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The other night, while I was unpacking the very last box from the move into our new home, I stumbled across several of my son’s grade school photographs. I was immediately mesmerized by the series of photographs that perfectly captured my son’s seemingly turbo-­‐growth-­‐spurt. As I looked at each of the photographs of my “Boo-­‐Boo” my heart swiftly swelled with an avalanche of regret.

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Tears began to sting my eyes as the following two questions mercilessly bounced in my heavy head, “why didn’t you spend more time with him? What were you thinking?” As the tears then spilled down my cheeks, I looked into my son’s eyes, earnestly searching forthe answers.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to look for long. Within seconds an unexpected smile instantly altered the destiny of the last remorseful tear I would shed. The answers to both questions instantly appeared on the tip of my tongue and as I lovingly absorbed every fiber of my son’s image, the following words flowed effortlessly pass my lips as if I were truly speaking to him.

Yes, my child, without a doubt, I could have spent more time with you. However, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, during the times I was not with you, I was extremely busy becoming the me someone like you would need your mother to be. When you were not with me, I believe you were with the people and having the experiences you needed to have in order to grow and expand into the person you needed to be (far away from overprotective me).

What was I thinking? Now, that’s a good question. In retrospect, I don’t remember doing a lot of thinking while raising you. Time to stop, sit and think was a luxury I simply could not afford. There were groceries to buy, meals to cook, homework to do, teachers to meet, bedtime stories to read, colds to cure, school carnivals to co-­create, games to attend, wounds to kiss, tantrums to endure…no, my child, when it came to raising you, thinking was not exactly on my list.

I didn’t raise you from my head, I simply trusted my feelings and followed my heart and well, here we are. And, now that I think of it, yes, if I wanted to raise a co-­dependent child lacking in social skills, void of external realities, and a sense of self-reliance, then indeed, I should have spent more time with you.

Troy Byer: A Letter To My Son  was originally published on

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