“Letters from Mom”

Mom wrote me hundreds of letters and would often send me greeting cards with snipped comics or articles from newspapers or magazines she thought I'd enjoy.

This was a two-page letter written on a standard yellow legal pad. On the back of the first page, at the top and in the margin, mom wrote Sorry About the Envelope, Love!, underlined with a flourish. The envelope has long been lost, and I can’t even imagine why she’d have apologized about an envelope.
The second page is close to blank but for a small note in the center that reads: “P.S. This is my great American Novel Paper” with a heart drawn below her perfect Palmer script.

I’m not really sure where she was that someone was telling her to write letters to her kids; I’m guessing it was some sort of group therapy session or something at a Church function. And for the life of me I can’t remember who “Father Jacko” is.

Now that I’m a parent myself, reading letters from mom in which she talks about parenthood are loaded with entirely new meanings and my perspective has shifted dramatically and seismically.


They asked us to write letters to our kids, telling them how much we love them and trust them and support them and that we’ll always be there for them.

I guess it’s nice to say it in a special way. I’m hoping you already know.

In light of the last couple of weeks, maybe you think I don’t trust you. Well, I guess things have changed between us and inside each of us. I think the changes are for the better. I’ve learned that trusting you is different from expecting you to always tell the absolute truth (not that that’s not a nice goal). Rather, it’s trusting in you, in who you are and what you will be. Your revelations weren’t so horrible and not much of a surprise. That you care so deeply and desire to be at peace is not much of a surprise either. If anything, your new vulnerability makes you even more lovable.

Father Jacko says you like to keep things on an intellectual plane and he’s right. It’s so much safer there, less chance for hurt. And you carry around so much hurt, my love.

Those things you did tell me you’re angry about being hurt, that you have enough fight in you to rebel. (I know, I know — you’re just checking things out. That’s true, too). I guess what I’m saying is that I’m learning that you’re going to be okay. Maybe better than okay.

David, when you were born, actually even before, you changed my life. That I could be part of the creation of such a wonderful creature still awes me. (Flaws included, of course.) I know you’re special, gifted, in a lot of ways, not the least of which is just being David Vincent Gagne.

You don’t have to do anything else or be anything else to earn my love, my liking, my respect. You and Jenny are my best friends, the most fun I’ll ever have, a challenge, a promise, a reward, a joy. (You should be so lucky as to ever experience this!)

I wish I could do everything for you like I used to. I can’t. You’re doing almost everything for yourself now. But, if you need me, I’m here, always, in any way you need me – and with joy.

I want you to have what you want. I’ll always work for you to have you need — and I’m not talking about a single, material thing here.

I don’t know if I’ve said what they expect us to say. I just let me heart wander a little. I always come back to I love you.

I love you David,