Not All At Once

Hi Kiddo,
{a letter to my son}

In the last week you have revealed to me so  many new corners of your character, and you simply amaze me.  You got some news that had to be the hardest thing you have encountered in your short but full nine and half years.  It breaks my heart to be the bearer of any news that interrupts your otherwise perfectly placed focus on MineCraft, Soccer, pitching for your little league team, mastering the kendama,  and of course chasing the dog around the backyard.  Someday, all of this will make much more sense  to you.  Maybe you will even see how it is in a crazy way even better for you.

For now, though, I wish I could really tell you how impressed I am with you, how in awe I am of your bravery, your determination to be a big boy. Your willingness to not only bend with and lean into this change, but that you can find some upsides so readily.

I can see the ripples of fear creeping up around your edges from time to time, and yet you somehow find a way to rise above it and knock it down, almost like your own version of emotional whack-a-mole.  That, Bug, is true courage.  If you only knew.

The questions you ask me are far more insightful than some conversations I have had with adults; you find the crux of it all more succinctly than I ever would have.  You face your fears and ask me the questions anyway, even though I bet you somehow know that you are not going to like the answer, or know that at least you will not totally understand it.  I don’t like ambiguity now, decades ahead of you; you somehow are able to roll with this ambiguity with no ambivalence.

I wish I had had what you somehow have in abundance when I was nine and a half. If I did, perhaps you wouldn’t have to.

When I pushed too hard, trying to help you, comfort you, I could hardly comprehend how you knew what you needed and even more, that you knew exactly how to ask me for it. With an analogy. “Mom, it’s too much advice. All at once.  Too much advice mom, is like a bunch of rocks too close together “, you said, and then told me that, “it should be more like a long string, strung out over time.  Not all at once. Ok?” 

I hear ya kiddo, you are speaking my language and I am astounded by your wisdom.  You have my word to not barrage you with too many words too close together; but whenever you need to take a rock from that pile, you know I am right here next to you and will take your lead. Maybe together we can out to ‘your bridge’ and go throw it in the river.


We are just starting this new adventure and you have shown me that you are possibly stronger than your mom. You are showing me how brave you are, how truly adaptable and resilient you can be and I could not be more proud of the person I get to call my son.

You, growing up, is a long game and even though you and I both want it to all be ok for you right now, let’s both try to remember that you need to take your own time with things.  I want you to know that everything I do is for you – so that things are better for you.  So that your easy laugh and smiling eyes are always what people see first when they meet you.


Ps: that wrestling match tonight? I totally won!

30 thoughts on “Not All At Once

  1. Oh, Bonnie! My heart is with you, whatever may be the situation… what a wise and strong son you have. Blessings and prayers unfolding for you!


    • Gwen! Thank you! He’s a super kid, I just want to squish him [though, since he’s nine + one half, he’s not as tolerant these days. Darn boys!} Thank you for your sweet, thoughtful reply – I feel it all the way from VA to CA ! xo


  2. Bon-Bon,
    My initial reaction is that your post [and your readers’ (friends) comments] are too hard to believe. I mean, how can people be so loving, courageous, patient. It’s too hard to believe during trying times. But then again, that’s the skeptic in me, I suppose. You are a great mom, you listen, you love, you are their for your child. Hang in there and blessing on you, Ray and Ben.


    •’s real. This is my kiddo and his words and reactions. Weeks later, it’s still real. He ceases to truly impress me. {he wears on my patience some days too, naturally}. My readers are real too! They rock, in fact! Glad you are here, with me in this space. xo BonBon


  3. never doubted…he is your son after all. one thing i’ve learned (and you are too) is that this book is not yet finished and we need to stop reading ahead or we’ll miss all the surprises! they’ll read at their own pace and ask if they come across a word they don’t understand. meantime, we teach them when we can and learn from them when we are lucky…but always…we are there, and that’s everything. you are on your way Bon, and it sure looks good on you. xoxo


    • Rhon – thank you…I love your response, just so perfect! I love the analogy (see,the whole analogy thing really works for me!) about all of this being a book…you are right, so many chapters ahead yet, with who knows what kinds of adventures, mishaps and surprises ahead. thank you…for this. Really. xoxo


  4. What a gorgeous testament to what is clearly a beautiful, and profoundly giving, relationship. Ben is obviously a special kid, but then again, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree, I’ve learned. May you find solace in one another as you begin this new chapter in your lives, Bonnie. With this much love and understanding, you’re bound to end up in a good place by and by…. Hugs, Lori


    • Lori..thank you for this…so much. Your words have a certain peace to them…and I am just gong to go with what you say!! Hugs to you too 🙂 B


  5. Oh, Bon, I could just feel the love radiating out of my computer screen as I read this letter. Sending ginormous hugs to you and the kiddo, because reading this made me feel like I got wrapped in a warm and cozy cocoon, and I want to return the favour! xo.

    PS: emotional whack-a-mole might be the best description I’ve ever heard of facing life’s challenges, head on. Brilliant! Love it (and you!) to bits.


    • Amb, thanks for the ginormous hugs and I am so glad my whack-a-mole worked for you! I could just picture him knocking those fears back, one mole at a time! 🙂 xo


  6. I can’t wait to meet Ben and can’t wait to give his mom a hug in real life. Print this out Bon, save it for him, save it for you. Arguably one of the most heartfelt and heart-full letters I’ve ever had the privilege to read. And my tears? I know where you are coming from. The smile? I know where you are going. love you, m


    • I can’t wait for you to meet Ben too! I think the two of you will have some great conversations! 🙂 I will definitely save this for some point in the future, for him to refer back to and know not only how impressed I am with him, how much I appreciate his beautiful little (old) soul! I like that you know where I have been…and where I am going…you are a perfect travelling companion!! 🙂 xoxo


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