Dear Mom: It Could Be Worse

Longtime reader Petticoat Philosopher just left the following comment on my post about brainwashing and fleshly lusts:

Oh yes, Libby, you are such a wild woman–marrying your first boyfriend young and having children and all. Seriously, those fleshly lusts are driving you straight to destruction.

The truth is, I’m not much of a rebel by most people’s standards. Not a rebel at all, actually. I don’t have piercings and I dress normally. I’ve never smoked, never been drunk, never broken the law. Like Petticoat Philosopher says, I married young and my husband and I now have two children while still in our twenties. The life we live is really very typical. We go to work, we come home and go swimming with the kids. For hobbies, we garden, sew, and bike. By any standard but my parents’, I majorly fail at being a rebel. And sometimes I really want to remind my mom that while she may disapprove of how I lead my life, it could be worse.

Petticoat Philosopher’s comment reminded me of a (satirical) letter I composed in my head back when I was an undergrad and the conflict between my parents and I over things like creationism and paternal authority were in full force. It went something like this:

Dear Mom,

I’m writing from jail. I got caught trying to break into a house because, well, I was short on cash. See, I lost my scholarship because my grades dropped, and now I’m in the process of being expelled because I got caught plagiarizing. I’ve been making some money writing papers for some frat kids, but not enough. Anyway, I need you to bail me out. Oh, and it would be dandy if you could help with some of my credit card debt too – some of it has gone to a collections agency.

Just kidding. None of that is true. I’m still a straight A student and haven’t gotten so much as a parking ticket. But the truth is, I believe in female equality and see myself as equal and independent, and I have questions about the religious beliefs you and dad taught us growing up and am exploring other traditions and ideas. That’s all.

Your loving daughter,


Somehow, composing that in my head, back when things were really not going well between me and my mom, was really cathartic – even though I never wrote it down or sent it.

Have you ever done something like this?

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