Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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An Open Letter to My Kids

Posted on May 8, 2011 by Lisa Ricard Claro   23 Comments | Posted in kids · mother's day

Happy Mother’s Day!

The following is a column I wrote for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that was published Mother’s Day 2008. Since it is as relevant for me now as it was on its publication date, I thought I’d share it with you. Wishing everyone a blessed and peaceful Mother’s Day!

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA)
May 11, 2008
Section: Gwinnett News
Edition: Main; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Page: J5

MY VIEW: Dear beloved offspring: You all turned out to be incredible
Happy Mother’s Day to me!


For the Journal-Constitution

This Mother’s Day, instead of waiting around for the requisite phone calls and flowers, I decided to write a letter to you, my darling offspring.
First, let me say that I would not trade you for anything. Each one of you has brought a joy and a light into my life that I can’t imagine living without.
You are unique individuals, and your lives have already touched the lives of others. I have seen the positive impact you make, and while I am proud of you, I take no acclaim for your accomplishments.
A very wise woman once told me that parents accept more credit for their children’s successes — and failures — than they have a right to. That wise woman was your Grammy, and when it came to being a mother, she was an expert.
So based on her advice, I will not take credit for your successes, nor blame myself for your failures. I will do what my own Mama did. I will stand by you no matter what. I will cheer you on, offer advice when you ask (and try to keep quiet when you don’t), applaud when you succeed and help you see the lessons in failure. I will be here for the good and the bad, the glorious and the sad. Always.
You did not come with instructions. I have long believed that each baby should pop into the world with a waterproof bag duct-taped to his or her behind, and it should contain a “How To” document. Each of you has responded to different types of discipline; you have individual preferences for everything from food to receiving and showing affection; you are different in the ways in which you developed, and in the ways you choose to communicate. How can three children born of the same two parents be so different?
Oh, yeah. A set of instructions would have been a real treat. Still, we made out just fine. Even without the “Raising Kids for Dummies” reference manual, you turned out to be incredible human beings. I guess it just goes to show that God knows what He’s doing, even if your parents don’t.
Also on this Mother’s Day, I need to thank you for all the things you have taught me along this journey we share. Here are the top five:
1. My mistakes are not your mistakes. Just because I made a poor choice when I was 14, or 21, or 26, does not mean that you will make the same poor choice. You don’t have to repeat mine. You will make plenty of your own.
2. You know yourself better than I do. I may know you second best, but you know yourself and what makes you comfortable, and I need to respect that. Bear with me while I practice backing off.
3. You do not view everything the same way I do. Just because you grew up in my house under my tutelage does not make you a mini-me. Bear with me while I practice backing off.
4. I do not always understand your decisions, but I do try to respect them. It may not seem like it to you, but I promise, I really do try. It isn’t always easy. Bear with me while I practice backing off. (Do you sense a trend?)
5. The path I think is the safest and the best may not be the one you choose. You have your own reasons, preferences and needs that do not always fit into the slot I want them to. I get that. It has taken years, but I really do get that.
I could go on and on. The three of you have taught me more than I could have learned anywhere. We’ve had our ups and downs. We have been through some rough times, and a kajillion-billion happy ones.
That is life. That is love. That is what we have been blessed to share. The light just keeps getting brighter.
Thank you for giving me a reason to celebrate. I love being a mother, and one thing is certain — I couldn’t have done it without you!
Happy Mother’s Day to me!
(copyright 2008 Lisa Ricard Claro for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution)

23 Responses to "An Open Letter to My Kids"

  1. Comment by Kristin
    May 8, 2011 at 8:56 am  

    You have three fabulous kids, Mama Claro!! You definitely should be proud. I love what you wrote. Happy Mother's Day! <3

  2. Comment by jabblog
    May 8, 2011 at 9:14 am  

    What a lovely post and what super looking young people:-)

  3. Comment by Dazee Dreamer
    May 8, 2011 at 9:44 am  

    Happy mothers day to you. And can I just say, you have beautiful kids. That my dear, you can take credit for.

  4. Comment by Sioux
    May 8, 2011 at 9:51 am  

    (You're still accepting us to swallow this lie, hook, line and sinker? Perhaps you posted the photo because you're about to trade these rentals in for slightly-older ones, so you can continue to pretend to be "mature" and middle-aged? Or, did you rent with the option to buy, and you're now offering them for sale on ebay? Let me know. They're quite handsome units, and seem like they would make any wannabe-mom proud.)Yeah, we could sing a duet about "backing off." But that's a mama lion's MO–she roars ferociously and then licks tenderly. Great post. I'm glad you shared it.

  5. Comment by The Words Crafter
    May 8, 2011 at 10:30 am  

    Oh, this is wonderful! And how cool that it ran in the paper, too. I hope you have a fantastic Mother's Day πŸ™‚

  6. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    May 8, 2011 at 10:40 am  

    Oh, Lisa, you made me cry! This is so heartfelt. Youa re a great mom.

