Letter To My Son (To Be Opened When You’re Older)

Dear David,

Despite our best precautions I see that you are not adjusting well to the separation. My clue to this is that you tell me you hate me roughly three times a day, and while I know that it’s not true (you don’t really hate me) and you always apologize, I’m getting the idea that you just might be blaming me for something.

You have been alternately enraged, self-righteous and teary, you would think that I had broken up with you.

When you get a little older you will understand many things that you do not now. I mean, you don’t even know about sex yet, how can I even begin to make you understand everything about marriage. Shit, I just turned thirty-nine and I still don’t really understand what went wrong. But I will tell you one thing that doesn’t help, and that’s you acting like a menstruating female. (I know you’re not so clear on this concept yet either, but trust me, you will be and then you’ll be mentally marking off calendar days like every other male on the planet.)

You see, at a certain point one has to accept that life is not the way we think it ought to be, and I’m sorry you have to have that realization at eight years old, but think of it as a head start over your more conventionally-homed peers. Those kiddoes are going to have a hell of a time after college.

Look kid, the whole marriage not working out thing is tough for everybody, I too have repeatedly cried into my muesli about the naiveté of thinking daddy’s and my relationship was going to last forever. I’m sorry we couldn’t make it work. But nothing has essentially changed in my feelings for you, I adore you and your brother, and I know I complain a fair bit about motherhood (and that’s only the stuff that’s within earshot) but believe me you kids have saved my life. You guys remind me that I have to keep soldiering on when I least feel like it, because of this perverse need you have to be hugged, and driven places, and fed and stuff.

I’m terribly, terribly sorry that I didn’t wear more lingerie for your father, or think of sending you guys to some kind of day camp so we could have more time alone together at home, or find any of the solutions that hindsight stabs me with daily. As you get older people will say things to you like “Everything happens for a reason,” and “G-d only gives us what we can handle” and “Buck up camper” and while those things will make you want to punch the sayer in the mouth, there is also a shred of truth to these homilies.

Take it from me, life sometimes feels like it’s not worth living, but this has very little to do with external circumstance. The truth is that happiness is an inside job, it is generated from within by your contact with your own soul and spirit and your own idea of G-d, and while it seems like mommy and daddy are the all powerful rulers of your universe right now, we are really more like the man behind the curtain at the end of The Wizard of Oz; desperately pushing buttons and levers and trying to look like we know what the fuck we’re doing, but really just stumbling through the day like you. Please try to pay attention to the man and the woman behind the curtain.

So I hope you will forgive me. I know you’ve already forgiven your father but that’s because in the aftermath of all this he has taken you on more trips and done more fun stuff with you while I have been relegated to the not so fun stuff like “Do your homework” and “Get your feet off the dog” and “Stop throwing ice into the living room.” But I swear if you give me another chance, while I will probably disappoint you many, many times before you finally reach adulthood and are old enough to disappoint yourself, I will also continue to love you unconditionally through any mess you get yourself into, no matter who is responsible for said situation, you can count on me.

I promise that the first time you’re ever kissing a girl, or the first time you ejaculate into a lube-filled sweat-sock you will instantly understand that us humans lose our heads over this shit, and while I hope you don’t think about me at exactly that moment (that would be weird) I hope that later reflection reminds you that your dear old mom did the best she could, being human and all.

I love ya,
a.k.a Mommy
a.k.a Mom
a.k.a Daddy’s ex.


  1. My friend went through a dreadful separation. His children hated him. Now years later the one who was the most difficult at the time has the closest bond with him, whilst the one who seemed most understanding is still not over it. Hang in there. I did suggest at the time he keep a diary of how he felt about her and how much he thought of her so when she got sense he could show her he never left her. I suppose that is what you are doing here.

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