Posted on August 21, 2013


dear silly monkey –

what the heck happened to you?! you’re all… tall and sporting leg hair! and i’m pretty sure you have a mustache! i can only surmise you somehow fashioned a time machine and zoomed us all into the future b/c there is simply no acceptable explanation for the fact that you are, well, in second grade. it clearly does not make sense. at all. to me. but i digress b/c here is today and today is the first day of second grade.

so, just like every letter before, and in typical mommy fashion, here are three things i would like to apologize for:

1. i’m sorry i made you wear shorts that kept falling down. i’m also sorry for using a binder clip as a makeshift belt/safety-pin. i’m even more sorry that some of your schoolmates saw your undies (but in all fairness, they were pretty cool lego star wars undies. so, y’know, no harm, no foul). had i been a little more prepared for the idea of you growing way more UP than OUT, i would have asked you to try them on prior to this morning. but, given that i bought them almost two years ago, i really didn’t think there would be an issue with fit. mama was wrong. sorry, dude.

2. i’m sorry i gave you too many last-minute instructions – special snacks to locker, stickers to teacher, get an extra handbook, blahBLAHblah. sometimes i have to realize these rushed, last-minute reminders are much more frustrating than helpful. i’ll dial it down.

3. i’m sorry i poked you in the eye when trying to remove the 8” long eyelash from your face. it was an accident & quite frankly, i can barely see your face with your caterpillar lashes blocking most of it. next time you say “i can get it”, i’ll just let you get it, even though you totally were not getting it, which is why i accidentally poked you in the eye while trying to get it. but next time… i promise.

and here are three things i want you to remember, forever:

1. it does not matter whether you are in school or at home playing jelly jump, the day you stop learning is the day you may as well put on sweat pants and give up on life (when you’re old enough, i’ll share the seinfeld reference with you). so, yes, you have to learn today. and hopefully, you will learn everyday for the rest of your life. each and every “aha” moment you have will leave a lasting impression in your mind – these make up life’s greatest memories.

2. it’s totally ok to be serious from time to time. it’s reasonable to use a normal speaking voice, too. trust me; you are way cuter when you don’t act like a rabid monkey. plus, girls don’t really like the guy who can’t have a conversation without fake farting. girls generally like the good guy who makes them laugh when appropriate. and by appropriate, i imply not in the middle of quiet reading time. one day, you’ll get it. and when that day comes, you’ll thank me, profusely, for this piece of advice.

3. no matter the mood, the day or the weather, even after i no longer have life in me, i will always be your number one fan. conversely, i will forever be your mother before i am your fan. i retain responsibilities to you that do not require me to be pleasant, keep my voice down or experience sympathy when you are held accountable for poor choices. but recognize in every consequence you pay, every grounding you endure, there is a lesson to be discovered – the greatest of which is… we are not what we desire or where we travel. our “who” is rooted in what we stand for, the values and ideas that shake us to our core and the measures we articulate because of them. as your mother, and your biggest fan, i will never let you compromise the “who” in you.

and then, of course, there’s all this mushy stuff to say…

being a kiddo isn’t easy. you’re still decently new to this world and everything seems so much bigger than your comparably little self. but ponder this… it’s not painless to be a grown-up, either, particularly a mommy to a very, very strong-willed and clever boy. being a parent is a challenge with rewards that can’t be seen, spent or eaten. sometimes my job feel thankless and sometimes it can feel like a jackpot win. my point is this; you are not the only one who questions whether “right” will lead us to a better outcome than “wrong”. i do, too. you are not the only one who wants to scream when things don’t go your way. i do, too. you are not the only one who wonders if he’s the best he can be. i do, too. you are not the only one who needs reassurance that you are doing everything you can for the people you love. i do, too. the only difference between you and me is i have already been a kid, but you have yet to become a grown-up.

i once dreamt of conversing with an astonishingly handsome architect. he owns an incredibly lucrative architecture firm, which he founded with his little sister, a few years after obtaining his graduate degree from columbia university. consequently, he earned his undergraduate degree from cornell university, so obviously, his mother is tremendously proud of her double ivy league graduate. unsurprisingly, at the most arduous points of his journey, he became frustrated, discouraged and almost gave up. but, b/c his mother gave him the love and support he needed to keep moving forward, he kept moving forward. and in the end, he realized every bump along the way made him stronger, brighter and more determined to succeed in a world where the shortcuts in everyday life make it very easy to just sit down and fade away. to thank her, he built her the house of her dreams, something he promised to do when he was just three years old. at the end of our dialogue, he hands me a set of keys, tied with a yellow ribbon, and says, “i love you, mom”.

i dream big for you, silly monkey. i always have and i always will. but, i don’t dream big for you b/c i neglect to consider your feelings by setting standards so impossibly high you become discouraged in ever achieving your own goals. i dream big for you b/c i know you can accomplish anything, anywhere and with anyone, b/c you dream big, too.

b/c how much do i love you? to the moon and back… moon and back… moon and back.

i love you with my whole heart. more than anything else in this entire world. and i could be no prouder to be your mama.