Although my mother acquiesced to text and Facebook, she was very much of the rotary phone and pen and paper generation. Long after she finished with the hands-on raising and nurturing phase of parenthood, she showed us she understood, supported, thought about, and loved us by snail-mailing missives to myself and my sister, and then to our children.
She’d send me carefully cut out clippings about Shakespeare or yoga, along with coupons for coffee yogurt. She might send Suzanne articles on preschool art projects and dog food discounts. Always with a note, in her distinctive hand: Thought you’d like this, my honey. Love ya, Me Mom.
Sometimes she’d stuff so many into an envelope that they’d flurry out onto the floor like confetti. Usually, these messages in a paper bottle made me feel hugged from afar. At least I knew someone in Florida was thinking about me. Every now and then, if I were overwhelmed with kids and life, I’d roll my eyes and think: Who has time for this? How I rue those moments and miss the mailings now that she’s gone. Always, though, I thought, this is so her!
Now, I clip and deliver. Articles on architecture for Suzanne. Birding bulletins for Julie. Education ephemera for Jessica. Dylan details for Dustin. Film and photography facts for Devon. And shiny red apples of The New Yorker cartoons on authorship for my writing instructor.
“That’s so like mom!” my sister says, and smiles.
“That’s so like grandma!” the boys say, sometimes rolling their eyes.
“My mother did that all the time,” says my teacher. Everyone in the workshop chimes in with remembrances of things sent by their own mothers.
“Yes, my mom did this all the time, too.” I say. “It’s so like her.”
I feel proud to have, unwittingly, taken on this mantle of clipper and sender of ephemera to those I love. I smile to think that in this little way, I’m so like her.