A Letter to my Boyfriend’s Mother

It’s been disturbing me how I have found it impossible to begin to express what J means to me. I’ve always been a slow processor, but with the end of our year in Paris nearing, I want to throw all my beautiful feelings on canvases so that I can gaze at them when I’m no longer living with him in Paris.

What started off as a simple facebook message to his mother, turned into my first expression.


I’m really proud that he applied, got selected, and went to the retreat. I love that he didn’t just pass up the opportunity to go to Ireland and on a retreat. And he got them to pay for his 700 euro flight!! Win!!!!

These are just a few things, but they illustrate parts of the amazing character of your son. He is the sweetest most sincere person I’ve ever met. He is so driven, open, talented, well rounded. He speaks with strangers and listens to them with all of his heart. He walks in quiet and thinks about them later on.

He has not the slightest streak of meanness. He doesn’t judge, never calls names, never makes fun, never is sarcastic or backhanded to anyone. His eyes swell with seeing beauty in everything.

I wish you could see how he moves people here. Everywhere we go, people, and even more impressive, Parisians, are taken with him. They accommodate him with his charming little requests that, for anyone else, they would not go out of their way to do.

And even when he doesn’t ask, they upgrade him to the best seats in the concert hall. They upgrade his room to the best room in the hotel, the one with a bay window, the one with an 18th century painting of beautiful woman in a golden frame. They give him free chocolate chip cookies and bags of his favorite barbecue chips at Subway. They swirl whipped cream round and round into a giant pyramid on top of his hot chocolate. They strap their own guitar to him to play on their stage, with their microphone, to their audience.

And they are not disappointed. His face lights up with excitement and gratitude, like a little kid. Blinking fast and turning his head and looking around and breathing quickly and raising his voice, his excitements consume him.

He is appreciative of the little details, of the engraving of a fork, of the texture of a napkin, of the clink of the glasses he makes toasts with about every other sip, of all the different spices in the curry sauce that he’s never tasted before. “This is the closest we’ve ever been to India!” he exclaims. “Think of how India has these rich foods and spices because the spices grow there. England doesn’t have tastes like this because they didn’t have these spices naturally. I love globalization, but imagine the time when you could only taste these tastes when you went to the lands.” I smile listening to him. So much of our relationship is me just looking and listening to him, in introverted awe. I say, “We still can, and we should, and we will!! Even with globalization, we should still go on quests to the birthplaces of foods! There they will be best!” He looks at me overwhelmed, as if I just told him he could grow up to become an astronaut.

Your son is one in a million, or 7 billion as he likes to remind me that the world’s population is now. I can’t tell you how many times I just sit and cry, overwhelmed with gratitude for him. I am right now.

And with my gratitude for him, comes gratitude for you. I know that so much of his spirit, sensitivity, openness, and kindness comes from you. Thank you for raising such an incredible young man.

I suppose that I’ve been on my own kind of retreat for these past days. I’ve felt strange that I know I’ve been experiencing and feeling so much this year but haven’t been able to begin to paint a picture of what I feel. I’ve only been able to say general things, like I’m so happy, he’s so amazing, I’m so grateful. But this little message to you is the first real expression of what I feel. I’m so happy that it is to you. Again, thank you for raising such an amazing person. There’s no one in this entire world like him.

I hope that you have a beautiful weekend.



A Visit from Mother

Much of my life would send my traditional Catholic conservative parents in such a shock that they would think that they lost their daughter to drugs or demons or both. Exorcism anyone?

Fuck that. For the first time in my life, after not seeing her for six months, I responded to her as I wanted to, as uninhibited adult me. I stood up to her consistently, using my mind, backed by the space these months have given me. As best as I could, I addressed and challenged the little remarks and looks, the stories and reactions that have been her tactical modes of bullying or imposing her values on me since I was little.

I’m proud of myself but I’m feeling the pains of letting her role in my life go. She said she felt it too between her tears and hiccups of telling me I’ve changed and she doesn’t know me anymore and I don’t know what love is and I never knew her and I’m wrong for being angry at my father and I’m ungrateful and so on. That hurt me a lot. She told me her loyalty is with my father, not me, not my brothers any more. I guess I understand.

I never felt like she was such a child, so blind or closed-minded as I have in these past few days. I fear that she and I will never be as close as we once were. But were we to be as we once were, I would have to live based on more lies and self oppression. Regression. When we were so close I would flap around the deep-end of their pool of tradition and didn’t have the courage or space or time or knowledge or experience to get myself out. If our relationship was close when we both were choking together, snagged on nets in murky but warm water, then the previous closeness of our relationship is something I will choose to let go. I’m not a child anymore. And maybe that’s the difference between us.

It hurts me that I can’t rescue her. But she says things have changed. 

– M