Happy Mother’s Day!

After thinking long and hard and failing to come up with anything remotely creative to give to my mom yesterday (Mother’s Day), I finally decided to try my hand at spoken-word poetry. So I wrote her a poem and then presented it to her, and, let’s just say that she was extremely moved by it. She wanted me to enter it in some sort of competition, which I, of course, objected to. In the end, we compromised and I told her I would post it here. Enjoy!


I couldn’t figure out how

To start this,

So I guess I will just go with

“Dear Mom.”


Dear Mom,

If I could express to you

In two words

How thankful I am for everything you do,

They would be

“I can’t.”

A thousand words,

Which is how much a picture is worth,

By the way,

Couldn’t even begin to cover

Everything I want to tell you

In this moment—

Right now.


But I can still try.


I’ve been told that when I’m not sure

How to do something,

It’s easiest

To start off with lists.

So here is a list of words that describe you:

Loving, caring, compassionate.

Supportive and protective.

And above all,

An amazing mom to me.


From the unspoken inside jokes,

To the hours spent lying in front of the TV

Laughing over old Disney Channel shows,

To the even longer hours in front of my computer

On Saturday nights

Editing my Chinese homework—

Bet you’re happy that’s over now;

To the rare moments we get to spend

Quality time together,

Just talking, and laughing, and

Being mother and daughter—

You’ve been there.

From the constant complaints,

The anger and frustration

And arguments and tears,

To the great big smiles

That stretch across the world,

To the overly normal days

Where seemingly nothing happens—

You’ve stayed by my side.


You’ve walked with me

Through the darkest of nights,

Helped me climb

The tallest, steepest, most dangerous mountains

In the whole entire universe,

Lifted me up so that I could grab

The highest of stars

That seemed to always hang

Just out of reach

In the velvet midnight sky.


And when I pushed you away,

Insisting to you that

“I’m fine. I’m grown up now.

I can do it on my own,”

You came back anyways,

And insisted to me that

I didn’t know what on Earth I was talking about,

If I thought you would let me go

So easily.

Because of course,

As the World’s Best Mother,

You would never give up

Without a fight.

And so when I fought back,

You would fight harder,

To keep me safe,

To keep me warm,

To keep me happy,

And to make sure I knew

That someone cared,

That someone loved me

More than she could love



You are like the Sun,

And I am like Mercury.

I am closer to you

Than any other planet

In the solar system,

Yet sometimes,

I drift away from you.

I am still part of your life

And you are part of mine,

For we can never completely separate;

We are just more distant than usual.

But Mercury has an elliptical orbit,

And just like it will always

Be pulled towards the Sun again,

I will always

Find my way back to you—

Straight into your welcoming arms.


And our relationship is like

A language:

A secrete language—

The Language of Mother and Daughter.

Most of the time,

We understand each other so well.

Each time we say something,

The response is automatic:

No need to spend time translating

Or looking up definitions in a dictionary

Or taking time to figure out

What each of us was saying.

But, even for native speakers

Who are at the maximum fluency,

Even they have trouble sometimes

With their language.

That is why I still have to take

Four years of high school English,

And why you sometimes have to reference

Dad for help in Chinese.

This is the same for our language.

Sometimes we don’t understand

One another,

And we need to spend some time

To go to Google Translate

And learn new words,

So that we can once again

Be on the same page.

And after each misunderstanding,

Our language proficiency just keeps growing.

It keeps growing, and expanding,

So that we understand each other

Better and better

Each day.


I’d like to think that most daughters

Don’t have such an amazing relationship

With their moms,

Like I do.

I’d like to think that most daughters

Aren’t able to share inside jokes

With their moms

Like I can.

I’d like to think that most daughters

Can’t create their own secret language

With their moms

Like I have.


We are special.

You are special

You are the flashlight

That guides me through the black night.

You are the warrior

That never gives up fighting for me.

You are the Sun

In the center of my solar system

And the gravity

That keeps me close to you


But most of all,

You are my mother.

And I hope that you can one day

Be proud to tell the world,

“See that girl up there?

See her?

The one with the messy black hair

That she refuses to let me comb through

Each morning,

And the crooked smile

And the sparkling eyes?

Well, that’s my daughter up there,

And I’m her mother.

I am Stephanie’s mom.”


Happy Mothers’ Day!