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Love letters from my mom


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This post is part of a two-part series sponsored by Yahoo! Mail. It’s something I’ve been meaning to write anyway.

I am a saver. I have the shoeboxes (and baskets and files and more boxes) to show for it; cards from my grandmother, notes passed in grade school, mementos from vacations, flower petals from celebrations so long ago I have no idea who gave them to me. All of them live in my home, and show no signs of ever going away, unless they suddenly grow feet, steal a pair of my old Pradas and hoof it themselves.

This year,  I realized I don’t need all of it. Most of it yet, but not all of it. I decided I would finally toss the December 1989 Italy trip photo album with the long-ago ex. That’s a big move for a sappy, sentimental, nostalgic type like me.

There’s one box though that’s never going anywhere, and it’s a single file in my inbox that I’ve had for about six years.

I named it Mom Mail.

It contains nearly every email my mother has ever sent me.

Because if you had my mom, you would know how very saveable her emails are.

I’ve got long emails, short ones, funny observations, links I must follow, and a whole lot of You Go Girl rah-rah mom support. I’ve got poetic observations about my kids. Thoughtful wisdom about problems. Hilarious commentary about political news and articles I must read. Yet? Not one single chain letter. Not one “forward this to a friend and Bill Gates will send you $50.”

Not one sappy e-card with bad auto-play music.

Take note, other relatives!

Flipping through the file this morning, I love you can put together a fairly accurate portrait of my mom simply from the subject line.

See What’s Getting My Goat Today

re: ThankYouStephenColbert.org

This show looks so funny!

Blogs, yours

FW: Thank you for fostering an orphan elephant

FW: Anne Carson’s  “Gnosticism V”

When the pupil is ready the teacher appears

Re: Bosnia

Re: One more post on feminism. Nice!

For ‘EcoMoms,’ Saving Earth Begins at Home – New York Times

I hope today was better than you thought

Photo: Sage and Itchy and Scratchy

But of course, the best part of her emails are the little gems inside:

Thank you for the photos of Thalia. This gift, this child, this chance to see the future in a baby’s face.

How did the sleeping go last night? Send Nate to us for a week. Or send the baby to us. Yeah, that sounds good!

Haven’t you noticed that it is absolutely no longer cool to think about, write about, or wear fashion in these times? Even if you’re Kate Moss. Gay men and the staff of French Vogue are exempt.

Liz, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to read these intelligent, sensitive, literate words, ones that validate all that I feel-have ever felt-and will continue to believe long after many around me snicker and roll their eyes each time I posit an opinion. I’ve never been part of the mainstream, as you must know. I’ve paid the price, but the price of going along to get along isn’t even worth thinking about.

oh, my god…goddess. You’re asking the grandmother if this picture of the baby is perfect? Does a bear poo in the woods? If makes my heart sing. Mom

“I could make that sweater,”she said as she drifted off to sleep. “Oh, yes, I already did.” Then she remembered that she was no longer 35 and that her dreams had taken a different turn.

Dear Thalia, The peas are coming to an end for the year. We’ve picked enough to freeze and to make soup for dinner tonight. Please ask your mother or father to bring you here to pick more peas before they are mere memories. Or, figure out another way for us to get them to you.

Thanks for bringing me into  the 21st century with the newest symbols. 
:o P to the wet weather
:) to Thalia, Emily, Nate, and you
and a little ;) ;) to the truth

I loved catching up with your blogs this morning. Reading what you’re thinking about gives me goose bumps. It’s one thing to be with you; quite another to hear the inner voice. I’m so happy to know the woman you are becoming. And I promise: the best is yet to come.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it all. I’ve thought about putting them together in a book. (But then someone beat me to it, rats.) Or maybe I’ll just put them together for my girls. What a gift to have  grandmother like this.

And what a gift for me to have a mother who does this in an email. Just because.


This post is part of a two-part series sponsored by Yahoo! Mail which helps you keep in touch with friends and family in kinda the easiest way possible.

35 shards of brilliance… read them below or add one

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com May 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I'd save those too. It sounds like the relationship you have with your mom – in e-mail and in person – is wonderful. Why relegate any of that to mere memories?


Magpie May 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I'm kinda all teary.


Kristen May 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Wow! That's so nice to read! I saw a gmail commercial last night that made me tear up…it was a about sending your memories via email to your kids. But I got the idea from you first ;)


Kristin @ What She Said May 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Well, now we know where you get your writing ability. :) What a beautiful relationship you share.



I vote you make a book for your daughters AND publish a book for all we other daughters from other mothers. Here's your deadline. By this time NEXT mother's day. GO!


Ashley295 May 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm

:) she sounds like a mother worth emulating. You and your daughters are so blessed.


sarah doow May 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm

That's quality email. I must admit that I don't send or receive much of it myself, so it's lovely to see that someone out there is!


dina May 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I loved these! I can totally see where you get it from. Your mom is witty, hilarious, talented, and every other complimentary word I can think of. Just like you. I was teary too …


Issas Crazy World May 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I love this. My mom sends real mail. To me, to my kids. I have every single piece of it. Every card, every note, every long letter. Priceless. I'd save those boxes in a fire. I really would.


