It happened again.  Another letter from one of my children.  Emma, age 8.  Type-written.

WARNING:  Do Not Open!  TOP SECRET! for Jeff and Susie


dear mom and dad,
can I please have a hamster?  I don’t think the owners [meaning of our house, since we’re renting] would mind.  i always have to play with boys, and Kirsten is never around.  I would clean it’s cage, and clean it’s poop.  Plus, we haven’t had a pet in a long time.  I 100% want a hamster.
your lonely girl, Emma

First off, am I that mom I never wanted to be – the one who doesn’t listen to her kids, so they feel they have to resort to written communication in order to be heard?

Secondly, the Zhu Zhu pets (complete with track) that Emma got for Christmas last year were supposed to completely wipe out any desire in her to own a real-life stinky hamster.  I want my money back.

Third,  Emma pulled out all the stops and used the word “lonely.”

What’s a mom to do?  Cry a little – even while recognizing that the word “lonely” could have been used purely as an emotional manipulation technique – then go to work to fix it.  I’m still figuring out how. I even know that fixing it perfectly is beyond my capabilities.  But by golly I’ll try.  Because that’s my job as a mom.  Plus my name was on the letter.