really?’ The answer doesn’t matter anymore. A flagrant truth that took some time for me to face, I am not wife material after all. Taking into account my highly sensitive nature as well, tending to and loving a man who ends up not meeting the crucial touchstones just isn’t worth it. I find myself repeatedly on the losing side. Relationships entail hard work. It’s something I’d rather not devote my energy and heart to given the not so abundant time I have left. Please do not think though your mom has lost faith in the beauty of earnest love or relationships.
I guess you’d want to see me happy in love again. Through the years, you’ve witnessed my ups and downs in the name of romantic love. Romantic love is beautiful. Quite true. I want you to have that for good with the right girl someday. I’ve a feeling you’ll do far better in this department than I did because of your much more beautiful character. You simply deserve to garner the highest splendors of life.
You might not know this but I had wanted to give motherhood another chance long before reaching my 40th birthday some years ago. I seriously considered the notion of having another child for the more important reason of giving you a brother or a sister. I worry that you’ll be alone when I’m gone. After serious consideration though, it dawned on me that that would mean complications to both our lives. You would have to help me look after your younger sibling who’s got a different father. Not a good idea. I couldn’t imagine putting you through such a circumstance. Besides, I wouldn’t want us to lose our prospects to take things a lot easier in our futures to come. No need to deny that. And you seem to be alright with the setup “it’s just you and me, kid’ I’m relieved.
Sometimes I wonder how we’ve reached this far and how things miraculously turned out okay for the two of us. We’ve made it through somehow. God has been really good.
Do you know the very best part of my day? Hearing your key unlock the door and seeing you quietly entering the house as I welcome you into my arms, thankful you’ve come home to me safe and sound.
Though our constant togetherness exasperates both of us at times, we’ve acted more like a team. On the whole, our simple life has engendered a certain kind of equilibrium that I hope has worked to your advantage too.
Our relationship is far from tumultuous although not without critical imperfections. I had wanted you to be different from your father and me. What a huge blunder on my part. Please let me explain.. Stuff that metaphorically crippled your parents for life is something I hadn’t wanted to pass on to you. The reason which could only be my desire to see you living a life a hundred times better than the one I have had. Conflicts ensued between us as a consequence. A weak cause and battle I must have lost even from the very start. It goes without saying there are things inherent in life that can never be altered.
The times when I felt your pain because I had hurt your feelings, I still remember. You shed tears you couldn’t hold back anymore. You love me that much I know. Let me ask for your forgiveness this time for all the anguish I had brought you. What you may not know is your pain caused me the harshest of heartaches too, for I’ve no desire whatsoever to lodge any disharmony between us. I wish I could go back in time to reverse my offenses and undo the hurt.
A long stretch of the future is still ahead for you. Many things are bound to happen in your tomorrows. One hard lesson we’ve got to carve in our minds and souls – there can be no sure thing on this planet. Everything is destined to evolve. Even our strong bond can be headed for a surprising transformation in years to come. Nothing is certain. It isn’t much different from the oversight of not choosing a better father for you. I honestly thought at that time ‘what could immensely go wrong?’
Such a fool was I then for not knowing any better.
But for now, I’m fully blessed to have you as the main person in my life. My emotional fulcrum.. and the truest love of my whole existence. Life without you is just unimaginable.
The stars will burn bright for up to millions of years, but no words can ever measure up to how much I want to hold you dear to my heart. And if there’s such a thing as forever, your presence is all I need to see me through.
Thank you for bearing with me.. Thank you for the joy of being your mom.
Thank you so much for the love you have given me.
7 thoughts on “A Letter To My Son (This Life’s Sweetest Gift)”
What an incredible love letter…your courage is a-m-a-z-i-n-g; your prose uncluttered. Really good. Dan
Thank you for your generous praises, Dan. I originally set up this blog to dedicate to my son. He hasn’t read any of my posts yet. Perhaps someday he will.
Again, I wish you the best in your new job. Work is always good for the soul.
With admiration. Marj
You know best when the time is right for your son to read your blog, but I can’t imagine a wrong time for him to read this beautiful post. There is nothing remarkable about the fact that you’ve made mistakes in your life. We all have. Your willingness to admit them, and so openly, is part of what makes you special — as a writer, a person, and a mother.
Charles, there’s one thing that’s scaring me these days. The fact that my son has witnessed some of the afflictions that took place in my past might have scarred him too. He has gotten too absorbed in his studies and now brushes away topics about him getting married and having children someday. I want him to know it wasn’t that bad but I still have to find the best way to impart that. How I hope my fears would prove to be unfounded.
Since my younger years, there has never been an attempt on my part to hide what’s really happening in my life. Many people are not comfortable doing that for themselves here where I live. But I’ve never had a problem letting others know I don’t lead a fairytale existence. It has served my psyche well.
[…] The Boston Rd Men’s Club – a personal memory This entry was posted on September 20, 2012, in About Me, New York City, The USA and tagged Advertising Collectibles, Amoco, Arts, Boston, Boston Post Road, Bronx, Filling station, Gas and Oil, Gas Station, Lukoil, New Jersey, New York City, Recreation, Shopp. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment I wrote something a while back I am editing it and sending out for publication. Tell me what you think. I was inspired to dig it out again and send it by my new homey marj. Check her out. I’m not just saying that because she thinks I am a beyond cool (who could blame her), she is also a great writer check out this post: A Letter To My Son (This Life’s Sweetest Gift) […]
How did I miss reading this before? It is beautiful. I love how you say that he is your emotional fulcrum. Great piece.
The truth is I got that lovely phrase from a People mag article where the writer described the adopted child Maddox as Angelina Jolie’s emotional fulcrum. I thought, “That’s the best way to describe how I felt for my son, too.”
Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. I am looking forward to your next blog post, by the way. I hope you and your children are doing quite well.