May 15, 2018

Every year, on mother’s day, my friend Patricia receives a letter from each of her two daughters. She has a stack of about twenty of them, dating back to when her girls hit double digits. Some years it’s a paragraph, other years it’s ten. “I like to know where they’re at, what they’re thinking about.” Collectively, the letters form a beautiful archive into their lives so far. I mentioned this idea to my own children as we dragged our feet through Chinatown after swimming one day. “I don’t want any gifts, but I do want a letter.” Within two days, there were drafts all over the house. My son wrote, and re-wrote his three times. When Mother’s day rolled around, I received a sentence from Antimo, two sentences from Iole and a squiggle from Luma. It’s a start. Mother’s Day, like Valentine‚Äôs Day, often comes with pressure and expectation. It’s the forced show of love and gratitude that makes everyone cringe. Too much of it feels saccharine, and too little scratches at our insecurities. A letter seems like a fair request. And peonies are always a good idea.


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