A Letter of Resignation From My Precocious Child

Brittany Van Horne
Mar 21, 2017 · 4 min read

To Whom It May Concern,

As I’m sure you know, my mother has been a valued member of your team for six years now. Though I realize it may be unconventional to write this letter for her, I insisted that she allow me to take something off her plate. Father splits his time equally between us and his second family overseas, leaving my mother a busy woman. She insists that she alone must ensure I receive the proper balance of education, affection, and culture. (I believe her fear of me having no couth stems from my aunt Patricia’s child, Tybalt, loudly exclaiming, “I’ve never seen a musical” at our last family Christmas party — as if I would ever be so brash. But I digress.) Between taking me to piano, ballet, and French lessons, her life revolves around me, her “précieux ange” — is it not my daughterly duty to try and give back where I can?

It was always my hope for mother that at this job, she may find the fulfillment she so desperately sought. Certainly, letting her go was no easy feat. A mere two weeks into my first month of Kindergarten (as if this weren’t already a stressful enough time in my life, navigating the politics of the classroom), I was struck with the news that I would have to share her with someone else. In the moment, this felt incomprehensible. Mother had been with me every moment of every day, save for the occasional tropical sabbatical, since birth. Begrudgingly, I accepted the fact that during the weekdays, she would leave me to pursue a career. A nanny would pick me up from school, and I would have to wait until 5:30 PM for mother to come home from “having it all.”

Of course, rarely do our dreams and desires play out quite as expected. Mother believed the marketing world was her playground — and for a moment, it was. A queen and her castle, she regaled the boardroom with pitches so fantastically relatable — oftentimes derived from her own experiences raising me. It was she who came up with the iconic quinoa campaign that aimed to market the grain towards mothers of children with “refined palates.” Thanks to extensive exposure to performance in my school’s theatre, I was even given the honor of playing “adorable child sick of cheerios.” What fun it was, to step outside my own shoes for a moment, and pretend I came from a household that would even serve Cheerios to begin with! Mother says it’s experiences like these that have fostered my impressive capacity for empathy. The quinoa campaign was a hit, and in those moments, it felt like mother was untouchable. But alas — like King George VI before her, mother’s queendom unexpectedly came tumbling down.

While the economic implications of the presidential election were immediately clear to me, the cultural ones came as an utter shock. I gathered from my mother that life as we knew it would drastically change. “My cacahuète drole,” she said, stroking my hair, “things will be different now. Gone are the days when sophistication and culture reigned. The marketing world shifted and everyone felt it.” I cried, for it couldn’t be so, but mother assured me it was. She said the new advertising trends targeted what people began to call “real Americans.” They played football, loved barbecue, and coveted guns like collectables. “We live in a bubble,” said said, with tears in her eyes. “I simply don’t know how to relate.”

“Why, mother, why aren’t we real Americans? Fine literature, ethereal art, exquisite cuisine — are these not the cornerstones of modern America? An affinity for beauty makes us the truest Americans, I’m sure!” I plead, thinking fondly of my class’ field trip to the Whitney — the most alive I’ve ever felt in my eleven years. But she shook her head sadly.

For but a moment, I thought we could live as they did. But the football bored me, the barbecue disgusted me, and the guns assaulted my delicate little ears. Mother did not have any more luck assimilating than I, and said I should be focusing on normal child things — playdates with the ambassador’s son, multiplication tables, and being the first in school to have the new American Girl doll. I longed to understand how the other half lived, but deep down, I knew she was correct. A child’s job is to be care-free; and a mother’s, to provide for said child’s every whim and fancy.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I recount this all to you and say that my mother must tender her resignation, effective immediately, to return to life with me, and occasionally, father. They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, and I can only hope my mother finds this to be true of her rendezvous with marketing.

Reverie Laurent

Brittany Van Horne

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