teens

Emily became a single mum 12 years ago. Last week, her 14-year-old son wrote her a letter.

This post opens with mentions of mental health and might be triggering for some readers.

In 2008 Emily Jasper’s husband, who had been suffering from severe mental health issues, was hit by a bus.

He didn’t die. But he did suffer catastrophic brain injuries that left him requiring full time care.

She had a three-year-old and a baby at the time, and made the difficult decision to leave him, move to the city, and raise her boys alone.

SIDENOTE: Gretel Killeen on being a single mum. Post continues after video.

Video by Ten

“For 12 years I have worked my hardest as a single parent with limited financial or parenting support to raise strong, kind and resilient young men. I bought my own home and made sure my children would never be hungry by scrimping and saving and going without (like any mother would),” she told Mamamia.

But it hasn’t been easy.

In fact, there have been times when the 38-year-old has felt like she’s failing at everything, especially parenting.

Her boys are 11 and 14 now, and as Emily tells Mamamia, she “always gets compliments on them”.

They’re a close family, and they speak about everything, but what Emily wasn’t expecting was for her teenager – who she describes as “sporty and not particularly affectionate” –  to absolutely floor her with an emotionally mature thank you in the form of a full-page letter.

Emily Jasper
Emily and her boys, Darcy, 14, and Drew, 11. Image: Supplied.
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"Dear Mum," it read.

"I just wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. If I could describe you in one word it would be resilient. You sacrifice so much for Drew and I, it could be from going out with your mates to stopping your future AFLW career.

"You do so much for us it's incredible. I know we've had our differences in the past and we sometimes don't get along. It also seems like whenever we get back on our saddle, we get knocked back down, but we just keep going.

"I love that about us, we just don't stop (like me in the gym). I would even when we're older like to go on many trips across the globe with you, but this time I'll pay because honestly you deserve it.

"The things you do for me and Drew are just... I can't express it. When I was three and Drew was one, yours and my life changed forever.

"You were made to take on the role of mum and dad and to this day I commend you for that. We could have turned out terrible, but look at me and Drew now.

"Good grades, we were thankfully gifted with an ex-state runner and a WAFL Colts player for a father, and also a great sporting family in whole.

"You own your own house and our own dog. Dinner is on the table every night (I am never starved)... we both play two expensive sports.

"You might think these are the simple things but they honestly add up. The things I would like to take from you when I'm older is your hardworking attitude, your parenting and your resilience.

"I know you don't always think you're a good mum but mum honestly you're one of the best mums I know.

"Words cannot describe that and I can't stress that enough.

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"In conclusion, I guess just keep on doing what you do. Working hard and providing because I promise you it will all pay you back and work out. You'll look back in the future and think what a good job you've done. I love you mum and I appreciate everything you do. Remember that mum.

"I love you with everlasting love, Darcy," the letter signed off.

Darcy Jasper
Darcy's letter was part of a school assignment. Image: Supplied.

"We were sitting at a picnic at the school [and he read it out.] I was tearing up a bit... he read it beautifully," Emily told Mamamia.

Emily had been raising her boys with her mum's words in her ear "you don't appreciate how much your parents do for you until you're an adult".

So the letter took her by surprise.

"So many single parents struggle all the time and put their kids before them, that's what you do as a mum. But it is worth it in the end. I've had such a struggle the past 12 years, it's just nice to realise your kids do appreciate you give everything up for them," she said.

"They are much more emotionally mature than I expected," she said.

"I am just so proud of my boys. They do well at sport, they do well at school... and I think 'that's me that's done that'. I am just proud of them, and proud of how we've grown as a family," she told Mamamia.

Feature image: Supplied.

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