Dear Ellie – A Letter to My Daughter About the Love of Her Single Mother

Dear Ellie,
YOU are taking your morning nap right now in our shared bedroom.
I am sitting naked on the couch in the living room, very excited that I had a chance to separate the 36 pounds of accumulated dirty laundry AND straighten my hair.
I’m naked because I just got out of the shower, and I’m no fool –  I know that the moment I creep into our room to get some clean clothes, your big eyes will open and naptime will be over.
The thing is, lately Ellie, when you sleep and I run around the 385 square foot apartment cleaning, paying bills and dry-shaving my legs – I find myself wondering how I am going to explain this to you.
And by this, I mean our lives and our unconventional family structure.
At 8-months-old you are already very inquisitive, so I know that your observations of the difference between our family and some other families will be quick and most likely – very accurate.
And when you make those observations, I want you to remember a few things:
1.     I will always tell you the truth.
And that truth is that I love you with all of my heart, and I wanted you from the moment I found out you were on the way.  I did not want this situation for you.
In my dreams, you would be raised by two loving parents, who also love each other.
In my dreams, Ellie, the magnificent friends and family in our lives would be an excellent addition to our family.
Instead, my love, they are our family.
And ya know what Ellie, this is an excellent lesson for you to learn early on – we don’t always get what we want – but we always get what we need.
2.     I needed you more than I knew.
When you sleep at night, and I walk into our room and check to make sure that you are still breathing because I am slightly neurotic, I wonder how I can possibly thank you.
Because of you, I got a crash course on priorities.
You stopped me from wasting my time with people and activities that really didn’t matter.
And I learned that the Beatles were right when they said, “All You Need is Love.”
3.     Being afraid is okay.
A year ago at this time, I cried myself to sleep almost every night.  To say I was afraid would be a gross understatement.  I wasn’t really afraid for me, I was afraid for how my careless actions would impact you.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be enough for you.
I was afraid you would hate me for not bringing you into the perfect set of circumstances.
But Ellie, I learned another really important lesson: When you are afraid – ask for help from the people that love you.
That’s what I did.
Your Auntie A, Auntie Mal and Auntie Jackie, your Mimi and Papa, Uncle TJ…Auntie Shan, Auntie Denise, Auntie Tracy, Auntie Brennan…Great Auntie Donna and Great Uncle Steve, Uncle Anthony, Auntie Julie, Uncle Jim, Auntie Katie, Auntie Raelyn…all of them and many more, listened to me cry while I tried to figure out the details of our lives together.
They answered my calls at all hours of the day and night, they cooked for me, they came to doctors appointments with me, they rushed to hospital when we thought you were going to make a very early arrival, and they prayed for us.
Ellie, I learned something very important: If I never admitted how scared I was, I wouldn’t have found out how loved we are.
4.     I will figure things out for us.
That’s my job.
Your job is to explore the world and be the best kid you know how to be.  Some suggestions for how to do that are to play whenever you have a chance, don’t be afraid to get dirty, laugh with your entire body when something is funny, give hugs when someone needs it, be polite but don’t ever let anyone push you around, and never pass up an opportunity to learn – the world is a very interesting place – one that I promise to explain to the best of my ability.
5.     People are not perfect and that is okay.
The only person whose actions you can control are your own, my sweet.   This has been a really tough one for mommy to understand and to handle.  But by working to accept this, I have become more focused on how to become a better person than I was before you joined my life.
Ellie, just be the best you that you know how to be, and everything else will fall into place.
6.     Mommy loves you.
Ellie, that one pretty much speaks for itself.
And finally Ellie, one more thing – always remember this – the dumbest thing anyone can ever do is underestimate you.Love,


Your Mom