Letter to a Mother

This is a letter from a mother to her childless friend who likes to hold impractical social events – like her wedding. It is soppy and whiny and entirely too long. So here it is in all its tear-dripping glory and my response – as a non-mother because apparently cats don’t count. 

See the original at www.mothering.com

Dear Friend,

When I received the invitation to your baby shower, your wedding, your engagement celebration, your birthday, my heart swelled with love for you. It swelled with excitement, with yearning to go. With wanting to be there for you. Then it cracked into a thousand pieces and fell to the floor when I learned that my children couldn’t come.

I wanted to write you a letter to explain why. But I didn’t, because that would make your event about me and my family when it’s supposed to be about yours.

So I sent you my regrets and my love. My congratulations, and my sadness that I couldn’t be there for you the way I wanted to be. And I talked about how excited I was for you. And I truly was. I danced away from giving reasons because I didn’t want you to feel bad, but I didn’t want to give a reason that seemed foolishly small. I tried to let you know that I loved you, that I wanted to be there. But that I couldn’t.

Then I cried.

I wanted to tell you that I was so sorry. That I tried to come up with a way that it would work. That I tried to find a babysitter that I trusted near where you were so that I could duck out to nurse the child that wouldn’t take a bottle yet. That I tried to figure out if we could afford a hotel room nearby where my toddler with separation anxiety could play with dad while I celebrated with you. I wanted to tell you all these things so that you would understand that I wanted to be there. But that would make it about my plans when it was supposed to be about yours.

I wanted to be there.

I couldn’t make it work.

I wanted to tell you that I’m so sorry that I’m not able to be that kind of friend for you right now. That I’m sorry that I’m putting my children ahead of our friendship. That it’s for a short time only, just these few years. That I’m so happy for you, and that I wish that your happiness had come first before my own, so that I could have been there with you the way that I want to be.

But I bit my lip and sent you my regrets and love and hoped that you would understand the unspoken.

I’m not that kind of friend right now. I’m a different kind of friend, now. I’ll be there for you in all the ways that I can.

I’ll be there to chat at 1AM when you’re a new mama and scared. I’ll figure out how to come to see you when you’re having a hard time getting your baby to latch on, and I’ll show you everything that I know. I’ll help you move your things to boxes and load them into the van while my children run and play and my baby naps in a sling against my chest. I’ll be there for you if you and your husband are fighting. I’ll come to the ultrasound that your husband can’t make it to, and I’ll hold your hand if something’s up and you are scared. I’ll tell you that the choices you make as a mama are excellent ones, even if they’re different from my own. I’ll come and watch your kids for you so that you can take a shower.

I’m that kind of friend now.

My love for you hasn’t changed. My life has. Just for now.

I hope you know that and i hope you understand.

<3 – Me

So here is my letter to a mother

My dearest and most beloved friend

I fully and whole-heartedly accept your lengthy and heart felt apology. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to write this, but being a mother is the world to you. I respect that.

I am so grateful for the understanding of how important my wedding day is to me and that you don’t want your life choices to impede on that. My wedding is meant to be the best day of my life, so I am sure you can, once again, understand that I want it to be perfect and I can’t take the chance that your delightful child might disrupt my ceremony. If only we didn’t get just one take for the video. I know that it would not be their fault and it is unfair to expect them to sit through something so tedious. It’s hard for a mother to control her tired and board children.

I understand the need for you to keep your child close. Separation anxiety can be a hard thing and, although your children will have to learn to be apart from you, you will want to keep them as close to your side for as long as possible before letting them out into the world.

I will remember in future to give you more notice about my upcoming events, so that you will have enough time to find a solution for locating a suitable carer for your child. I had really hoped that my ‘save the date’ would have sufficed. At least this shouldn’t be too much of a problem with future birthdays.

That said, the tick in the ‘unable to attend’ box was incredibly disappointing and brought tears to my eyes – I had worked so hard on the seating chart, and not having you with me, for even a few hours of this one evening, broke my heart.

I want you to be there. I want to make you special and acquiesce to your request, but it would have been unfair on every other mother who had asked the same thing.

And it with all this in mind that forgive you for everything – even this unnecessarily long, passive-aggressive email designed to emotionally blackmail me.

Ever yours
me ❤ ❤ ❤

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