By Jeanne Eisele of Sippy Cups and Booze
Dear mother who abandoned her son,
I wanted to write you a letter, but I wasn’t sure who to send it to. Your son doesn’t even know where you live. I’m the mother who has been caring for your son the last several months after you flew him out, from Texas to California, to live with a father he had never met. A father who wanted nothing to do with him the moment he walked off the plane. The father who spent most of your son’s life in prison.
I want you to know that at seventeen years old, he is terrified and unsure of the world around him. He has been living on friends’ couches until there were no more couches to sleep on. I just thank the gods he found us when he did.
Where would he be if we hadn’t? Would you even care?
I want you to know that he is doing great his senior year of high school. Did you know he has straight As, in spite of what he has been going through? Did you know that although you do not answer his calls and ignore his pleas on Facebook, he still doesn’t hate you? That he probably never will. I can’t say I would ever be so forgiving.
I am the mother who makes sure he has a place to call home.
My family and I have welcomed him as one of our own, making sure he has food and a place to rest his head—because you haven’t.
I am the mother who nursed him back to health when he had the flu last month. His temperature was over a hundred, and he couldn’t keep anything down.
I don’t understand how a mother can abandon her son while starting a new family. Do you look at your new baby and think about how you have discarded his brother? Does your new husband even know you have another son out there? Do you even comprehend how scared and alone your beautiful son feels? I guess not, since you have neglected the fact that as a mother your one job was to care for him and be there when he needed you most.
It took your son almost a month to feel comfortable enough to come home from school without my son being home. Did you know he wanted a shower but didn’t want to use our water? He hadn’t bathed in a week so he started sneaking them in at 2 a.m. before I finally told him this was his home, which meant he could shower without permission.
A child shouldn’t have to worry about where he is going to shower next.
I hear him trying to contact you. I hear him begging you, with the crack in his voice, to pick up so he can hear you—his mother who doesn’t care. He loves you and just wants to share what’s been going on in his life and hear about his new baby brother he’s so excited about.
I am amazed at how well rounded and kind he is despite what he has gone through. I am shocked that even with the homelessness he has had to cope with for the last two years that he is still able to do so well in school. Did you know he wants to go to college? Did you know that he has thought about the military just so he doesn’t need to depend on others?
Just because he is 17 that doesn’t make him a man.
My husband and I are the ones who stepped up to do the job you were supposed to do and it breaks my heart. I am angry and want you to see what you have done to the child who doesn’t deserve a mother like you. I have taken over the job of making him feel safe after two years of him not even knowing if he would find his next meal.
It shouldn’t be a young boy’s job to find his own food.
Do you know how many times he slept at the school at night because there wasn’t a bed close by? I do, thanks to my son.
I may not know the whole story, because although he gives me small tidbits into his life before, he’s too embarrassed to admit that the one person who should have cared for and loved him has shunned him.
Have you ever felt unwanted?
I have weaved most of his story together from other moms and teachers who have tried to help. I still can’t forgive you for turning your head and pretending to not know him.
I have a hard time calling you his mother, because mothers don’t give up on their children.
When was the last time you heard him laugh? I hadn’t heard it until last night. It wasn’t forced like he had done in the past when he was just trying to fit in with the family. This time it was deep and contagious. We all laughed with him until our sides hurt. He has a lifetime to be an adult, but you have forced him into adulthood before his time, and I just can’t accept that.
It was today at the eye doctor that he finally came clean. It was at that doctor’s office that my eyes began to leak when he confessed that he was waiting for us to kick him out like everyone else. It was today he admitted he didn’t understand why we were being so nice when he hasn’t done anything to warrant it.
A young child shouldn’t have to prove himself to be loved; it should be automatic.
It was me who explained to him that although he has had a raw deal in life, that doesn’t make him unworthy of success. It was me who pleaded with him to try and let the past go because we were NOT going to push him away, that he needed to breathe and accept that things will now be better. It was time for him to be a kid and enjoy his last year of high school. He has prom and senior pictures, grad night and graduation. So while you live in Texas and forget about the boy with the big blue eyes, we will be here cheering him on. We will be here to encourage him to keep going when he has wanted to give up many times.
As angry and frustrated as I am with you, I need to at least thank you for what you have given my boys. I want to thank you for teaching them that not all people are good. Not all parents put their children first. I want to thank you for showing my boys that compassion for someone else is far more rewarding than beating that video game they wanted so badly. I want to thank you for showing my boys how to open their hearts and home to someone who needs it, without expecting anything else in return. I just hope that if this letter ever finds you, you will realize that boy of yours is darn special and deserves the same things in life that all children deserve, especially a loving mother.
The mother who will take care of your son because you decided not to
About Jeanne Eisele
Jeanne Eisele is a tattooed, foul-mouthed, mother of eight boys and a wife to the ONLY man with the energy to put up with her crazy antics. She has been known to sling words on her blog Sippy Cups and Booze. You can also find her at Twitter and Facebook.