An Open Letter to My Sons

It’s coming on Mother’s Day and it’s been seven months and four days since I unwillingly said goodbye to you, holding on, tears streaming down my face and yours, too.  But I told myself, its OK; it’s just for a couple of weeks.

It was the day my three oldest sons returned to Tampa for what was to have been a two-week reprieve.  We were moving for the second time in two months- first from Tampa with all five of my sons to New York, (our hometown), and then again to a new apartment, more suited for the of six of us.

After you left, the second move was both exhausting and exciting. The twins and I, along with the moving men, hauled everyone’s belongings to our new apartment carefully chosen for all of you, as we eagerly anticipated your return. We imagined our first Thanksgiving dinner together as a family again in N.Y., and all joy surrounding the upcoming holidays. Two weeks away from you felt like a lifetime. Your twin brothers and I thoughtfully arranged furniture, hung family photos and unpacked your things with the intent of making your home as cheerful and welcoming as we could.

Weeks passed and as much as I tried, I suddenly couldn’t reach you. I realized something was terribly wrong.  It was only after dozens of frantic letters and calls to acquaintances in Tampa, and the fact that you were, as I later discovered,  persuaded not to board the flight I had arranged for you to come home, (after scrounging to pay for your tickets, and mailing your itinerary to Florida, etc.), did I realize I had been shamefully deceived-  deceived in a way that would alter every aspect of not only the lives of your twin brothers, (who were just 9 at the time), but my own life as a committed, loving mother who, prior to this, could never have imagined having been deliberately alienated from you. Naturally, you my boys- three incredible, beautiful sons with endless potential and promise- have had your lives turned into chaos because of an insidious, premeditated attempt to dissuade you from ever coming home.

Had I, as your mom, had even the slightest inkling that I would not see you again, I never would have let you out of my sight that breezy sunny day last September.

Faced with the unremitting torment of our separation for almost 8 months now, I felt obligated, at pleading of my vulnerable twins, to delicately explain where you were, and at their innocent quest for reassurance, comfort them by telling them that mommy would “make it all better” and would bring their big brothers home. (As mother of integrity, I made a promise to my children that, no matter what, I would love them unconditionally- a promise I was not prepared to break.)

 Adjusting to life without out you isn’t an alternative.  Although the twins and I have tried to live as normally as possible, your absence is palpable- (there are only three place settings at the dinner table, at times, the silence is deafening, and holidays loom ominously).  We survive on hope. As a mother I do whatever it takes for the sake of the twins, who have lost their three big brothers, to wear my “happy face.”

No mother should ever have to face an unconscionable betrayal at the hands of another parent- a non-custodial parent.  Our lives have been shattered, and until I am able to hold you and look into your eyes, I will lament.

We’ve never been apart.  Not for one birthday, one holiday, one special day. When all is said and done, your brothers and I will have lost almost an entire year of your smiles, tears, proud moments, outbursts, eruptions of laughter.  Your little twin brothers are now the big brothers.  They light candles at church-three in row, every week, one for each of you.

The tears I’ve shed over missing you quickly evolved into an ocean of fading hope, but as the water grew deeper- my heart clashing the tide, I  realized I went to sleep under the same moon that lit up your night sky and awoke to the same sun that woke you on each new day..

Knowing that, I found the strength as a mother, to fulfill my promise of unconditional love, with integrity. And although the journey to bring you home was (and still remains) a gut-wrenching and grueling experience, my perseverance, my faith and my unstinting love for you, my boys have lead to justice.

In April of 2008, a Florida Magistrate issued a court order stating my three sons to be returned to me, their custodial mother, on June 4th.  And although I have lost my child support, my savings, sold most of my belongings, and ended up in financially wiped-out, having had to compensate for the several flights, legal fees, and loss of my income due to court appearances and exhaustive measures I had to take to reunite our family, I look forward to setting the dinner table for six June 4th, 2008.   Somehow, I will find the means to purchase the plane tickets for the very last time to bring you home to N.Y. for good. And we will be together as a family once again.

    P.S.  I love you.


Dawn Zamanis is a single mom of five boys under the age of 15,  including
identical twins.  She resides in Brooklyn N.Y. and is in the  process of writing
a memoir.  She is an internationally published writer, a  former columnist for
the Brandon News & Tribune (the Tampa Tribune), a  contributing writer at  as well  as several
parenting publications, and now pens a column in  a Brooklyn paper.   ***** — please include e-mail.