An Open Letter

Have you ever been called upon to defend a friend’s character? This is a little different than my usual posts, but it’s important to me. And it needs to be shared.

This is an open letter about my friend, Estelle.

To Whom it May Concern:

I first met Estelle in 1995 while I was living on my farm in Oregon. At the time, she had her own business as a daycare provider. Calling what she was doing a business doesn’t sound right. For her it was a labor of love.

The first time I went to her home, it was filled with children of all ages. It was hard to discern which were her own biological children, and which were the ones that were part of her “business”. It was apparent immediately that they were all “her children”.

As the years went by and she moved on to other endeavors, we would occasionally run in to one of “her kids”. The reaction was always the same; first the squeal of joy “Stellie!” followed by hugs and laughter and telling her all about what was happening in their lives. She would listen intently and asked lots of questions, remembering every detail about their lives.

I have seen her interact with children of all ages and walks of life. She has taken each and every one of them under her wing with love and acceptance. From the sweet little ones to the drug addicts to children troubled or suicidal, she has been there for each of them.

While she has worn many hats in life, she is first and foremost a Mother. In recent years I’ve watched her patiently take on the role of stepmother and despite the challenges, she did it with grace.

Her stepson took to her immediately, as was the case with all of her other kids. They quickly developed a natural bond of mother and son, and it was no surprise to hear him call her Mom.

Estelle included his biological mother in all of their family events, because she wanted her boy to never feel pulled apart or that he had to take sides. There are many family photos that show all of them together under her umbrella of love and acceptance.

This young man is now 13 and unfortunately in the middle of a custody battle. As anyone with a teenager knows, navigating through those years can bring about so much change and uncertainty. In an effort to feel more stable he has asked to live full time with Estelle and his father.

I’ve heard my friend cry many times, and her tears now are not for her, but her son. For the last 8 years she has done everything in her power to keep this extended family together, but it appears the boys biological mother wants to pull it apart. I know her heart is aching for him, and the fear he is feeling right now for his future.

I hope I have conveyed to you what a wonderful mother Estelle is. It is of the utmost importance to her, that her children are happy and thriving in this world. For anyone to question her character as a Mother is criminal.

Most sincerely,

Loretta Sayers 

Thank you for your indulgence…

One of the best Mommies

Reader Comments

  1. Kris

    I first met Estelle 29 years ago when our oldest kids were starting kindergarten. She also did child care back then and also provided childcare for my other 2 younger children when I worked. She has always loved kids!! All of them, and had the utmost patience, pride and love for each one. Each child’s uniqueness was celebrated!! That’s just who she is. Period.

  2. seekandfind

    Sounds like a wonderful woman. What’s sad is society’s perception of someone who takes care of children for a living as something “less than.” I was reminded of this devaluing of nurturers (for that is what they do) when watching the documentary on the life of “hidden” photographer, Vivian Maier. Maier was a brilliant, unheralded artist (by her own choice) who made her living as a nanny. In reflecting back on their friendship, one of her former employers remarked, “How sad that she wasted her life taking cleaning and taking care of kids when she could have been so much more.” (Or words to that effect.) I think that comment speaks for itself. As much as I love the artistry of brillant photography, I could never compare my coffee table book of Maier’s street photographs with the value of the human lives whom she helped to shape (for better or worse) through her care. Her charges had both good and bad memories of Maier who no doubt was herself frustrated in her own ambitions, but my point here is that for good or for ill, Maier helped to mold the lives of dozens of children … making them what they are today. How can that not be considered a weighty and important occupation?

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you for reading and your wonderful comment. Estelle has done the same – shaped the lives of dozens of children. Truly an inspiration, she is.

  3. Carol Dunbar

    Estelle “stellie” was instrumental in the raising of my children. She was attentive, caring and engaged when caring for kids. There is no doubt in my mind why her step son wants to live with his dad and Estelle. I know nothing of his mother and don’t understand why she would want to break what is working with co-parenting her son. He needs his dad especially at this time in his life! I was so thankful to have a stepdad for my son in his teens that was such a positive influence. I have no doubt that Estelle has been a positive influence to her stepson. It’s cliche to say it takes a village but it really does! By tearing up a family unit when co-parenting has been working is just plain crazy business! I hope his mother comes to her senses and listens to her son and HIS wishes. If she doesn’t she will only create resentment and discord with him. She could not find a better “mom” to co parent with that is willing to be inclusive in the raising of this child! I’m so hopeful that a judge will listen and respect the wishes of this young man. Sincerely, Carol Dunbar

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Carol, for sharing that. I have to agree 100%. I watched Estelle include her stepson’s Mother in just about everything they did as a family. I don’t think I could have been as gracious.

  4. Craig Allen

    Couldn’t of said it better. Unfortunately family courts now days put a lot of weight with the child being with both biological parents evenly or what’s called 50/50 custody.

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