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Letter to My Sons

By Sophie Rouméas

Painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau, Rest, 1879


The day I became a mom,

I was already far from the world of my childhood.

Though still young, I learned to navigate

between the troubled waters of the past

and hope for a happy future.


For you, son of my early maturity,

I cultivated the audacity to be a mother

while others were working on their careers.


In your father, I found

the rooting of a young woman in flower,

he became my reason to love

in a saving and passionate way.


I loved carrying the dawn of a new future within me so much—

to make the most beautiful gift for your father,

and for you, the sweetest welcome.

From the elders, I was given

the right to choose my freedom.

I decided there was no age

more appropriate than an inspired love.


You grew up

with beautiful light in your heart.

Your orphan father rocked you happily

when you were a baby.


When our lives became

more chaotic than serene,

I had to tap into the elders’

strength to leave.


I had to become a confident young mother.

You shaped yourself in that time of the two of us,

created your own garden

without your father.

At nightfall, I would ask the elders to pray

with me to keep you safe.


Then, one renewed, youthful evening,

a man walked towards me,

time suspended in the air.

I kissed him whole and fully.


Welcome, my son of the second flowering.

We have united our destinies with your father,

who embraced me with your brother

like his natural family.


We plunged first into the lagoon waters,

wove the joy of friendships,

confronted some dragons together,

then joined our two fluids to birth you.


Our family thus grew.

Your father, your brother and I—

we loved you straightaway.

From our little buddha you became

the amazing young man you are today.


Between being an active woman,

a home and work partner with your father,

an attentive mother, with all

my dimensions—my rights and my duties,

caring for our family,

I could do and be everything from morning to night.


Then, one day, the inevitable.

From queen and king of our realm,

we became no longer inseparable.

A period of torment—

our values, our dreams collided.

The for-life puzzle came apart,

a divorce was granted.


Family law came to the fore,

we separated our property and set rules

that a judge endorsed on a piece of paper.


You became one of the 1.6 million French children

who live in blended families.

To be conscious parents for you,

we will always have to overcome our discord.


I had to tap into my strength again,

to be a single mother again,

to recreate serenity.


From those years in halftones,

I took the right to train myself

to better understand human nature,

to heal me and then to heal others.


I made peace with my duties

so, for you both love remains your right,

and the center of our destinies.


We, your family, will always care for you.


My sons, you are on your way.

May life dance with you,

may you love and feel loved,

may the trajectory of your soul

be toward light, happiness and fulfillment.


The recurrent involution of our humanity

could never extinguish

your freshness and dignity.


Our world is changing.

You are part of the change.

Whatever your choices,

I wish for you consciousness and confidence.


Feminism is reconciling with the masculine,

men and women are redefining themselves.

Don't be afraid of the woman; learn her.

And let her learn you.


Some will always believe

that woman was created from Adam's rib,

and the rights of women

are extracted from (hu)Man rights.


But I know you know:

Woman and man are each composed of

80% water, cells full of vacuum,

star particles,

a brain, a heart and a soul,

many miracles, the first being Love

(whatever excesses have been associated with it).


Every human being has the right to love and be loved,

and the responsibility to respect life inside and around.

If one makes happiness his or her quest—

even if one pursues no quest—

let it be known that all paths begin within you.


With all my love,




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