Monday, May 09, 2005

Mom's Amazing Bag of Love

Yesterday is Mother's Day and I celebrate the fact that my mother and I are closer now more than ever. When I greeted her, she said that she wishes she could also tell me, "Happy Mother's Day!" Gulp. Where did that come from? Is she craving for grandkids now? Didn't think I'd get a hint this early.

A recent article I came across talked about why the Japanese have a deep and abiding love for "cute" things. Cute characters like Hello Kitty, Doraemon or Pokemon help give a feeling of comfort to children and is a way for adults to connect with their childhood and their imaginations. I remember that as a child, I loved Sanrio characters, especially Hello Kitty and the Twin Stars Kiki and Lala. During the time I was five, this love for Japanese characters was cemented.

My first day of school was coming and my mother knew about my Sanrio dreams. It was only the rich who could afford to buy Sanrio stuff and we did not have much money. And times were especially tough for my parents emotionally and financially as mom was soon going to give birth and my beloved grandfather was dying. Mom sat me down and carefully explained why we couldn't buy any Sanrio item.

But one magical day, my mother came home from work and gave me a light blue school bag with Kiki and Lala hitched to a star on the front! I was beside myself with joy and it helped ease the anxiety of going to school. Of course, there were soon some holes on the side as it could not quite hold all the books and notebooks. Mom kept mending it. But I brought that bag to school with pride until it was beyond repair.

With the wisdom of the years, I now know that the Sanrio bag was a cheap imitation that one can buy in the street corners. But it doesn't matter. I am just glad that my mother knew me well enough to give me my heart's desire. And she went through all that trouble to help an anxious little girl go to school. That plastic bag is now a truly wondrous item in my memory.

I still love Hello Kitty and the cast of Sanrio characters until now. I don't have any kitschy Sanrio stuff, except for the Hello Kitty alarm clock my husband gave me a while ago. But Japanese cute characters bring a smile to my face because they remind me of the special woman in my life. I know I've said it to you before, mother goose, but let me say it again. "Happy Mother's Day!"