I Miss Mama-San

This is not right. I’m looking at laundry this morning and sighing heavily.

I miss Mama-san.1

That woman could do anything and do it quickly. She blew through my house and had it spotless by 2 p.m. I’ve been trying that trick out for the last two weeks, much less in one day by 2 p.m.

But she was much more than a household helper. She was a friend. She taught us Japanese words and cared about our family over her beloved Taco Bell tacos and Diet Coke.

She never minded when the six year old wanted to help clean the bathroom. They spent the day engaged in a game of trying to scare one another by creeping silently through the house.


1 My favorite Mama-san memory:


Today, my Mama-san walked in on us. (She does that if the door is unlocked.)

Whoa. Just 15 minutes earlier I had decided to get out of my glasses, robe, and fuzzy slippers. Seriously.

I’m in the bathroom upstairs when I hear “Is your pretty mama here?”


She was returning a pie plate. She was totally unexpected. I felt like she must be looking at us like Mr. Incredible:

“I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes!”

History: For five glorious weeks, I had a Mama-san. She did everything.

My friend was in America on vacation, so I inherited her Mama-san.

Lovely. She was such a dear, we fell in love with her.

Today was the first Monday we did not have Mama-san. We were not expecting her to come visit us, but there she was, as I came out of the bathroom — fully clothed and hair brushed, hallelujah — talking to the little one.

We visited a sec, she came downstairs with me, showed me the apples she brought us and then proceeded to take out my kitchen trash, replace the bag, and pick up some crackers the kids had spilled before I could convince her to return to my neighbor’s house.

Amazing woman and friend with a huge capacity to love.


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