om had always been and will forever be a bit off-beat, but unapologetically true to herself. Her career and life choices required her to be so. A passionate doctor of 40 years, I am in awe of her every day. I have heard the stories, devoured the feminist undertones.
I have a particular fondness for listening to her musings on what it was like to be a female med student. I always balk at the fact she was forced to use the nurses locker room away from the men, though she studied to be an MD.
For female med student and doctors, this was a rule. A rule for the rare individual who dared to practice the art of medicine. At least, the ones with a set of birthing hips and a menstrual cycle.
It was the 70’s. What can you do?
My mom is a certified badass in my eyes. She is a superhero — Diana Prince with a stethoscope. What’s funny, though, is she doesn’t agree with me at all, but instead feels this about me. Yes, okay, every mother is enraptured with the gifts their children own.
Though I am childless and will remain this way for my whole life, I have worked with children for many years. I can say it is a true pleasure to see them grow into future productive members of society.
My mother, though, took this to another level, and I don’t mean through financing alone. Yes, we grew up very comfortable, but it was so much more than money. In my junior year of high school, I received my first professional flute from my mother. Without even so much as a flinch, she dropped $10,000 an flute the Altus handmade collection . $10,000. On her sixteen-year-old brat.
Yeah, I know.
When looked at it this way, it seems my mother simply wanted to buy my love. The money helped her achieve the desired effect. what mattered, though, was what lied behind the dollar signs.
I forgot to mention she made a 6-hour round trip with me on a school day. We went to a privately owned shop, which lied in the heart of San Francisco.
I left out the fact she researched many music stores in the city. She wanted me to have the widest selection possible to choose from.
I neglected to inform you of the intense and all important competition I had coming up the very next day. My mother had seen my tireless efforts, the love for my craft, and believed in me enough.
Rewind — -inject these new details into the original snippet. Do you see the difference? The difference is the obvious signs of love. Money had nothing to do with it.
I saw the difference, too, and the next day, I went on to win a Superior rating in the CMEA Bay Festival 2005.
Her belief in me followed me through the years, and I never let go of that flute and what she taught me. I have had the honor of playing in The California State Honor Band. I also made a sizeable income playing in many pit orchestras as a principal in the theater word.
To this day I still play. I am the principal for the local but prominent summer theater festival, as well as the symphony.
I got a tattoo a few days back to remind me of that day that started it all. It features my favorite phrase from Cantabile et Presto by Georges Enesco. This piece earned me that first coveted award. When I hear the music in my head, it tells me:
A mother’s love is the most important kind of love.
At least to me it is.
This brings us to the main event, the story you came here for. I apologize for the long-winded backstory, but I assure you, you will see it’s relevance soon enough.
The final thread will come together in a neat little bow. It’ll wrap up the gift that is the message I hope you find through my tale. A neat little bow, much like the one that adorned the subject, the star of this narrative: my mother’s care package.
“Did you get it?” She asked, the impatience in her voice evident. “I spent a lot of money to rush it to you.”
“it’s downstairs, Ma. Let me go grab it.”
I hate receiving them, I must admit. They are always odd. Most of its contents are products I would never find useful or old clothes she thought I might like. This particular box featured a pair of high-waisted Pepto Bismol colored pants.
I decided to humor her and open the package while on the phone. It had been sitting downstairs for a week’s time, and today was her birthday. The time had come. I’m a decent actress. I could fake it.
“Oh, wow,” I gave my best gasp as I opened the box to reveal a mound of outdated clothes. I rifled through them to get to the core of the box and found a Michael Kors purse. Jackpot! Sometimes my mom really does knock it out of the park. “Thanks Ma, I love it.”
“Yes, of course!” No acting. I couldn’t wait to flaunt it around town.
“Dig deeper. There’s more.”
I rifled through the rest of the clothing to find a thick stack of papers.
“What are these?” I asked. The yellowing pages crinkled beneath my fingertips as I shuffled them. Scrawled, loopy hand-writing adorned the pages that were not typed on a computer. I opened a particularly curious Manila envelope to find a CD titled “The Art of Jazz” and an essay with the same name.
At the top right corner, the teacher had marked my grade, an A+, and a note that said: Well written analysis. Good job.
I remembered this essay, I had thrown it together overnight for a jazz studies course in college. Inspired, I continued deeper, my search revealing countless stories and writing awards. She had held onto them all these years.
I couldn’t stop my eyes from brimming with tears. Much like my beautiful flute, these aged pages now became one of my most prized possessions. I felt seen by one of the people that mattered most.
“Do you like it?” she asked after allowing me to stew in silence for a spell.
“Like it? I more than like it, Ma. Best care package ever.”