Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to honor the woman who gave birth to us, and I believe that with all my heart. So off to the Hallmark store I go, searching for a card that can express my sentiments for my mother the exact right way–not too sweet, sentimental, not too plain, not too gaudy, expresses the honor my mother deserves and doesn’t make light of the day. Aargh! I think Hallmark should start an Asian Mother’s Day card line! Why, you may ask? Because American Mother’s Day cards often contain sentimental, humorous or other touchy-feely verses that convey that your mother was your best friend, or she was always there for you, or she deserves a break, etc. Not that those aren’t important, but those cards often seem to be missing an element of honor and respect for mothers that is important in Asian culture.

I grew up in a family and culture where Mother was someone to be respected, honored, revered—not someone who was necessarily your “best friend”. In fact, my mom laughed when I asked her why we couldn’t be friends, like many American girls were with their moms. So when I read lines like, “you’re as good at being a friend as being a mom”, I have to put the card down, because it doesn’t apply to our relationship. Oh, sure, I could buy it anyway and send it to my mom for the pretty design, but it just wouldn’t be true. I pity the card writer who has to write cards for me.

In short, when one has a more formal, somewhat distant relationship with one’s mother, choosing a Mother’s Day is a delicate affair. One solution for me that has worked is that now that I have a child, I can always send my mother cards from her grandchild. Now that will be a slam-dunk successful strategy for years to come.