There was a thing on Yahoo! this morning about it being national letter writing day (it’s not. It’s not even national letter writing week until January so I’m not even sure where that story came from – archives?). In spite of the error, I thought it might be interesting to write a series of letters to my young self with all the great wisdom I have amassed over past 48 years.
Also, I’ve been off blogging for quite a while. I’ve been listening to that snarky little voice in my head that tells me everything I write is total crap and no one wants to read the sort of fluff that goes on in my brain. The time has come once again to tell that little voice to shut up and keep its destructive opinions to itself and let me get on with the business of writing.
So here goes…
Dear school-aged Paula,
I know all the fights mom and dad have about money, especially the child support payment arguments, make you feel terrible. I know its hard being stuck in the middle of two angry adults engaged in a never ending battle to win the argument. I know that you feel like you are a big part of why mom and dad fight and that you are putting a terrible financial burden on them because they support you, but guess what – they had you and it’s their responsibility to take care of you.
The fights about money make you feel worthless. Sometimes you wish you had never been born so that maybe mom and dad would be happy and not fight all of the time. Sweetheart, I want to tell you that their fights are not your fault. It’s true that their marriage may have lasted longer if they had waited to have you or maybe not had a child at all, but the reality of the situation is that you are in the world.
What I’d like you to do in order to make the situation more tolerable for yourself (and probably for mom and dad too) is to sit each one of them down at different times and tell them that when they fight about money and child support in front of you, that it hurts and that it makes you feel worthless. Ask them to please try to let go of their anger towards each other and take into consideration how much it hurts you every time they engage in this battle. Tell them that once they let go of this fight, they will feel better too.
Darling girl, you are going to have to have many follow-up conversations with mom and dad because they are really good at fighting with each other. You’re going to have to find the strength to correct them each and every time they slip back into their old patterns. This will go on for years. The good thing though is that you are going to feel really good about yourself for standing up for your feelings rather than silently resenting how shitty those fights make you feel.
Do this for yourself.
Fight for what you need.
You deserve it.
~Older, Wiser Paula