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May 20, 2010
Dysart Reporter


Jill Pertler

Dear children of mine,

I have a confession. I am totally unqualified for the job of being your mother. I do not know what I am doing. This is nothing new. I mess up every day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for this gig 18 years ago. What was I thinking?

How did I believe I could possibly raise and nurture another human being (not to mention four!)? Can you ever forgive me for being such a nave and optimistic rookie?

Ever since bringing you home from the hospital, you've endured one thing after another. When you were a baby, I was unskilled at getting you to sleep through the night. I jumped out of bed and rocked you at the slightest whimper. I lost your nukie on a weekly (if not daily) basis (sometimes wiping it on my shirt and returning it to your mouth rather than sanitizing it in boiling water). I never did learn the art of cutting grapes in half.

Then there was the time when I went to remove you from your car seat only to realize I'd locked the car keys (along with you) inside the car in our garage. The police and I sure had a good laugh about that one.

I'm amazed you lived to see preschool.

Those young years were nothing compared to now. They were a warm-up, preparing me for the real show. Now you are a teenager and as a parent I am nothing short of inept. Well, that and an embarrassment to you, but that's a different article.

Now you are a teenager and I learn I am mean. I am unfair. I don't remember what it is like to be your age (because it was so long ago like before cell phones or something). The things I do to uphold the rules? They are nothing short of contemptible.

I'm lucky you don't realize how I've agonized over sippy cups, your first pair of shoes, letting you ride the kindergarten bus alone and cutting grapes in half. Now, as a teenager, you provide a whole new set of trials and tests. Thankfully, you are caught up in your own emotions and don't have a whole lot of insight into mine.

If you did, it would provide you access to my Achilles heel my biggest weakness, which is my love for you. Sounds crazy, a parent's love being his or her biggest weakness, but the truth is often crazy. My undying and unconditional love for you often tempts me to do the wrong thing. To let you off easy. To skip cutting the grapes because you are screaming for them; to make excuses and let you off just this one time when a free pass is exactly what you don't need.

So I plod on. I discipline when you need it and wince when you object. I hope and pray my mistakes are surmountable and you'll grow into adults who come to understand the whys and the hows of the decisions I made while messing up as your parent.

Through it all, I still cling to the optimistic thought that, somehow, on some level, my actions have been inspiring. Because, even though I understand the depths of my ineptitude, I hope you find it in your heart to bless me with the greatest gift of all someday a grandchild (plural would be better). I promise to babysit for free, never ever lose a nukie and cut grapes in half with distinction. I would bring decades of experience to my position. Best of all, I promise never, ever to say, "I told you so."

Check out Slices of Life on Facebook. Syndicated columnist, Jill Pertler, works with graphic artist, Nikki Willgohs, to provide writing and design services. Their website is at: Jill loves hearing from readers. Email her at


Jill Pertler



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