why i just mailed 91 postcards

it's made of cheese

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.

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4 Responses to why i just mailed 91 postcards

  1. Val says:

    OMG I am howling as I read this… I have buried so deep many feelings from my childhood. I lost my mom 30 years ago and to say we had a rocky relationship is an understatement. I have felt inadequate as a daughter a wife and a mother… what a fabulous idea. Thank you for sharing.

  2. veronica says:

    Thank you for reminding me that my mother is doing the best that she can with what she has…. Hurts because I really want to have a nice relationship with her but with her Alzheimer’s(though it’s in the beginning stages) I am not a priority. Thank you Chris…seems each year now, I wait for your card because it becomes the highlight of my day. (My son well I disappointed him this year because I have a strange rule, no underage drinking. He’s 20yrs and grounded for coming home intoxicated. He is rebelling.)

    • godotchris says:

      Rebels are usually looking for someone to set boundaries. And that’s what you did.

      I’m sorry to learn about your Mom. Alzheimer’s can be very hard for everyone involved. Hang in there.

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