  7. Comment by Kay L. Davies
    May 8, 2011 at 10:40 am  

    Perfect, Lisa. I'm sure the kids appreciated it in 2008 and still appreciate it (and you) today.β€” KKay, Alberta, CanadaAn Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  8. Comment by Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy
    May 8, 2011 at 11:26 am  

    Hi Lisa,I consider this a testament of true love, written down. Your children are beautiful, and blessed to have you and Joe for their parents.Hoping your Mother's Day celebration is absolutely wonderful.Love ya and God bless,Kathy M.

  9. Comment by liberal sprinkles
    May 8, 2011 at 11:50 am  

    How lovely, Lisa. I love this post, so much wisdom there, I know it's tough for some mums to let go but you've done it so gracefully. Happy Mother's Day!Grace

  10. Comment by Michael G-G
    May 8, 2011 at 11:55 am  

    What a wonderful way to start Mother's Day. As usual, a beautifully written piece, Lisa. I applaud your sentiments and will try to take your advice (about backing off!)The line "How can three children born of the same two parents be so different?" really resonated. [Except I have three boys, and they are much younger than your three.]Happy Mother's Day to you!

  11. Comment by Susan Fobes
    May 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm  

    I just about cried after reading this Lisa! What a wonderful tribute-your kids are lucky to have you.

  12. Comment by Kimberly
    May 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm  

    What a fabulous article! Your kids are beautiful and they have a really wonderful mother.

  13. Comment by Ellie
    May 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm  

    Happy Mother's Day! You children look and sound beautiful, and I loved the article. You are very blessed.Ellie Garratt

  14. Comment by Karen Lange
    May 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm  

    Wonderful Lisa! I too, was hoping for an instruction manual. Oh well, we lived and learned!Happy Mother's Day!

  15. Comment by L'Aussie
    May 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm  

    Thanks for sharing this post. How lovely that it has been published. Denise<3Romantic Friday Writers – first challenge – theme Dire Moment. Join up here

  16. Comment by Ann Best
    May 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm  

    Wise words. Thanks so much for sharing this. It's JUST wonderful.And now I'm saying Happy Mother's Day To Me – thanks to you.Ann Best, Memoir Author

  17. Comment by Joyce Lansky
    May 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm  

    This was a wonderful article. Happy Mother's Day to you.Joyce

  18. Comment by Sylvia Ney
    May 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm  

    Wonderful! Happy Mother's Day!

  19. Comment by Tammy
    May 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm  

    We ARE on the same page today with the lists, but yours is so touching! I agree it's good that they're not "soap opera children"–though yours look like they could be! Very handsome family, and happy Mother's Day!

  20. Comment by Lynn
    May 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm  

    Very beautiful letter – wish I had written it! LOL. Funny, I feel the same way about my three little darlings! I have a son and two daughters too! Is your son the oldest? Mine is. Anyway, you're a sweet mother!

  21. Comment by Ms.Daisy
    May 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm  

    Lisa,I loved your article and your children are gorgeous! Wonderful Mom and I hope you had a great Mother's Day with your family.~Jean

  22. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    May 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm  

    Kristin – Thanks sweetie-pie!Jabblog – Thank you. I think so, too!Dazee – Thanks, but I think they just got lucky. :)Sioux – They're the most expensive rentals on the planet. LOL Backing off is the toughest, isn't it?Becky – Thanks.Linda – Thanks. You're sweet to say so. :)Kay – Thanks. I hope so!Kathy – It was a great day, thanks. :)Grace – Thanks for your comment. Michael – Amazing how different they are, isn't it? Makes me wonder about nature vs. nurture.Susan – Thanks!Kimberly – Thanks for your comment.Ellie – Yes, I am blessed, and try never to take it for granted. :)Karen – I think a manual should be a requirement, don't you? LOLDenise – Thank you.Ann – Thanks for commenting.Joyce – Thanks for your comment.Sylvia – Thank you.Tammy – Thanks. I sure loved your comparison to "soap opera" kids. That was spot on. Lynn – My son is the oldest, yes. Another thing we have in common!Jean – Thanks. It was a terrific day. πŸ™‚

  23. Comment by Debra Mayhew
    May 11, 2011 at 8:25 am  

    Hey, Lisa! I'm reading this a little late, but just had to leave a comment. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that our children's failures/successes are not the parent's doing. So many parents feel guilty when their children do something wrong, but really that's a child's way of learning and growing. But I never looked at the flip side, that is, just because I made a certain mistake or bad decision, my children will too. I laughed at that part. They WILL make completely new ones!! But hopefully, will learn something valuable in the process. Happy – late- Mother's Day!!

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