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February 04, 2013

Why Weird is Wonderful: A Letter from a Single Mom to Her Daughter

I’ve known Rhoda for many years. We met in school back in the Philippines and reconnected when Rhoda was working in California. That’s when I asked her to come work at Two years later, she works in our Operations team. This is a letter she has written to her daughter on her 11th birthday about what it means to be a single mom. It’s beautiful and I applaud Rhoda for sharing it with us today.

Blog-letter-to-your-childEverdearest H.B.,

It is your 11th birthday today. And I thought I’d write you a letter to explain why our family is different. But if nothing more, I thought I’d remind you just how wonderful you are – and how loved.

You probably wonder at how different your situation is from your friends.  We’ve moved three times. To Zambia. Then California. And now we’re in Boston. And it’s just the two of us. I know it was challenging for you to have to leave your friends, make new ones and then do it all over again. But you did, and you were strong. In fact, sometimes, you were braver than I was (but I never let on at the time!).

I know it’s tough. Particularly, on holidays and special occasions, like today.  You may wonder why they are usually low key. Why you can only invite four friends when others get to invite the whole class. Why I can’t take your friends to the movies or to a restaurant. See, I’m what is called a Single Parent. That means it’s just you and me. We have talked about this before. This does not mean we are less of a family as everyone else, but it does mean our family is different – and, like all the Understanding Our Differences workshops at your school, "different" is ok.  It certainly doesn’t mean you are any less loved. We just have to learn that sometimes, less means more. Remember how you and your close friends at school like to be called, "weird" because you have an understanding that it means, "weird but in a good way"?  Well, you can say our family is "weird" like that too. Weird in all the wonderful ways. 

How? Just think how fortunate we are to have Grandma helping us out. She not only looks after you but also teaches you about our culture and language (remember the Filipino words and phrases book she got you?). She teaches you how to be polite and keep yourself safe. She keeps you connected to your cousins, uncles and aunts and other family. And think about your awesome friends and our amazing neighbors who take care of and look out for you. Cherish being able to go to school, having a warm bed and food on the table. It is the simple things, which we sometimes don’t think about. These are the true gifts that mean so much. 

We have come quite a way, Kiddo. Remember how you beat all the boys in your group in fencing?  Or, how you sang a solo in "We Are the World" in front of your whole school?  Remember how after reciting a poem you wrote about New York, your teacher said, "Did you go to college and back?"  Sometimes I think our unique partnership gives you an independence and bravery other kids might not have.

Either way, you are blessed. And you are the biggest blessing in my life. I know your dream is to be the first girl to play on the New England Patriots. And I just I shake my head and worry about your safety as you run off and play football with your friends. You and me babe. We’re both a little "weird"—"but in a good way."

Have a wonderful birthday!

All my love,




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Julie Faria

My daughter saved my life in Sept. 2012 after I was kicked in the face by a horse. Her father and I are also divorced so Skye and I spent COUNTLESS hours just the 2 of us. Being a single mother brings an even closer and special bond between a mother and daughter, I think. You know you only have each other. It does something words can't explain and yes, it makes them very strong when they have an unwavering mom to hold everything together. These daughters of ours also carry us through the worst of times without blinking an eye.


This letter touched my heart and gave me so much encouragement since I newly became a single mom. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt letter. Letters that will encourage me to write to my daughter too.

Sending lots of love and strength!


What a great letter! I too was a single parent for a time. But really, what she is describing is the lack of money, not the lack of a husband. She describes the things one could do if they had a dual income. For instance "going to the restaurant" or "a low key Christmas". Jodie Foster is a single parent, I am sure her child did not experience moderate holidays.

I am not in anyway taking away from her letter, but what society is really saying about it being "hard" is the lack of funds. As for the moves, military families move all the time. We are in the foreign service, and we move every 2-3 years.

Still, as a former single parent myself, I love and respect her for what she does for her daughter everyday!!


Simply beautiful!

Christina horne

This is BEAUTIFUL!!! It takes strength to sit down and write this and i commend you for that! I wish you all the best


I could have written this letter for my 11 year old. Change the locations and the desire to play for the NE Patriots and it mirrors my world with my daughter! Even the fencing classes! I applaud Rhoda for the open letter and appreciate that we share the same story.
Thank you for the reminder that my own unique partnership with my daughter is also special.

Wesley's Mom

Touching ! I am now inspired to write my soon to be 7 year old son a "letter of explanation" for his birthday in March. I strive on a daily basis to stress to him how much he is loved. At the end of the day - it's not about me being a single parent. That's a stigma that society uses to describe our household. It's about my son KNOWING without any doubt that he is LOVED ... UNCONDITIONALLY !


I loved this letter. Today is my son's 11th birthday and this is a great way to connect with him. He is on the autism spectrum and although he may not express himself as my older son does,perhaps we can write each other letters! Today he will get a special birthday letter. From one single mom to another, thank you for sharing your story!


It was nice reading about another woman's story or should I emphasize another Single Mother's Story.
I too, am Philipino (Hawaiian) or a mix of and a single mother to a now 2 year old little boy.

His father wished for me to have an abortion or give him up for adoption. I chose to keep my child. A little over a year after my son was born his father passed away from Skin Cancer related issues.

