Checkpoint: a letter to Ethan

Dear Ethan,

You’ve probably got your head stuck in another Minecraft video right now, so I need you to tear yourself away from YouTube for a few minutes. I promise this won’t take long and then you can get back to what you were watching – just one final video before cleaning your bedroom, ok? I know you’re rolling your ten-year old eyes at me while reading this but you know the deal: chores equal pocket-money.

You and your dad are my world, I’ve told you that often enough. You make being a stepmum more easy than I deserve but sometimes, it’s more difficult than you’ll ever understand. It’s so hard to watch you feel the need to compare yourself to everyone around you and see you crushed when you consider yourself lacking; then even harder to hear you say you don’t believe us when we tell you just how awesome you are.

There are so many amazing things about you and maybe me putting them into words for all the world to see will finally convince you of them. I know part of you will blush and moan at me for being ’embarrassing’ but hopefully the other part will forgive me, and finally start to realise what makes you so special. I’m willing to take that risk.

Rezzed, video games, gaming, expo, Ethan

One area you should never compare yourself to others in is imagination. You’re more imaginative than anyone I’ve ever known and you’ve been making up your own stories since the day we first met. Remember how we were supposed to go to the supermarket to buy supplies for a picnic, but instead you had me running around the aisles with you while hiding from your dad? We were the brave soldiers and he was the enemy. He wasn’t best pleased when he finally found us hiding underneath rack of dresses in the clothing section, but it was kind of funny.

Now you’re getting older, you’re starting to make up plots for video games and keep your ideas for them in your notebook – and I appreciate the fact you’ve added a particular character to some of them, a female protagonist who’s clever and kicks butt at the same time. Maybe one day we can sit down together to write a post about all your plans and share them with everyone.

Those worlds exist inside your head only. Nobody else can create the stories you do or send us on the wild adventures you come up with. Don’t ever change and let that spark die because I tell you what, kid: it’s going to take you to all sorts of wonderful places when you get older.

Insomnia, video games, Ethan, Kim

Stop comparing yourself to those you watch on YouTube and getting frustrated when you can’t complete a game as quickly as they appear to do. Stop worrying when your friends at school tell you they’re better gamers and you’re so far behind them. Those YouTubers edit their videos but they can’t edit real life; and it’s highly likely your friends are fibbing when they shout about how great they are. (Also, if they really are playing Call of Duty at the age of ten, someone needs to have an urgent word with their parents and tell them they need to spend more time with their kids).

Video games are meant to be fun and we each play for all sorts of reasons – winning is only a small part of it. Your dad plays because he likes exploring every part of a game and looking for secret objects and trophies. I like getting wrapped up in the stories and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. And you, I know you like pretending to be the characters and making them a part of your next plot. In fact, most people I know enjoy video games for reasons other than winning – maybe I’ll share them in another letter to you soon.

I know it’s hard but try to push all those doubts to one side and just keep being you. Keep playing video games, keep having fun, and keep creating your fantastical stories. Your dad and I think you’re awesome just the way we are, and the world wouldn’t be as bright a place without your wonderful imagination.

We’re proud of you.

All my love,

Your stepmum   x

16 thoughts on “Checkpoint: a letter to Ethan

  1. Very Nice Words 🙂 Sounds like Ethan’s got a cool Step Mom to me and also Ethan should just he himself he shouldn’t compare himself to others I did this when I was in high school and it didn’t get me anywhere. So Ethan if your reading this your cool just the way you are dude 🙂 😎

    Good Post Kim 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so sweet. I hope that Ethan learns that comparing yourself to others as a video gamer is something that is pretty pointless sooner rather than later.
    I only came to terms with the fact that everyone has strengths and weaknesses in different areas of games and everyone has a unique play style recently (although I was a bit of a gaming loner in my youth so I didn’t tend to discuss it with others until a few years ago). It’s very frustrating having people try to prove that they’re a better gamer or make you feel like you have an inferior play style, it must be really disheartening for a 10 year old, but once you come to terms with the fact that every game is there first and foremost to be played for fun and that when you can just have fun with them it’s easy to just say to the people going on about the millions of trophies they’ve earned and critiquing your play style “well good for you, that’s your way of playing, this is mine, we’re both having fun in our own way” =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ethan tells us about some of the conversations he has with his friends at school and it’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect. Everybody claims they’ve completed the game faster, with less deaths, with higher scores, with more trophies.

      While it’s easy for us as adults to tell that most of this is exaggeration, when you’re ten you tend to believe everything your friends tell you! I’m hoping that this ‘letter’ and these comments will help Ethan see he’s just great the way he is.

      You mention that playing video games is primarily for fun. We can sometimes forget this as gamers – whether we’re ten or 100 – and it’s important to remember the sheer enjoyment that comes from picking up a controller. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Worrying about what other people are capable of, or achieving, just leads to disappointment. There’s over 7bn people on the planet, there’s always going to be someone out there better than you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try in the first place, or have fun doing whatever it is.

    Are there better bloggers out there than me? Absolutely. Are there better Overwatch players out there? No question. I have fun blogging and playing Overwatch. The only person I feel the need to compare myself to is past Dan. I’m better at blogging and Overwatch now than he was, hopefully I will keep getting better too.


      • People often take that to mean “so you shouldn’t compete?!” and to that I say pshhhh. Competition is fine, healthy even, but it’s like everything in life. A little is good, getting obsessed with it or stressed about it, probably not so good 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is really lovely, growing up is hard but even more delicate when their younger, I’m sure he is most grateful to have you in his life ❤


  5. Aw! I loved this post 🙂 I found it very inspiring. Ethan is very lucky to have you watching out for him.


  6. This is so sweet! I hope Ethan never loses his creativity and passion, they’ll be his greatest strengths in life ^_^ and it helps that he has a stepmum as supportive as you!


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