I came across this writing prompt on Medium.
I didn’t really follow the “Christmas letter” prompt, but I think it was a good use of my time, anyhow.
(Note to self: need more writing prompts.)
I wish you could read English so you could understand what I want to say, and that I didn’t have to translate it to Spanish for you to understand.
There is so much I want to ask you, so many questions and so much I wanted to share with you that I never could, because I couldn’t articulate it well enough in Spanish…and you laughed at me when I tried.
I don’t fault you for that. It’s just in your nature.
I wish that you hadn’t felt like you’d wasted your life having and raising children. I wish that you hadn’t had to sacrifice your own well-being to put food on the table for everybody. I wish you could’ve counted on someone to support you and lift you up when times were tough, as they were so often. But my dad could never be that person, and for that, I’m sorry you were disappointed.
I love you a lot, even though you couldn’t teach me what I needed to move along in life with grace and self-assuredness. My sister covered a lot of that, though, so it’s okay. I wish I could be there for you, and I wish we hadn’t argued over stupid money, and I wish I could have made more of a positive impact in your life in my later years.
This year, I’ve given birth to a son — a beautiful, precious boy who sometimes makes me wonder what our relationship was like when I was a baby. I’ve also moved twice. I’m staying home with the baby and his older sister, and I wish I had the kind of relationship with you that could make me want to share the joy my kids bring to me with you. But you don’t like kids, they’re too hard to take care of, you say. I don’t want to burden you, so I just leave things as they are.
I’m really disappointed in myself at quitting the things I loved. Secretly, I’m afraid you’d be disappointed in me, too, because you always said that it’s better not to settle down until you’ve seen the world and had some fun. I wanted to follow my dreams because you never could, and so I left you and everyone else behind to start that path. And then I became pregnant.
I don’t regret having my children, not at all. I just wish I could find a way to do both things – to mother and to follow my dreams – and not have to choose one or the other.
I’m sad to have had the kind of mother I felt like I had to parent. I’m sad that I felt like I had to parent myself growing up. I’m sad that you worked so hard your entire life and you have no stability, no savings, and live off meager social security because you can’t work due to work injuries. I’m sad that I saw you work at a job you hated, just so I could eat and sleep and have clothes; and I’m sad to see that now, you’ve emptied your pockets for me so many times, you’ve nothing left for yourself.
I hate to watch you so bitter, because you’ve been hurt so much and so deeply. In part, it’s your bitterness that’s kept me away. The other part is fear of disapproval.
There’s so much distance between you and me, and it seems that distance grows larger and larger the older I get, the longer I’ve lived away from you.
I’m on one side of the canyon, and you’re on the other, and the bridge that could’ve connected us burned a long time ago.
It’s just how things are right now.
I hope you’re okay. I hope when you dream, you sleep peacefully. I hope that your health hasn’t deteriorated any further. I hope that you feel safe in your own home. I hope that you eat well.
I wish I could say that I hope you’re living a life you love, but I’m pretty sure all that you’re able to hope for is to live a life you can tolerate. So I hope that for you, too.