Dear Son, Don’t Worry: My Mom Ruined My Life, Too (And I Survived)

Dear Son,

Summer’s almost over, and you’ve already outgrown the pants you wore to your middle school graduation just two months ago. You’ve memorized your class schedule for the upcoming year and the high school sports physical form is overdue. You’re already hoping for a certain locker location and lunch period at summer’s end. It’s crazy that’s where we are right now.

And it’s true what they say: The days are long but the years are short. I mean, let me just tell you…the days? All of the days? They were LONG AF.

But now, I’m looking at a picture of you in preschool. And that was TEN years ago. A decade ago. And suddenly, I can’t remember what we’ve been doing with all that time since you were 4, and I panic that maybe we’ve somehow squandered it…because just like that it’s GONE.

Dear Son, my mom ruined my life, too.

But we didn’t squander it, of course.

We lived every minute of it. In fact, we squeezed the LIFE out of this decade; we wrung it dry.

We’ve traveled – to nearby states and far off countries. We’ve spied on sloths in the wild in Costa Rica and tapped our feet to blues music on Beale Street. We’ve sung along to “It’s A Small World.” (Annoyingly catchy little tune, isn’t it?) We’ve stayed in on snow days and broken in more than a few sleds. We’ve mastered algebra and spelling together. (For the record, spelling was so much worse!)

I’ve seen you and your friends off to dances and pool parties and go-kart races. I’ve hosted video game marathons and I’ve learned more than any human should ever learn about something called “FORTNITE.”

We’ve fought and yelled and slammed doors and made up and fought again.

It’s been a great decade. Not a perfect decade – but a great one. And now it’s over.

Which means it’s time for the next leg of the journey. Are we ready for it?

While the last decade could well have been called “The Wonder Years,” the next decade (or at least some significant portion of it) will most likely be remembered as “Those Years In Which I Ruined Your Life.”

This may shock you but I was in high school once. I broke rules, studied hard, had my heart broken wide open, and went to a few parties. Good ones. No, really.

You see, my son. I know a thing or two about high school. No, really.

As a result, I will be withholding car keys occasionally, and imposing curfews. I will be reminding you incessantly of my zero tolerance for drugs and underage alcohol use and I will likely forbid you from going to several of the “most important parties of the YEAR.”

I’ll catch you in lies and I’ll ground you for them.

I’ll be making you do your own laundry and learn how to cook for yourself.

I’ll say no when you ask for more spending money, but I’ll drive you to the interview for your first part-time job.

I will make you introduce me to your first high school girlfriend, and maybe even try to have a polite conversation with her. I will introduce myself to your friends. I will look them in the eye and expect them to do the same.

I will forget myself and hug you in public after you score a hockey goal, or beat a personal best at a track meet.

And when you don’t.

I will show up to parent teacher conferences. I will invent excuses to volunteer at your school occasionally.

I will ignore your demands to “pretend you don’t even know me, Mom, and whatever you do, do NOT say hello to me when I am with my friends.”

As I said, I was in high school once. And my mother ruined my life too.

So I know exactly how it feels. And how grateful you’ll be. (But not for another decade or so.)

You’re welcome.

xo, Mom


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About Amy Impellizzeri

Amy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, and the 2019 recipient of Ms. JD's "Road Less Traveled Award." Her most recent novel, WHY WE LIE (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2019) takes on the #metoo movement, the role of media in contemporary politics, and actually predicted the recent college admissions scandal before it even happened. Read Early Praise here. Amy is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015), (featured by ABC27, Above the Law and more), and numerous essays and articles that have appeared in online and print journals including: Writer’s Digest, The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, Grown & Flown, and more. She is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, a past President of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, a 2018 Writer-In-Residence at, and a frequently invited speaker at legal conferences and writing workshops across the country.

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