Mom, in Touch
July 25, 2018 6:35 PM   Subscribe

Abby Johnston writes about her mothers habit of leaving her loving, hand-written notes When I was fifteen, while searching for childhood photos of myself for a project with my dance team, I found another tucked inside a photo album that had been sitting at the top of my closet for years. The notes came unexpectedly, and with them, electric shocks of realization: they often turned up when I wasn’t searching for anything at all. The few times I tore through my possessions in moments of desperation or longing, trying to apply logic to her hiding spots, they never surfaced.
posted by dancestoblue (8 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
What a beautiful story. I'm off to dry my eyes and give my kid a big hug.
posted by mogget at 6:50 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Man, I shouldn’t have read this while on a work trip and missing my family; my face is soggy now. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece.
posted by eirias at 6:55 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I had to read this in two pieces, there was an urgent need to write down the early months from my son’s life and a quick cuddle when he woke up hungry. Thanks
posted by astrospective at 8:42 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Very well-written. I need to write more to my kids.
posted by gryphonlover at 8:45 PM on July 25, 2018

My mother got her treatment for breast cancer at MD Anderson and would have overlapped there with Abby's mother for a few years before her death in 1995 at 52. They would have liked each other, I think--my mom was a microbiologist and also both no-nonsense and immensely kind. The hospital is a lonely place and I find that I'm rather comforted by the idea of them sharing tips on professional looking turbans for office wear and the best hard candy for chemotherapy-related nausea.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 11:03 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

My mum did this for me when I was in the throes of crushing, untreated chronic fatigue combined with crushing, untreated depression. My sleeping habits were so extensive that we hardly saw each other. So she started to leave me notes before she left in the morning, in a diary. At first on post-its, every one of them dated, and then in the diary itself, where we wrote to each other. My recovery took years, and for those years we barely saw each other though we lived in the same house, she wrote to me every day. Frequently to remind me to eat, but always, always, to tell me that she loved me. Here's a sampling from an August. She addressed me with my childhood nickname, which I've changed to Eeesie to give a feel of it:

Hi Eeesie,
6/8 Do eat the melons, if you like. Please do not forget your fibre! Have a good lazy day. Love you, Mum.

Hi Eeesie,
8/8 I took a portable hard drive home (in green bag, in passage). It should be easy to install on XP. Try that. There is soup & 1 bone for lunch. Have a good day. Love you heaps, Mum. --> ps there are friands for you.

Dear Eeesie, your "cakes" are in the fridge. Have a good day and see you to-night. Lots of love, Mum.

Hi Eeesie, hope the new cakes are OK. Love you, Mum.

Dear Eeesie, Did you get to call America? Tell me how it goes. Do eat of the melons to-day. Have a good day. Love you, Mum.

Hi Eeesie, Have a good day, Love you, Mum

And so on, and so on, and so on. For years.

These notes kept me alive, and those diaries are my most treasured possessions. I will never know how to repay her.
posted by E. Whitehall at 12:45 AM on July 26, 2018 [14 favorites]

considering doing these for my mom, now, and likely my brother as well--there's a trip coming up where I'll be in his domicile on the other coast.

I wouldn't be alive without my family (and not because of the obvious reason). depression has always been a thing with the bipolar disorder. whenever I felt like I failed my mom would tell me how proud she was of me. it pretty much makes me cry every time I think about it, which easily every week and I don't think I've found a good way to express my gratitude and love. I know they know, but I don't think surprise reminders would hurt. I'm lucky to have her and all of them, straight from the start.

thank you
posted by nogoodverybad at 9:31 AM on July 26, 2018

Oh, man. This was a good but tough read. It makes me miss my dad.
posted by apricot at 11:30 AM on July 26, 2018

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