Skip to main content

Messages for Mother's Day

In this age of highly targeted, individualized marketing, the number and frequency of marketing messages I receive about Mother's Day take me by surprise. "Celebrate Mom." "Color your mother's world." "Brighten her day with flowers." These messages come via email, direct mail, and in person. I purchased periwinkles at a local nursery last week, and the store employee who assisted me said, "Just in time for Mother's Day."

My mother died seven years ago. I find it surreal, on the one hand, to receive all these reminders about Mothers' Day--and, instructive, on the other. Surreal, because I miss her still, because her absence is as alive as it ever was. I loved shopping for something to "brighten her day, color her world, and celebrate" the woman who was my mother, my teacher, my friend, and my soul's companion. And instructive, because these messages make me stop and remember . . . . not only Mother's Days past, but so many other days and memories connected to my mother.

As most children do, I wanted to be able to "surprise" her with something on Mother's Day. Yet I was as often the one surprised, because my mother used Mother's Day to "color my world" with a message of her own. More often than not, until illness stilled her hand, she would write me a note, telling me how grateful she was to have me as a daughter, to have become a mother for the first time with my birth.

Then, one day, a child was born to me. A son. Who, during these past 30 years, has been my son, my friend, my teacher, my soul's companion. He is a great note-writer, too. (It must run in the family.) I have kept one of his notes by my desk for more than 20 years, and every year it means more. It represents all we need to say to our mothers on Mother's Day--and other days. It represents everything I would say to my mother if she were here today and everything I would say to her, could I see her on the other side of this life. If your mother has moved on ahead of you to the next world, and you, like me, wish you could send her a present that would somehow break through the borderland between here and heaven, then print out this note, penciled by a child just learning to write on a remnant of colored paper. Whisper its contents, say them, sing them, write them on a balloon and send it flying. Or, if your mother is still with you here, then write these very words on any piece of paper, and hand them to her. There may be other gifts that your mother would like, but none more necessary or more complete than this:

Text and images, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa, 2008


annewalker said…
Awww this is so heartwarming post. Love his personally written Mothers day messages for you. so cute. And since another mother's day is around the corner, let me greet you.

anne xxxx

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:

The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your don't need to open it... you know tha…