Mother’s Day Letter

I couldn’t settle upon tonight’s ponder until I commented on a post by wordpresser sakshivashist. Her words allowed me to remember a letter I had written to my mother as she was packing for a move across the country.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, rather than ponder, I decided to share. We seem to forget that mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings are all people – just like us, and doing the best they can. Instead of building impossible expectations based on story book characters, lets all take a moment to see the people in our lives as beautifully flawed. The characteristic that makes us interesting, and gives dimension to what would otherwise be a flat, predictable world.


When I sat down to write this I thought about writing a thank you , I love you, and will miss you note. While all those are true, and go without saying, I find myself at a loss for words ,which doesn’t happen very often.

I laughed, realizing how appropriate it is, for both of us that clarity is now the dish served cold. On second thought it is presumptuous of me to assume that your clarity is as stone cold. I would be selling you short if I lumped your seemingly endless capacity to take a hit in with my new found acceptance of who I was and why I was so happy.

It’s important that you understand – you make me happy. My thank you is for making me different. For opening my eyes, for making me think, question and imagine. You planted a little seed, so long ago. Sometimes you forgot to water it, sometimes it almost died, in the end, your kindness patience, and nurturing paid off. It took most of a lifetime, yet it finally bloomed.

You had so many dreams. You pictured your life differently. You had no idea you were going to grow the perfect flower. Thank you for making me bloom, for creating something special. We’re so much alike. We’ve both made mistakes that at times crush us with their weight. I forgive you, as you have forgiven me. What’s more important is I’ve forgiven myself; you have to do the same. You need to know that there is at least one person who understands all your dusty little corners. You need to know how beautiful they are when the sunlight hits them. I doubt what I have become would have been possible without your dust bunnies in my flower pot.

Thank you for stumbling and picking yourself up. Thank you for getting a little crazy at times, and for never going completely mad. Thank you for standing by me at the darkest of times, and believing I would pull through. Thank you for hardly ever rolling your eyes when I talk politics or aliens. Thank you for teaching me that Red Winged Blackbirds only nest in bulrushes. You planted a magic bean, instead of a beanstalk, you grew me.

I couldn’t be happier. I’m going to miss you so much. I can’t imagine life without you nearby.


I’m convinced this happened. In part because I know it did, coupled with inexplicable occasions of imagery and sensation. Clouded by perception,  recollections flourish as forces independent of memory .

I didn’t know my mother was a writer; she was a school teacher – went to work every morning,  marked papers at night. We lived on a farm; Mom and Dad, five children – practically a litter of puppies. My sister ten months older, brother eleven months younger, five of us separated by five years.

I remember the oddest things, more often than not smell triggers a snapshot. Bees wax evokes blinding memory of the washing machine tub Dad rigged to extract honey from his bee hive frames. Turning the handle, brass spigot honey drips fill a pail. Magic of sagebrush after summer rain  takes my breath away. One whiff and I’m six again, picking sunflowers on a hillside.Red feathers bolt to the table my father patiently crafts lures for fly fishing.

I remember the doorbell , but can’t picture the man behind it. I smell acrid flashbulbs of the reporter, my mother surrounded by smiling bewildered children against the backdrop of a bookshelf. Even when that bookshelf contained a new set of Encyclopedia Britannica,  my mother’s name embossed on pages of the volume  “Stories From Around the World” – it didn’t occur to me she was anything but a school teacher. I wasn’t old enough to understand she published her first story at seventeen, coincidentally in Seventeen magazine.  Had I known the runner up for the story contest was Sylvia Plath, it wouldn’t have made a difference. I didn’t know she was a writer.

Memories dissolve with age,  becoming pages in a book. Reading it over and over until each word is  known by heart. Time omits pages that make us uncomfortable,  re-writes passages as maturity burdens us with insight. Without warning sensory triggers  cast a spell so powerful, we stand defenseless as years melt away.

I’ve given up trying to remember specific events, living for moments when triggers take me to another time and place. Uninvited recollections live as whispers in the breeze. Gazing at night skies a gust of wind might blow to resting on damp grass, my mother keeping us up past bedtime to wish upon falling stars.  When least expected the smell of bacon in a cast iron pan takes me to an old canvas tent in the woods. Straining to picture Mom proves elusive but I know she’s there, teaching us important things as my father stays home on the orchard. Memories of her depression and bouts of madness live in pages of a dusty old book. I only read them if I want to.Knowing she was a writer wouldn’t change a thing, recollections of the crazy farmhouse I grew up in don’t care for analysis, they march to a different drummer.