I nicknamed it the m-day project, short for Mother’s Day project. It started several years back when I didn’t know what to do with the feelings that emerged around the second Sunday in May.
Mother’s Day was hard even when my Mom was alive. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Mom, but to say our relationship was complex, would be an understatement. I remember going to the card store and having a really hard time. The flowery cards just didn’t fit. The humorous cards were mean. The best card I ever picked out had a little girl (about 4-years old) wearing her mother’s bra over her dress. Inside the card it said something like, I will never fill yours. It went over well. It was perfect.
But after she died, Mother’s Day just seemed like a painful reminder of everything. I felt very out of place in the world. I needed a way to channel things. A distraction. And so I sent cards to a few of my friends who had recently become mothers. I went to the store and just bought them. I think I sent 4 the first year. Today I sent 91 postcards across the globe.
I continued doing that for a couple of years. As my friends’ families grew along with my list of recipients, I decided to make postcards from my photographs. It made the project more personal, and to be honest, more economical.
I used photos that were taken in places that I had gone with my Mom. One year was flowers at the Huntington Museum. This year is Paris – my Mom took me there after my high school graduation.
As for who I send cards to, it isn’t a competition. I don’t pick people out. If I had more addresses, I would have sent more. That truly is the only limit.
I believe with all my heart that all parents do the best they can do with what they have. I believe that everyone I sent a card to is a giving motherhood her all, whether she be a step-parent, adoptive parent, or birth parent. I believe that all their children are blessed in that they have someone who loves them like no one else ever will.
There are also a few people on the list who are not parents. I include them because I suspect Mother’s Day is tough because of a loss of a mother due to mental illness, estrangement or death. It is hard to be reminded that what you had didn’t live up to some ideal.
There are also a few mothers on my list who have lost a child. While I know my postcard will never make up for what is missing, I believe it is important to remember them. I believe these women have the most difficult day ahead of them.