A Letter to Maya: A Tribute To My Mother.

Thank you, Maya.  The story of how your beautiful work has affected my life knits the threads of mother and daughter together.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

(Hi Mom!!!)  Jill holds her copy of Maya Angelou book "Letter To My Daughter" that her Mom gave to her as a Christmas gift in 2008.  28 May 2014.

Thank you, Maya.  You truly are a Phenomenal Woman.  My mother bought me your book "Letter To My Daughter" when you released it in 2008.  I absolutely love it.  It was especially moving for me to read.  I was 25 then, and it helped me as I fought to find a place within me to reside, a place to be.

There was a series of Hallmark cards you did with your beautiful quotes.  My mother gave me three or four of them that I have found over the years, tucked into books and piles of mementos that have traveled with me from place to place.  As I look over each of the cards, I see I received them around 2002-2003, around the age of 19-20 as I was carving my path in the world.  

One of the Maya Angelou cards my mother gave me for my 19th birthday.  28 May 2014.

I just now photographed the above card.  I had it sitting on my bookshelf.  Just unearthed this beautiful card not two weeks ago as I went through a box of "forgotten" things.  Upon closer inspection, you'll notice there is a puncture hole from a tack at the top of the card.  I can't remember where I had this card hanging, but I imagine it hung in one of the apartments I shared with a group of gals.  It was important to me then, it is important to me now.

I have a memory.  It's fuzzy.  Sitting on the floor in my bedroom.  I would have been in high school.  15 or 16 years old.  Reading the poem "Phenomenal Woman."  I remember thinking, "oh that's cool...I think I'm like that, I think I'm a phenomenal woman, or at least that's who I want to become..."  In my faded memory, I imagine myself running up the stairs, seeing my Mom in the kitchen fixing dinner, and I lean against the butcher block and tell her about this awesome poem, knowing intuitively she had already read it.  And maybe she had given me that book, or that copy of the poem, and I really can't remember...but I know she did.  

The front of one of the Maya Angelou cards my Mother gave me.  Shown here, I have incorporated the card into a piece of collage art I made in November 2013.

Mother, you have been so supportive of my journey.  Believing in me then, believing in me now.  Maya, your words create an arc, a great vision of all the ways I love and honor my Mother.  Thank you for shining your light into the world.  Mothers and daughters globally are all better for it.  May I continue to approach life as "A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing."  Love, Jill