Friday, March 12, 2010

Mothering Sunday

Sunday, March 14th, is "Mothering Sunday" here in the UK - nearly a whole two months earlier than the US Mother's Day.  Although I promise my mom I'd make her a card every year (as I still do for her birthday - seems as though she never grew out of the childhood cards my brother and I made for her, mine always pretty, my brother's humourous) I found myself scanning the shelves of Paperchase for a quick fix this time, choosing a pink cut-out of a baby elephant nestled against its mama elephant, with the words "Happy Mother's Day" embossed below two pink rhinestones.  Saccharine, but sentimental.  Besides, I have two more months to make a "handmade" card for the "real" mother's day.  None of this "You're the Best Mummy in the World" nonsense.  (Sidenote: the elephants remind me of the trauma my mother caused when she put Dumbo into the VCR when I was about six and I sobbed at the part where Dumbo's mom gets put in jail and they link trunks through the bars.  A few weeks later, she tried again with unsuccessful results: to this day, I've never seen Dumbo all the way through.  I've heard they're going to make a musical out of that movie and my six-year-old self sobs in heartbroken anticipation.)

I wear my mother's skinny, brown vintage leather belt almost every day.  During the summer months, I wear it high around my waist over navy blue dresses and white cardigans, in the winter it's hidden underneath the hem of a long cardigan, holding up my jeans.  I don't know why I wear it so religiously, really.  It's not even like it's something special she passed on to me, but rather something I found in her closet and asked if I could keep.  And while it doesn't make me feel closer to her now (Skype chats every morning and night take care of that), it makes me feel closer to her when she was twenty-something, which is when she must have worn it.

The belt is also a constant reminder of the guilt and hate I have of living here, away from her and my family, but also the love and happiness I feel when sharing my (mostly) amazing life here in London with her.  Each time I reach the security gates at Sea Tac airport en route to Heathrow, I turn to take one last look at my mom before taking off my shoes, my bag, my liquids and placing them in the plastic tray.  She is teary-eyed; she looks little.  I want to burn that image into my mind, of what she looks like, how she feels when I hug her, and the way her voice sounds.  Sometimes after I cross security, my eyes wet with tears, I have a sudden panic attack - an overwhelming urge to run through the barriers and hug her one last time before I go, or even better, to stay with her. 

But I can't.  It's like the story she read to me when I was six (everything happened when I was six, I think it was a very difficult age for me!) about the three little pigs.  The story was read to me in Chinese, from a Chinese children's book and I still remember the illustrations.  Whenever my mom got to this part: "And then the three little pigs had to leave home to lead an independent life" I would cry (I was also a major cry-baby, I think I had developmental problems).  "What's wrong?" my mom would ask me.  "I-I-I-don't want to lead an in-in-in-dependent life," I'd howl, stuttering between sobs.  "I d-d-don't want to leeeeavvve youuuuuu," I'd cry.  "Don't be silly," she'd say briskly but gently.  "You will eventually have to leave mommy and daddy, you can't live here your whole life!  Everyone needs to lead an independent life.  Now let's continue on with the story ... otherwise it'll be like Dumbo and you'll never find out what happens to the three little pigs!  Stop being a silly girl now - and stop wasting your tears!" 

Eventually I did get over my separation anxiety - after all, I live in London now.  But I still depend on her for so many things - mostly, her opinion.  I rouse her, half asleep, from her Friday morning slumber to ask, "Mom.  Mom.  I'm in Topshop.  Should I get these skinny jeans or not?"  Or advice: "I cooked this chicken on Saturday, but didn't put it in the freezer.  Do you think I can still eat it?"  Or sympathy (which she has very little of):  "I'm sooooo lonnnneeeeelllllyyyyyyy."  But mostly, I call her to remember what she sounds like and just to hear her voice.

Sometimes I catch my reflection opposite myself on the tube and I almost see my mother looking back at me.  Or when I lose my temper at someone and lash out with a sarcastic retort, it sounds like my mother's voice.  All of this simply reaffirms the fact that I am my mother's daughter, as we all are, our mother's sons and daughters.

Photo source


  1. Oh Jaime, this is lovely. I'm tearing. TOL. Tearing Out Loud. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for reading, Anna. I had a few tears while writing it myself! I guess I am just homesick!

  3. Dumbo is one of my favorite movies to watch with my dad, and to this day, I *SOB* during that jail scene ("Baby mine, don't you cryyyy..."). I completely understand how you feel about being away from your mother; although I am not as far, Florida and New York aren't exactly next door. And I always hear her voice--in the cab telling me to buckle my seatbelt, at the bar reminding me that fruity, sweet drinks might be your best friend tonight, but they'll leave you dead in the morning. Mothers. :)

  4. OMG, Lindsey, that was the song. Just remembering the tune when reading your comment made me tear up. It's *that* bad. How can they make that into a musical?? I'm glad you are close to your mom too. Aren't they special?? :)

  5. Dear daughter, this is your mother (in your mother's voice).

    Thank you so much for this precious mother's day gift. These "thousand words" are worth more than a picture, so no home-made card is required this year. But I have a bucket of tears in front of me now. (to be continued)

  6. mother continues:

    I have always told you that you are my biggest achievement in my life and you have brought us pride and joy. Now go liberate yourself and lose that stupid guilt belt.


  7. Mom, you're so embarrassinggggggggg. Especially the 'liberation' part. Ewwwwwww. (I love you too).


© angloyankophile

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig