Motherhood Series: A Letter to My Son

May 4, 2010 by

~by Heidi

My Darling Boy,

Soon you will be nineteen. As your birthday approaches, there are things I wish I could say. Because of the challenges that afflict your body, bind your mind and wrack your soul you would not understand. Or understand all too well. My words would be slings and arrows when I would have them be a firm foundation for the kind of communication we can never have on earth.

Still, the words spill out of me with no place to go.

As other boys your age move on to college, jobs and missions, you sit at home wondering what your future has in store. You know that you will never serve a full time mission, attend college or be a husband and father. All your hopes and dreams are centered on a future that has no shape because the shape of today is intolerable.

Over and over you ask, Why am I here? It’s the answer to this question that I would give you as a birthday gift. Maybe one day, in this life or the next, you will be able to open this gift with joy and understanding.

You are here to be my teacher.

First, you taught me what it means to experience the kind of love that exists only between a mother and her child. Sometimes I thought I would expire from sheer elation. Sometimes I thought I would expire from sheer exhaustion. Both could claim Mother Love to be their sire.

You grew older and developed health problems; you taught me patience, tolerance and long-suffering. As time went by and all I could do was not enough, you taught me sacrifice, charity and what it truly means to forget one’s self and get to work.

More time went by. I yearned, with every fiber of my soul–would have given every fiber of my soul–to have you whole. But you never were. Meanwhile, you taught me what is truly important in this world and quite frankly, what is not.

Most of all, you have taught me what it means to align my will with that of God, to know that, in every case, His ways, His means, His timetable, His truth are all there is that is worth having. I know that if I am ever to have all that He has, I had to have you.

You, my son, are a teacher, and the gift of knowledge has no price.


  1. Janelle

    Heidi, this was powerful to read and I am left crying at the computer.

    I’ll be baking a birthday cake for my daughter today and reflecting on how she is shaping me as well.

  2. This is beautiful Heidi, thank you for sharing your tender mother feelings.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is wonderfully written.

  4. Bonnie Vettese

    Thank you! You put to words what I think and feel every day as I help my own Handicapped child! Thank you much for sharing

  5. Scott

    Wow – I am reading this at work and you took the breath out of me. I have no words to express how this makes me feel – this is a beautiful letter. Thank you.

  6. That was beautiful, Heidi. Thank you for opening yourself up like that and showing the beauty that was inside.

  7. okay – I knew it would be beautiful… but WoW… thanks!

  8. Heidi this was so beautiful. Something I feel so often with my own. Thank you for being able to express this in such an open way. You are amazing. =)

  9. Thank you for reminding me why I am a Mother. This journey we’re all taking would be fruitless without the people we are sharing the road with. Our children…our families….our friends….even those that we don’t get along with. Anyone that encourages us to become more like our Savior….those are the ones I hold dear.

  10. Heidi, this is an amazing post — one of your best. So beatifully expressed. I so admire the depth and perspective with which you shoulder your burdens and mother your children.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  11. Simply beautiful!


  12. Robert

    God has blessed in two way, One with a son sent to teach love. And the other is a way to share what he has tought you with the world .
    thank you so much
    God bless you both.(and the rest of the family)

  13. Your Brother

    That was really beautiful, Heidi. I know it takes a great amount of courage to face every day, let alone ponder the future. I love your perspective in this piece. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  14. Whenever Rebecca and I encounter something that makes us reach for the Kleenex, we look at each other, each fighting back tears, and one of us will sniffle and declare, “Stupid <>!”

    So I’m sitting here, reaching for my Kleenex, sniffing, and saying to myself, “Stupid letter!” Big Guy is so blessed to have such a dedicated and loving mother.

    While I have no doubt but that he was sent to this earth to teach you, have you ever wondered if just maybe, you were chosen to be his mother because no other woman would have given him exactly what he needed in a mother?

    To all you women who struggle with raising children with special needs, remember that Heavenly Father chose you to raise some of His most special spirits because of the great trust He has in you–because He knows that you have it in you to love them and serve them the way they need to be loved and served. You are–all of you–my heroes.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  15. “You are here to be my teacher.”


    “I know that if I am ever to have all that He has, I had to have you.”

    Heidi, this was beautiful.

  16. I love love love this, Heidi. You are an amazing and inspiring mother. And your boy is both of those things, too. Love you.

  17. This really is the kind of thing that you read and it just lingers with you for a while. Thank you. Really beautiful and powerful. Thank you for being our teachers as you share your insights and faith, Heidi.

  18. val of the south

    Thanks for sharing that – it was beautiful, and much needed. You are amazing, really you are!!

  19. You always put everything into perspective. It’s so easy to get mired down in the details and worries of every day life. WIll he be better today? Happier? More engaged? More “normal?” But it’s so irrelevant when you look back at the day you started with hope, apprehension and sometimes even fear, and see all of the wonder, love and yesabsolutelytrue lessons learned. I am a far better person for having my son in my life. And so is my husband. We aren’t just better parents – we’re kinder, more empathetic people. We bring far more to the world now than we ever could have hoped for six years ago.

    Much love to you and your sweet boy!

  20. Marianne

    Heidi: I don’t know how I found this…I was looking for some words to write to my one 18 year old son as he goes off to college…I have twin boys; however, my other special boy has cerebral palsy (he is such a smart, happy, little boy who gets around in his motorized wheelchair without seemingly a care in the world)…but what you have written so perfectly fits how it is with him. I have cried so many tears as I have re-read your letter to your son over and over. I have been a widow for 13 years and have raised my sons alone since then. Not easy. But I know God has chosen us mothers and He has given us the strength to handle what most people couldn’t do. I so look forward to the day (and I know it will be soon) that we and our children will be with God. God bless you and your child. Thank you so much.


  1. Motherhood Matters: Days 6, 7, 8 | Mormon Women: Who We Are - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] See, for example, this beautiful post by Heidi: A Letter to My Son [...]

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