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What I Never Wanted to Say

by Staci Troilo 3 months ago in Childhood · updated 3 months ago
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A Confession to my Mother

Image by Monfocus from Pixabay | no usage restrictions | edited

Dear Mom,

I have a confession to make.

Lately I’ve been thinking back on my childhood—from my earliest memory through the day I moved out. It shocked me to realize we disagreed about so many things. Seems like we were at odds a lot more than we were in agreement. I’m not saying you didn’t love me or weren’t there when and how I needed you. Only that there were things I couldn’t say to you because we didn’t have that sitcom mother/daughter relationship I always coveted.

Now’s the time for me to say what I’ve kept to myself all these years.

Remember when I was in kindergarten, and you refused to sign the permission slip allowing me to take those pink fluoride tablets my classmates all took? The ones they said tasted like candy? My teacher made me wait in the hall every day while she distributed them, and a lot of the kids teased me about it. I always felt like such an outcast.

Remember the early years of elementary school, when you made me wear those hideous orthopedic shoes when everyone else had sneakers? And when you FINALLY got me sneakers, they were store brand instead of name brand, sky blue instead of white, and to add insult to injury, you switched the plain shoestrings with Smurf laces? It was humiliating.

Remember when I was in Girl Scouts and my troop went camping? Well, all of them but me. You didn’t think it was safe for a few adults to watch so many girls in the wilderness overnight, so I had to go home before the bonfire… and all the fun.

Remember when I was about to start to junior high, and you insisted on enrolling me at a school where I could take advanced courses? I wanted to walk to the local school and take classes with my friends, but you forced me to ride the high school bus then take a transfer to my new academy where I didn’t know a soul. It was a terrifying experience.

Remember when I was in ninth grade and wasn’t allowed in cars with teen drivers until I had my license? When you caught me, you grounded me indefinitely until you were certain I wouldn’t hang out with the older kids anymore. My sixteen-year-old boyfriend broke up with me because of it. I pined after him for months.

Remember in tenth grade, when you made me go to the spring formal with my ex because the tickets and dress were bought in February? We split up in March, but the dance was in April. You said the money was spent and the arrangements were made, and it wasn’t fair to him to go stag or miss his dance just because I’d broken up with him. He appreciated the gesture, but I was miserable. It was one of the longest nights of my life.

Remember when I graduated and you wouldn’t let me go on vacation with my friends? Even though I was a legal adult and would be on my own in college in a few months, you said I was too young for that kind of trip. None of my closest friends attended my graduation party because they left for the beach the day before. I was stuck celebrating with extended family I seldom spent time with—people who were essentially strangers with familiar faces. But my heart was at the ocean with the people I felt knew me best in the world.

For all those things, and many others I won’t bother recounting, I was angry with you.

No, that’s not my confession. I’m pretty sure you already knew that.

What you don’t know is this:

Standing outside my kindergarten classroom taught me to be comfortable being alone.

Wearing different shoes taught me it was not only okay to be unique, it could also be a blessing.

Missing the overnight part of the camping trip taught me to prioritize safety over entertainment. Better to lose out on a little fun than to lose my life because I was reckless.

Taking advanced courses at a different school than my friends taught me the importance of a good education and how to adapt to a variety of social situations.

Being grounded for riding in cars before I had my license taught me how crucial it was to be responsible behind the wheel.

Attending the dance with an ex-boyfriend taught me to honor commitments. In retrospect, I’m glad I went because it made my date happy.

Missing out on a graduation trip with my friends taught me the importance of family. I had a lot of fun talking to aunts, uncles, and cousins I rarely saw, and I learned a lot about who I am and where I come from. (Not to mention I didn’t get in trouble with the rest of my friends for partying at the beach.)

As you can see, I did learn the lessons you tried to impart, even if it took me a long while and a lot of pain to do so. I still make mistakes, and I still do things you consider risky—though I consider the pros and cons first—but I’m a much better person than I would have been if you hadn’t had such strong convictions when I was young. No one would say I’m a carbon copy of you, but everyone knows I’m a product of your careful parenting.

So, long letter short, my confession is this:

For years, I hated to admit it, but you were right.


Your Hard-Headed Daughter


About the author

Staci Troilo

Staci's love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work, regardless of the genre she's currently immersed in.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (3)

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  • Gwen Plano2 months ago

    What a beautiful, powerful letter, Staci. We all need to make our peace, to travel back, and acknowledge what we learned. You've captured so much in a simple letter, my friend. Thank you. 💗

  • Jan Sikes2 months ago

    I have no idea how I missed this, Staci, but it cut right to the core of my heart. Those traumatic moments turned into insightful reflection. Love it!

  • Mae Clair3 months ago

    Wow! What a powerful letter and a look at life full circle. This was outstanding!

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