A Letter to my Mother, by Ryanick Paige

Dear Mom,

Mother’s Day is supposed to be a time to celebrate our mothers. A time to thank them for the things they have done and the things they have taught us throughout our lives. Sometimes, the things we have learned from our parents are not pleasant and should not be celebrated.

It could have been because she was the baby. It could have been because you had me way too young and didn’t know how to love. As I grew up, I was told a mother’s love was unconditional. I was told mothers love their children the same, but the older I grew and the more I saw, the less I believed.

I was probably around 10 years old or so when I began to understand that you loved my sister more than me. It wasn’t obvious at first, just little gestures here and there. The older I grew, the more I saw. The more callous and cold hearted I became. I grew up and got married. I buried those feelings deep inside and swore that I would never be like that.

Fast forward through the years, I now have two children and my sister has one. I have two beautiful boys and a feisty little niece. My niece is the most precious little girl. I love her as if she were my own.  Your favoritism is now raising its ugly head with our children. My niece is the lucky chosen one. I am not sure if it is because she is a girl or if it is because she is my sister’s child. I guess it would have been easier to see if she would have had a boy just like me.

All the feelings I had as a child come rushing back and I am like a mother bear protecting her cubs. I shield my children from the pain I had felt. I hide from them, the things that are done for my niece, as my children are left standing in the sidelines. My children do not see the pain that was instilled in me. I do not let them see, in fear they will become cold and calloused like me. I fight with myself everyday to make sure I don’t become just like you. To make sure my children are loved and treated just the same as the other. Every time I look in the mirror, I see you staring back at me. I look into your eyes and tell you, I am not you. I will not let myself become you. I will not cause my children the hurt that you caused me. I do not know if I do this to remind myself not to become you or to help ease the pain I felt as a child and the anger I feel as an adult.

I have lists in my mind a mile long of the preferential treatments my niece receives. I keep this list to myself hoping my children will never see how they are treated differently, how they are treated just like I was. I resented my sister for years until I grew mature enough to realize it wasn’t her fault. Now our relationship is strong as we bond together to alter the course of partiality. My sister only has one child thus she doesn’t have the inner demons to fight just yet. But she is afraid of what may come. She is afraid that she will become just like you and not be able to love her children the same.

Mom, you are not the only one to blame, for your mother acts just the same. Maybe you are not strong enough to break the chain; maybe you do not see anything wrong with it. And I guess it is possible you are too blind to realize you are even doing it. All I know for sure it that this is where it stops. It is with me that this inequity dies. I will not let my children loose the tears I have cried. The cycle ends here and now.

I try my best to be fair with my boys, even though sometimes they cannot see that. Their ages are so far apart that they sometimes they don’t understand why one can do things the other cannot. I try to explain the difference so they understand why. They each have their moments where they think the other is my favorite and I resolve that I have no favorites, that I love them just the same. I probably should be thankful for the things that I learned and saw, because it molded me into the person I am today. Thankful for the strength that has given me and the ability to change it. For my lost tears and calloused heart, for now they protect me from making those very same mistakes.

Your Other Daughter


Ryanick Paige is a freelance writer and bargain shopper extraordinaire. Some of her work can be read at Associated Content.

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5 Responses to “A Letter to my Mother, by Ryanick Paige”

  1. Linda St.Cyr says:

    This was so sad to read but I know many families who go through some thing of this. I’m glad you are putting a stop to it.

  2. What a sad situation. Good for you for recognizing the inequality and ending it!

  3. Angel says:

    I am glad you learned from her mistakes. Sometimes that’s how our parents teach us.

  4. Cathy Doheny says:

    I am so sorry for what you have been through. Sounds like you are a good mom to your boys, and that is what is most important now. She is the one who is missing out!

  5. Marilyn Wong says:

    Signing it “Your OTHER daughter” emphasizes everything you have written. Hugs for you.

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