Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dear Lucien

I visited some friends a few nights ago that sparked the idea for this letter. My friend and I worked together at a restaurant. We both lost our jobs over a year ago when the restaurant closed down. It has been a struggle in this economy for both of us since then. I was seven months pregnant when I was laid off, and my friend has a felony charge. It has been difficult, but not impossible to find work.
My friend, on the other hand, has been unemployed for a year. She is not trying as hard as she could, and unfortunately her situation has plummeted. She has lost her home, and has been staying with her thirty year old daughter and her two granddaughters. My friend also has custody of her seventeen year old son and sixteen year old granddaughter. Furthermore, she is taking care of her eighty year old father, and all four of them have moved in with my friend’s daughter.
The two teenagers were angry when I went over to visit the other night. They wore angry, frustrated expressions on their faces, never smiling. These are not the teenagers I had experienced several months earlier. I cannot blame them for being angry. As parents, we are supposed to provide stability for our children. These two teenagers are being failed, and they are forced into an uncomfortable situation because of their parents own irresponsibility. I cannot blame them for being angry, and I believe I would feel angry in that situation as well. I can only hope this adversity helps them strive to be self sufficient as soon as they can. I can only hope they use this experience to stay driven to succeed beyond this lifestyle.
When I got home from there the other night, I was inspired to write this letter to my own son. I am at a crossroads in my life, and I have made mistakes in the past. Since my son was born, my life has changed so much. I am now striving to make the best life I can for my son. I know I will make some difficult decisions, but I know that everything I do for the rest of my life will be with my son’s best interest in mind.

Dear Lucien,
You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. A year or so before you were born; I was drowning in a sea of confusion. I had made so many bad decisions that my life had become a mess. As I started to pull myself out of the mess, I got pregnant with you. I want you to know that you have saved my life. You have given me hope again. For the first time in many years, I see a world of possibility.
And all those possibilities lie within you, my son. It is now my job to make those possibilities a reality. I want to provide you with everything you will need to be happy and successful in anything you do.
I am starting my life over, going back to school to provide a life for you. I know that I want to be able to provide for you all by myself if I have to. I promise you that you will be given every opportunity to be the best you can. You are so smart and already have so many talents, I promise to nurture those. I promise to always be a constant in your life.
I promise to keep you from harm. I will not take you to places that may not be safe for you, such as a house where people smoke inside. I will not take you to a place where there may be dogs that could bite you, or where you cannot play safely. I promise to provide you with good company, so that your friends are good influences. I promise to keep you away from guns and drugs and violence.
I promise to provide you with stability. You will always live in a place with no danger of being kicked out. I promise to buy a house as soon as I can, so that you will grow up in a nice neighborhood with good schools nearby. I promise to keep the water and the electricity on. And I promise you will always have enough food, and we will sit down to dinner together as much as humanly possible.
I promise to help you with your homework, and nurture the importance of education. I will teach you to read voraciously, and hopefully you will inherit my love of books. I will help you to get good grades, and will provide money for college. I promise to instill in you how important a good education is to one’s future.
I promise to provide enough for you to be able to play sports, go to summer camps, and take whatever kind of lessons you want. If you are musical, I promise to buy you the instruments you want and the lessons you need. If you are an athlete, I promise to provide you with uniforms and the chance to play sports competitivly. If you are into science, I will provide you with all the equipment to conduct your own experiments and the chance to attend Space Camp if you want. I promise to provide for you with the opportunity to explore any interest you have.
I promise to make a big deal of your birthdays, for that is a day to be celebrated…the day my life changed forever…the day I was given the greatest gift…the day your precious life began. I will save for months to get you the gifts you want. And I promise we will have parties for you. You can guarantee your grandparents will be a part of the celebration as long as they are with us.
I promise to give you the opportunity to have your family close. I want you to be as close with your grandparents as I was with Pop. I want you to know that you have so many people who love you to pieces. You will never be denied the opportunity to know our family. I promise we will visit your grandparents who live farther away as often as we can. I promise that your grandparents and aunts and uncles will be as much of a constant in your life as I am. I promise you will be surrounded and supported by a loving family.
I promise to provide a positive atmosphere that a child can flourish in. I do not want you to grow up around negativity or prejudice. I want to surround you with people who are constantly learning and growing. I promise to keep you from people who are stagnant or who may be involved in dangerous situations. I promise to do my best to help you become a happy, successful young man one day.
I know that there will be times you will not be happy with some of the decisions I make. But, I want you to know that I make all of them with your best interest at heart. We may not always agree on things, but I will always love you and want what is best for you. There will be times when you will just have to trust me, and I know a time will come when I will just have to trust you. I pray that you and I will always be as close as we are right now.
I also know that you will grow up, and soon you will not be reliant on me for everything. As your first birthday approaches, you are becoming more and more independent. As much as I sometimes wish you could stay this little and precious, I am excited for you to start growing up. I cannot wait until you can talk or to read. I cannot wait to see you play in your first soccer game, or ride a bike. I am excited for the days when you may win the science fair or start your first band. There are so many things we have to look forward to, and I want you to know I will be right here cheering you on. I will always be your biggest fan.
My mother, your Maman, has always given me unconditional love. There were many times we did not get along and I was sure her intentions were just selfish. As I have finally grown up, I look back and see that she always had my best interest at heart. I was just too young and stupid to understand or listen. I pray we do not go through that, but I know every parent and child goes through this on some level. I promise to love you unconditionally, and to always be there for you. I promise that no matter how big you become, you will always be my son. I promise to always love you.
Son, you are so beautiful as you lie next to me right now, peacefully sleeping. You have so much potential, and you have renewed my life. I promise, my dear son, your momma will always do right by you. Your momma will always be here for you, and I will provide everything you need. I promise, my son, you will be kept from harm as long as I can. You will be raised in a safe and nurturing environment. Son, I promise to be the best mother I can possibly be. The lord has blessed me with such a beautiful gift, I promise to cherish you always.
Love, Your Mother

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