Fairly Odd Mother May 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm

So lovely! And what an amazing treasure to have.

It makes me a little bit jealous since my mom doesn't even know how to turn on a computer.


Motherhood Uncensored May 6, 2011 at 1:18 am

How touching, Liz. But not surprising, knowing both you and your wonderful mom.


Julie Marsh May 6, 2011 at 2:26 am

Your mom is wonderful. As are you. Love the relationship you share.


The Ligocki Family May 6, 2011 at 2:32 am

Wow. As someone without a mother-daughter relationship, I'm both envious of you and grateful that relationships like this do exist.


MANDI May 6, 2011 at 3:20 am

I love your Mum (sorry, Mom!) I wish she was mine. Or at the very least that mine was more like her.


Ericka May 6, 2011 at 3:20 am

very very cool.


stephanie May 6, 2011 at 5:25 am

Gah, should not have read this post right now. Just finished my own post about my mom for Mother's Day and am really missing her — she passed away six years and like your mom, was a prolific and brilliant email correspondent. I also have crates of all the “real” letters we exchanged from the time I was about 11 (summer camp) all the way through grad school. When she died i was able to take back my letters from her house and collate them with hers. It's an epic collection and I cherish it.


Mom101 May 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

That's awesome Stephanie.

Thank you all so much for the nice words. Yeah, my mom is kind of great. And this made her teary too.


Kristyn May 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

Now I know where you get your amazing writing talent from. Those are really special!


Mama Sweet Pea May 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

It is so wonderful that you enjoy them, someday when she is gone, you will treasure them even more.


The Dalai Mama May 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm

You are so lucky and it is clear that you and your mom know how lucky and blessed you are.

I wish for a relationship like this with my mom–or a mom like this. I don't have it and my mom is not the maternal loving type. My mom's idea of mothering and support is to ask my about my dissertation and then mock what I am studying because she isn't intelligent enough to understand. (sorry for the negativity–it comes out when I think about what she should do)

This gives me hope that I can have the relationship that I want with my daughter. Thank you.


Rachel May 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I love this. Thanks for sharing.


The Empress May 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm

You are so very, very lucky.

I can't even imagine.

My mother hasn't even sent me a birthday card in over 10 years.

You are lucky lucky lucky.


Scott May 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I'd definitely suggest putting them together for your girls! Though a million strangers would enjoy reading them, they'd have far more meaning for your daughters!


clueless but hopeful mama May 6, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Sounds like you have a similar relationship with your mom that I have with mine: honest, loving, supportive, complete. We are so lucky to have this, above all else. What a gift!


roo May 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I think I love your mom.


t_crafty May 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm

You have to turn it into a book for your girls. And also, I'm so envious!


Samantha May 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

You are both so lucky. What a beautiful relationship you have. Thanks for sharing it here.


Danielle-Marie May 7, 2011 at 1:31 am

Your mom and you are identical beauties! My mom is behind on the times when it comes to computers but I've saved every email from my dad. They're so special to me too.

I think you should make a book out of it to show the girls. Definitely


Marivic May 7, 2011 at 3:25 am

I can't see the screen though my teary eyes. What a beautiful expressive mom you have, and what an equally beautiful expressive daughter you are.

Happy Mother's Day to you both!


Denise Laborde May 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

Luck girl, Liz. And lucky mom too. Lucky mom because she knows how to be awesome towards you.
My mother is the opposite of this. I've always felt my mother simply does not have the tools to have a loving and genuine relationship (with anyone, let alone her three daughters).
That's not what the universe had in store for me. But it did for you and your mom. And it's very beautiful! You are so right to keep each and every one of those messages.
Thanks for sharing,


The Yummy Mummy May 8, 2011 at 4:39 am

I'm a little in love with your mom. She's awesome!

And your relationship? Rare. That kind of unconditional support and encouragement? Rare. It makes me happy just to read about it.

Happy Mothers Day to you both :)



Rowgirl08 May 9, 2011 at 12:12 am

Most days I slide by the swiftmjane emails still in my inbox, but sometimes I need to read again her thoughts, her joy in her granddaughter and expected grandson. Especially when I realize this is the second Mother's Day without her.
I miss her and thank you Liz, for making me feel like I'm not totally crazy to still have them there.


deb colarossi May 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

emailing my daughter right now…
thank you,

and you are so blessed. and you shared. thank you for that.


Sarah May 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Oh, that last quote from her…she's amazing, you are so lucky – and so is she. What an amazing family of women you have shared with us!


MDTaz May 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I can only imagine how spot-on your mother must be, given your knack for balancing wit and feeling.

I, too, saved many email messages from my mother, whom I lost to leukemia last year but occasionally when I'm missing her or feeling a bit orphaned, I click through and read some of her gems. This is not done without tears, but they are good, strong tears and they bring me home to myself and to who I am because of her.

So keep saving them. Relish them now and you'll be able to relish them later too.


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