An Open Letter to My Children


In keeping with my recent spate of epistolary posts, I’ve decided to send some love to the kids in the form of an open letter:

Dear Kids,

Though words cannot adequately express how much I love you, there are a few things I wanted you to know as you develop into the fine young people I expect you will become:

  1. When you ignore my repeated exhortations to “GET UP and GET DRESSED” for 20-30 minutes and refuse to participate in any apparel or meal planning, chances are you’re going to be late for school.  When this happens, it’s dangerous for you to say things like, “Jeez, mom!  Why do I always have to wait for you to get ready?” or, “Why are you always the LAST one out the door?”
  2. The night before an assignment is due is not the best time for you to let your parentknow about the assignment.  (Relatedly: This is not the best time to present a list of supply demands that includes items as varied as: Styrofoam balls, Peeps, corn starch, and “solar panels”.  Fountain Hobby is only open until 5, you know.)
  3. While we’re on the subject of random building materials, please understand that requiring you to find a reasonable space to contain your collection of empty toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and two-liter bottles is not an attempt by me to “quash your creativity”.
  4. Calling me a “big jerk” is not (and will never be) the way to ensure that you’ll have a piñata at your birthday party.  Or, really, that you’ll even have a birthday party at your birthday party, if you know what I mean.  (It will, however, ensure that I call my best friend to ask, “What do you think she meant by ‘big’?”)
  5. While I appreciate that both of you are wordsmiths when it comes to creating new scatological references, please know that my tolerence for hearing them has reached its limit.  If you intend to continue to find exciting new language for bodily functions, you will be speaking it aloud into the bowl of the toilet as you scrub it clean.
  6. And, lastly, when plans change or a “maybe” solidifies into a “no”, I have not lied to you.  I have lied to many, many people over the years and have probably lied to you in ways that will leave you embittered as an adult (I mean, the odds are against you becoming a rock star/movie star/President of the United States, no matter how hard you work in school).  Because I know when and how to skirt the truth, I don’t need to waste my time “lying” to you about whether or not you can have your friend ride the bus home with you: if pressed for a premature yes/no answer, I will give you a tentative one based on probability.  Probability Theory is a branch of Mathmatics that is beyond your comprehension at this time, so if I were you, I’d just stop bugging people for decisions before they are ready to make them.  Then you won’t feel betrayed, see?

I hope these little tidbits (and their larger implications) will help us navigate the choppy waters of pre-adolescence.  At the very least, heeding these words will prevent you from losing time on your beloved DSi/Wii/iPods

With all my love,


(This blog was originally published on the Charleston Daily Mail’s Mommyhood blog.)


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