My relationship with my mom has always been a good one. Besides the normal ups and downs during my teenage years, I can honestly say that she has been an amazing mom. I can always rely on her and I am her priority – even though that might have taken a toll on her self-care, at least while we were all still at home. Her love for us was never in question and she has been the lighthouse of our family for the past 30 years.
She has always been an exemplary mom, but we have a huge gap between us that was able to get smaller thanks to technology. Let me tell you a little about my background so you can understand where this is coming from. I was born into a Swiss family but I have Spanish genes from my Dad’s side. My mom being Swiss has always given little space to emotions and empathy. She would focus on things that need to be done and pull through tough times in a magnificent way. That’s how she was able to away from my Dad with 2 kids and pregnant for 9 months while he was relocating the family in a South American country, and then move away from her parents to a country where she did not speak a word of their language with 2 toddlers and a newborn. I mean, this lady has my respect and love for eternity. But, her biggest strength was her biggest weakness, at least for me. I was born very sensitive, in tune with my body, and empathetic. At that time, I really thought it was a curse because showing too many emotions was considered a lack of self-containment. In my early years, I did not know what an empathetic person was or how to address my emotions, so I was taught to repress most of my emotions in order to be a functioning member of society. I do not blame anyone for this – my mom did what she thought was best for us, and I was able to find healing and understanding once I had my daughter and found the space for self-discovery and healing. I’m a happy person (for the most part) and I’m glad that my mom passed me some of her objective strength, because otherwise, I would not have made it by myself in NY with only 2 kids and my husband and no other family closely.
Before I was able to understand my mom, and to see her as her own individual, and not just as my mom. I felt a huge lack of love from her side not because she wasn’t around, but because I lacked kisses, hugs, cuddles, and the most important word – the one that gives a child all the confidence in the world: I love you, or in my language: Te Quiero. Knowing her now, I understand why that was such a difficult thing for her, but for me, it was as important as food. I’m really glad that in my years of being a rebel and thinking that I didn’t need love, I was able to find it in the most unexpected way, through my best friend and now husband.
Being away from home opened a new world of conversations with my mom. Using Whatsapp has brought us closer in a very special way. I was able to see and feel her love, thanks to emojis.
Emoji (Japanese: 絵文字, pronounced [emodʑi]; English: /ɪˈmoʊdʒi/, also US: /iːˈmoʊdʒi/; singular emoji, plural emoji or emojis) are ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and Web pages. Emoji are used much like emoticons and exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, “picture”) + moji (文字, “character”). The resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental.
Because of emojis, my mom was able to send hearts, hugs, and kisses, filling her messages with the love and caring that I was longing for during my childhood, and the truth is that I never stopped needing it. That was a very unexpected surprise – this medium allowed me to feel a love that I truly thought I was never going to feel from her. I’m not sure if she’s aware how tech is augmenting her and how, thanks to that, she’s healing broken gaps that she accidentally created.
So, here’s to many more messages filled with love, and never underestimate the power of a smiley or kissing face because, just like Patsy Clairmont says: “Oh the nurturing power of well-placed words.” In my opinion, it can be applied to emojis too.