A letter to my son.

Robin Rob Predeployment Leaves I'm celebrating the 6th anniversary of 37days this week with a few guest posts. This one is by Robin Pitts, a woman I met in Cleveland, Ohio, when I was there to speak at Ursuline College a few years ago. A mother's love:

A predeployment letter to my son, a US Marine, and our photo the day before he deployed to Afghanistan

Dear Robert,

While unexpected, your birth was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  I never thought I was a very "motherly" person so I had alot of changing to do when you came along.  As you grew inside of me and I felt you come alive my fears about being responsible grew.  I was a very selfish person before you arrived and worried about taking care of someone else at the expense of my pleasure.  Little did I know that God already had this figured out.  From the moment I saw your beautiful face and took in your heavenly smell all of my worries vanished.  There was nothing I wouldn't do for you, nothing I wouldn't sacrifice for your care or pleasure.  My last thought before sleep and my first thought upon waking was of you. 

I've heard people say that we raise and mold children but I'm here to tell you that you arrived with all of your opinions already on board.  You were and still are a challenge to understand.  We tried to instill in you our values and put you through the Catholic system and the public education system to help us with that.  Despite it all, you never changed much.  I have to admire your adherence to those things that you hold dear however turbulent times have been. 

Regarding teaching you things, ha!  I have learned so much about myself and the world because of you and that continues to happen.  My world used to consist of our little neighborhood and exciting vacation spots.  When I joined Rotary and we got Nagisa that spread a little, but nothing like now.  I look at my globe measuring distances with my hands where I once looked at my globe and measured with my fingers.  When I try to conceptualize distance it sometimes panics me and I have to stop. 

I heard once that home is whereever you live.  I don't believe it because that is too painful.  Home is in your head and heart.  That doesn't mean that I don't want to you explore and take in the wonders of our earthly paradise it just means that I can't yet accept the fact that you are your own person and not my baby.  Perhaps I never will be able.  I also want to make sure that you know how to find home when you need it–we will always be here for you wherever we are.  When I die – and parents should go first – please know that if I am able, I will continue to watch you and learn from you.  I can't offer to protect you because I've never been able to do that.  You've always run with scissors and whether I like it or not, you should, we all should.  I've heard the religious say that Heaven is so wonderful that we will forget all about Earth.  I don't believe that because I've felt the presence of lost loved ones all of my life.  Sometimes as an unexplainable event, sometimes as a warmth on my body. 

Live a great life and be happy.  Take in as much of this place as you can because despite all of the tragic, appalling things that go on, this life is beautiful beyond words.  Enjoy nature, art, the written word, music, warm summer days, cold winter nights, delicious meals, a calming embrace, and a deep, meaningful kiss.  Feel the sun on your face and smile more often–you are so beautiful.  Experience great happiness and great pain because it takes one to truly appreciate the other.  Most of all, raise a family.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.  I cannot thank you enough for that. 

I love you more than you can know.



My thanks to Robin Pitts for sharing these beautiful words that she wrote to her son on his leaving.

What letter do you need to write?


  1. What a wonderful measure of love from a mom to her son. I think it is so important to take time to tell our children and spouses how important they are to us via a written letter.

    Our sons are 34 and 40 and I write them a long birthday letter each year sharing how much I love them and why. I include a little piece of genealogy and a “childhood” memory of them as well as their emotional and spiritual growth that year.

    They will have a book about themselves someday. Aren’t written words wonderful tools of love?

    Sandi Baron

  2. Dear Robin,

    Thanks so much for sharing this intimate and beautiful letter to your son. It speaks volumes about parenting and for being so aware about someone else–and its also a terrific statement for your son to take into the future with him, and to share with his own family.

  3. Oh gosh. Things like this go straight to my heart and grab it tight. I was prior military and my husband is retired military and I don’t think people realize all the time that soldiers are sons, too.

  4. Beautiful, on this, my own son’s 25th birthday, it made me cry, for a whole host of reasons. Thank you.

  5. If we could all speak what was in our hearts…we would be the better for it and fall asleep knowing we did our best, as this mother has…

  6. a very inspiring letter… i can only imagine the level of panic you feel as you send your son off to war. i am right now dealing with the possibility that my baby might choose to spend 2 years in europe after graduating this year… i just cannot imagine having her so far away for so long. you have reminded me that my job as her mother is to just let go and trust that all will be well. thank you.

  7. thank you. I have written many letters just like this one, and now my son is home safe and sound after his second deployment to Iraq