I placed my things in storage in my home state, left behind a wonderful state with wonderful weather not to mention friends; and my son and myself moved to the Midwest. Yep, that is right, did not know a sole.
1 year later, it is still pretty much just my son and myself.

I have "No" family to assist with raising my child.
When he sick and childcare cannot take him, I have to miss work (temp job).
Pretty Scary...Not having anyone to count on.

Christmas in the Midwest was low key, no money to say the least.
Organizations out here are not like the West Coast...where we were placed on a Holiday Wish List. Out here in the Midwest (MN), I was told, sorry we can't help are not of our denomination. But the same Organization helped my son in the West Coast.

Personal Relationships:
The men that I have encountered...just do not understand that...This is MY SON...My One and Only...I Live For Him.
I will not just dump my son with anyone just so we can go for coffee.
If you want to date have to be a family man.
You have to have patience when the child is cranky and hungry and tired...not to mention has not seen my since the early morning beacuse I have been at a temp job trying to provide a life for my Son that I could not provide for him in West Coast.
When you are not a parent let alone a Single parent, you never quite understand the FEAR that Single Parents have...What if something happends to Me...Who will take care of my child?

With us...It truly is as Rhoda put it "Just you and Me".
To: JMKSL....I Love You My Son.


Rhoda, I was the daughter of a single mom, I moved a lot and my teens were a very sensitive time for me- 11 is such a precious age and crossing over from innocence to maturity. I always wished that I had more photographs of my mom and I together. I have none of myself with my mother and grandmother. If you'll accept, I'd love to do a photo session with your family, as a gift for sharing your story and inspiring those who read. I hope to hear from you soon. - Anne

Mary Hagen

What a lovely letter by a remarkable woman to a remarkable daughter.


I am blessed to have a wonderful husband in my life, but still this post responated with me. There have been chunks of time when I have had to leave my daughter, or my husband has been away, so she has been temporarily (yes I understand the difference) left with one parent.

One of the major reasons I was gone so much in her first 4 years was because both my parents (first my dad then my mom) were diagnosed with terminal forms of cancer. I missed her so much and she was still too young to talk to on the phone, so instead I would sit down and write to her. It was my way of documenting a part of her life that she would never remember. This journal kept me sane when caring for my parents. I still write to her now (she is currently 7) and sometimes we sit down and she will ask me to read to her about when she was 1 or 2, etc. She loves these stories, even the sad ones ... so I have promised her that I'll keep writing to her forever.


Just wonderful. Thanks for agreeing to share your story and, more importantly, your parenting philosophy. Kudos to you and your lucky and brave girl.


This was a lovely letter, and as a Single Mom, it has inspired me to write a similar letter to my daughter when she turns 10 in May.
Our story is unfortunately one of loss and tragedy; my husband died suddenly and tragically 5 years ago. I have no family support, but am blessed to have enough resoures to hire part-time help. Nevertheless, as another mom wrote, is truly does come down to money (resources). It is a daily struggle to meet all her needs, as well as mine, with a sense of no safety net and no one looking out for me. Very scary indeed. I've tried to set a good example by showing her strength, resourcefulness, and coping skills, but it never makes up for the fact that her dad will never walk this earth with her again. She will never have her dad at any event in her life. And dating, forget it - men don't seem to get it that single moms and their kids are a "team", a "package deal". I'd love to find a partner to help me raise her, but the ones I've met only seem to be interested in taking me out. I would never bring a man in to our lives who doesn't accept us both. Still, having said all that, I feel enornously fortunate because she is a fantastic, beautiful, talented, intelligent child, and I am proud to say that she possesses those qualities because of all my hard work and sacrifice. Cheers to all us under-appreciated, under-recongnized single moms struggling to make a better life for our kids!

Anjenae Bates

This is so beautiful! I am a single mom with a 5 month son. I explain to my son every month why were "different" with a journal i write to him. My mom is a single mom too and all single moms that are strong like you inspire me to be all that i can be to my son. Your so wonderful to write and explain this to your daughter. Thank you and God Bless!


I was very touched by this and I have actually wrote several letters to my daughter but while I was ppregnant and alone ...She is now 10 and my youngest is 5 and I am a single parent...The hardest Job ever great letter and we are the strongest out here....keep all your heads up high single parents


The letter was beautifully written and of course was written with true unconditional love. I am not a single parent but clearly understand the love between this woman and her daughter. I am married with 4 children. I must confess that I sometimes envy the single parent family with one child especially. You see the advantage is the extra time and the one on one relationship that is shared. It is very hard to be consistent in having special one on one moments with 4 different children with 4 different personalities. I think this is why GOD is so good. He knows how to make a fit with every individual and makes each of us feel special. I too have unconditional love for my children and family and I thank GOD everyday for choosing me to be the mother of 4 special children.

Jen Centeno

it really breaks my heart and overflowing tears.. nice letter, i'll write a letter to my daughter too who is turning 11 soon.. :-)


This is a beautiful letter thank you so much for sharing. I, (a single mom myself) made the mistake of reading while at work and started tearing up! I can relate to all the things you wrote, the moving, the parties, the grandma!! So touching. Grateful to have read it.

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