Wednesday, March 27, 2013

more than any words can show


The inside says:
And hoping, somehow, you will know
that more than any words can show,
you're loved because you're
such a special daughter!
Today this card came in the mail, from my mom. She still sends cards for every holiday. If you could see inside, you'd see a few words underlined twice, including the word "special" before daughter. At the end, she wishes me a happy whatever holiday it is, then punctuates the wish with two exclamation points made to look like bunny ears, with a smile underneath the two dots. (She does this for all holidays, not just Easter.) Then she signs the cards "Love, Mom and Dad, xo xo."

I used to open these cards looking for the twenty dollar bill she'd include. But right around the time she stopped including the money (did turning 30 cut me off?), I started to not care because it was the overly sentimental poetry that became the gift. I used to roll my internal eyes at this fluff, but at some point I remembered all those times standing with my mom in a Hallmark, CVS or Kmart while she picked through cards to send to relatives for holidays. She seemed to agonize over these decisions, while I impatiently told her that both of the choices she showed me would be fine. (They all said the same thing anyway, didn't they?) Maybe she got quicker at picking out cards, I realized, but also maybe not. She might have actually spent time choosing these words for me, even if they weren't her own.

The thing about my mom is that she has very unique ways of caring for people, including her daughters, including me. Her love is both so very pure and broken - and for both reasons it is hard to accept sometimes, but it also wholly hers to give. This took me a long time to understand because, growing up, I guess I expected my mother's love to look a certain prescribed way. Now I understand that driving me all over the greater Philadelphia area for freshman traveling team basketball games, dying my hair against her better judgment and sending me holiday cards with lines under words that she would speak if she could is her way of loving her moody, wandering youngest daughter.

1 comment:

  1. This is deep, Betsy. I've been going through my old things at my parents' and there are SO many cards. My mom's mom (who now makes and prints her own cards with a computer program) would always send us Hallmark cards for birthdays. It's brought back many memories to dig through these old letters.