I haven’t spent a Mother’s Day in the company of my mother since 1995. From the West Coast, I moved east for college and farther east for graduate school and still farther east for my husband’s job until I was only a few hours from the East Coast. I had no intention of moving away to such a dramatic extent, but having done so, I was left to ponder a perennial question: how can one properly celebrate the maternal relationship when some three thousand miles stand in the way of brunch? My belated cards and modest gifts always felt inadequate, since the only appropriate present was presence—impossible presence.
Several years ago, I had the idea to give my mother a subscription to the Letter of the Month Club as her Mother’s Day present, and I’ve renewed it annually ever since. It’s as simple as it sounds. Once a month, I sit down with some respectable stationary and write her a substantial letter. I’m always behind schedule, but I feel as though this gift is a bit closer to what it should be because it means consciously celebrating Mother’s Day all year long. Although I share the news from my side of the country regularly enough by text or email, the time involved in writing a physical letter creates a sense of intimacy that approximates conversation over tea better than the immediacy of electronic exchange.
There’s a tendency to romanticize old-fashioned correspondence, now that it seems superfluous to modern life, but as a regular practice, it’s not so much a romantic indulgence as a discipline. In that sense, it’s an appropriate token of gratitude for my mother’s years of conforming herself to obligation, as parenting requires.
Celebrating Mother’s Day at Literary Mama means celebrating our raison d’être; we’re dedicated to a continuous observance of Mother’s Day, commemorating the gains, losses, and ongoing work of women everywhere. Please join us in our celebration with the May issue!
P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog or by following us on social media. Also, explore our archives to discover more mothers’ voices!
The Sound of a Calling: The Move In by Julianne Palumbo
A Life in F# Major by Amy Doyle
Dairy Farms: A Glossary for the Farmer’s Girlfriend Before her Child Leaves Home by Nancy McCabe
Blue by Hollin Stafford
Prayer on the Days of Awe by Jamie Wendt
Happy Mother’s Day by Siham Karami
Amending the American Cuisine by Shahé Mankerian
My Twenty-Seven-Year-Old Daughter Back Home For a Few Months by Sarah Dickenson Snyder
Nine Months by Jane Yolen
Between Fantasy and Truth: A Review of The Hour of Daydreams by Janet Irvin
Images by Liddy Hubbell, Jennifer Henriksen, Lyn Scott, Cynthia Christine, Carol Maney, and Heather Vrattos