A friend of mine, a mother of three, recently came across a letter that her oldest son, Sean, had written to his teacher. It started out as sweet note to a teacher he clearly adored. Mom was proud of her little boy.
But as her eyes scanned further down the page, she found a line that quickly became a knife in her heart.
In the letter, her 6-year-old son told his teacher: “I wish you were my mommy.”
Her husband laughed. My friend cried.
“You know the feeling, when you were in high school and a boy broke up with you? It was worse than that,” she said.
She was crushed, even wiped away a tear when she told me a few days later.
“I’m being ridiculous,” she said.
But I imagined myself in her shoes. I’d be pretty upset, too.
“What is that about?” she wondered. “Should I talk to him about it? Or does that make it into something bigger than it is?”
“My gut response is… it’s always better to talk about it than not,” suggests Pat McLarney, a perinatal instructor with parent education at Hartford Hospital.
“My guess is that if she talks to him about it, she’ll probably learn that there’s a lot of love behind it.” McLarney says, “It’s not about hating mommy, but more about loving his teacher.”
McLarney cautions mothers against tunnel vision, and reminds us to try and look at the whole picture.
“The fact that he is so fond of his teacher shows that his mom is doing an amazing job. She’s taught him to connect with people, and to be confident enough go into the world and make attachments. That’s pretty amazing for a six year old!”
Just hearing that, made her feel better. More importantly, it gave her a fresh perspective.
After all, McLarney points out, it’s a compliment to say, “I want you to be my Mommy.” It shows an intense connection. It shows that her son knows moms are special.
And it’s a reminder than Moms love you no matter what.