Dear Child of Mine,
I love you no matter what. No matter what you do, no matter what you say. No matter how obnoxious you are. No matter how many times you take out the injustices of the world on me because I am a handy scapegoat.
I love you even though you treat me like something slimy you found on your shoe. I love you enough to spend the better part of a day on the phone with the school, because when my baby calls me in tears to report that all of her stuff was stolen (AGAIN) and the teacher said “Oh well,” that’s not gonna fly. I love you enough to continue sending emails and making phone calls, even as I can practically HEAR the administration rolling their eyes, because as it turns out, no one pushes my kid around and gets away with it. I love you enough to send your stepfather down there to sort it all out, because the person whose head I dearly would love to see on a platter kept treating me with the “get back in the kitchen and bake a pie” vibe, and I knew Otto would get better results.
I love you even though you never say thank you for those things, either to me or to him. I love you even though it’s a constant stream of “I want” and “I need” and “You have to” out of your ungrateful mouth.
I love you even though you torment your brother to tears and rage because you are a target at school and need a target at home. I love you even though you beg for specific things you HAVE TO HAVE and when you finally get them, you crumple them up and/or leave them on the floor like garbage. I love you even though you never do your chores without being nagged, and then you complain the entire time because OH THE INHUMANITY of having to take dishes out of the dishwasher!
I love you even though you scream at me on a regular basis, whenever I say something you don’t like, even if the thing I’m saying has nothing to do with me. If I say “that tape is double-sided” then you scream at me because you want it to be single-sided. And clearly that’s my fault.
I love you even though you ask me to fix your hair and then scream at me and cry after I do. I love you even though you begged for earrings and then never wear them. I love you even though you ignore lights-out and keep reading and are tired and surly in the morning.
I love you even though hormones have addled your brain. I love you even though you are mean. I try not to take it personally. I fail.
I love you because you need to be loved, and because you are lovable underneath it all, and because I can’t help it.
I love you even though I sit down at my desk and cry after you storm out, because it’s hard. I wish love could fix it. I wish you loved yourself a little more. I wish you would just let me love you.
I love you even though this sucks. And no, I WILL NOT USE A NICER WORD. In fact, let me be more specific: This sucks hairy donkey balls.
I know this is how it’s supposed to be. And so I will love you no matter what.