Recognizing Our First Love – Mom.
Every year at this time I make sure to go out and buy a beautiful card for my mom and pop it in the mail. It doesn’t take too much effort, but it does the trick to let her know I’m thinking of her on Mother’s Day. This year is different, though. I was recently introduced to Lisa Erspamer’s new book A Letter to My Mom, a collection of heartfelt and moving letters to mom, written by both everyday people and celebrities. I was very moved by the time and effort that was clearly put into each and every one. Writing a letter to mom feels like a daunting task, after all, it’s hard to put in to words all the complex thoughts and emotions that this relationship brings to mind. And yet, I can’t help but think that if I can find the time to surf the internet, exercise, or play with my kids, I should be able to carve out some time to recognize my mother. I’ll still send her a beautiful letterpress card this year, but this time I’ll tuck in a letter to really let her know how much I love her.
This Mother’s Day, we bring you a special Q & A with Lisa Erspamer. We asked Lisa to tell us a bit about her decision to create this book and how it has impacted her thoughts on motherhood.
-Julia Storm, Director of Production, The Mother Company
When did you realize that your mother (and all our mothers) deserve this kind of recognition?
I think that over time I’ve come to realize that my love for letters started years ago when my father passed away. The day after he died, my mother sat me and my two brothers down and gave us letters that my father wrote to each one of us before he died. He had dictated them to her and she had them framed. It wasn’t a long letter but it definitely gave me some insight into how he felt about me that i didn’t really realize before. I can recite it from memory.
It’s so special to have that letter from him, so I think this concept was ultimately born from that experience. Writing a letter is a beautiful way to recognize your mother and I think it’s a gift that they will keep and cherish forever. I surprised my mom with the letter I wrote and she wept – it was definitely a moment.
How did you go about finding the participants for your book?
My team and I scoured the internet, the news and blogs and tried to find amazing stories about moms. We found flash mobs for moms, we found moms who saved their children’s lives – there was no shortage of incredible mom stories! We also reached out to several celebrity friends who we thought would love to write a letter to their mothers. We also held a contest in nearly a dozen school classrooms to find great letters from children.
Was there any one particular submission that really moved you – can you talk about it?
Luis Guitart is a recent college graduate who lost his mother, Sheny, as a young boy. He says in his letter, “I have a great job, great friends, great love, but no matter how much I have, I always think about what I don’t have anymore. You. To say I miss you would be the biggest understatement ever uttered.” When he graduated from high school, he walked across the stage to receive his diploma and held up a sign that said I LOVE YOU MOM. He says “I held it in hopes that in some way, somehow, it would catch your attention, wherever in the universe you may be, and I would feel that presence, see that radiating smile, and know that beyond my doubts, and above my concerns, that I had done good.”
His letter made us all weep – and it just stuck with me and it was so moving.
Interestingly – some of the people in the book are close friends of mine and I felt like learned more about these people from reading their letters to their moms than I ever knew about them before.
What message can new moms take away from this book?
I think this book is great for new moms because they are at a place in their lives where they have an entirely new perspective on everything, and a message they can take away is that they will have a very powerful role in their child’s life… now and forever! The letter writers are all different ages so you can read about different relationships with moms from every stage of life. I’ve heard from some new moms that it was especially fun and interesting for them to read all of the letters because they are able to look ahead to the future and imagine what their role will be like down the road…
What have you learned about motherhood since creating this book?
The thing that keeps coming to mind is that our moms are our first loves… and there is an extraordinary bond there. It’s the little things that we all remember – the moments and mostly the times spent together.
Readers, what would you say to your mom if you wrote her a letter today? Leave us a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of A Letter to My Mom.
Lisa Erspamer: Three time Emmy-nominated producer and President of Unleashed Media, Lisa Erspamer is a creative force who loves to turn a great story into a visual spectacle. Prior to starting her own multi-media company, Lisa served as the Co-Executive Producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show eventually becoming Chief Creative Officer and Executive VicePresident of Programming and Development for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Lisa is the creator of the bestselling book series A Letter To… which includes books: A Letter To My Dog, A Letter To My Cat and her latest, A Letter To My Mom. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her two precious pups, Lily and Grace and is working on her fourth book, A Letter To My Baby!
The Mother Company aims to support parents and their children, providing thought-provoking web content and products based in social and emotional learning for children ages 2-7. Check out episodes of our “Ruby’s Studio” children’s video series, along with our beautiful children’s books, apps, music, and more.Posted in: Expert Advice, Happiness, Emotions, Identity, Family, Loss, Tough Topics