Please note: When Andrea from The Washi Tape Shop originally asked me if I would share the details of the upcoming special occasion for which I was needing the Washi Tape, I shared a story in my original reply to Andrea about my mom… In order to keep it succinct (which it wasn’t – I’m terribly long-winded… my apologies…), I left out some really important details involving my Sister Michelle – she lives with my mom and is her loving companion and care-taker when necessary).
Looking back, I wish I had originally included the extra details so that you could know the fullness of the story. And so I have included, as a PostScript to this email, a rewritten draft of the response I sent to Andrea with the additional details – please see below).
To catch you up on the events of my story, The Washi Tape Shop team had sent a replacement shipment in the mail for me via UPS Express in hopes that it would arrive sooner than the first one after learning the story about my mom and our upcoming special occasion… I was desperately hoping to receive it by Friday, June 12th – After being off work for 3 months because of the pandemic, I was finally able to reopen my clinic on June 15th (truth be told, our local health authority originally told us we would not be able to open until June 19th, so when they announced an earlier opening date, I was left scrambling to procure the necessary protective equipment needed to open safely.)
It was a frantic time for me, and I was losing hope that the timing of things would work out in my favor - Once my clinic was open because I would be in direct contact with a stream of new clients every day, I would no longer be able to see my mom in person since, at 73 years old, she is at high risk for contracting a severe case of the COVID-19 virus, and it would be foolish to visit her in person because of the risk.
Dear The Washi Tape Shop Team,
I appreciate you asking about the upcoming special occasion I mentioned. Allow me to explain...
My father's birthday is coming up in July. He was the love of my mother's life until he died two years ago... In his last 20 years, he endured multiple heart and vascular surgeries and progressive amputations of his leg. My mom never left his side, and every moment of her days and nights were spent tending to him with unrelenting patience and love. When he died, I think a part of my mom died too. She misses my dad profoundly. She has a photo album containing all of her favorite pictures of my dad. Each night, she goes through every page, talking to him as she does, while touching his face, or giving him kisses with her fingertips...
I live 3 hours away from my mom, and since the onset of this global pandemic, to keep my mom safe, I have not seen her in person since March 15th. Instead, I have 'virtual' supper every evening with my Mom and my sister, Michelle (who lives with my mom), using Zoom.
Back in late March, to provide stimulation and purpose to our day during the pandemic, we all decided that each week we would write two or three letters to each other – Our goal was to provide ourselves inspiration to get out into the fresh air, walk down the block to check the post box every day, and make time to do some creative letter writing. The first letter my sister sent me was not only beautifully decorated with washi tape, but she had also taken some time to carefully wrap an old, used gift card with some samples for me to try.
This was the first time I had really seen washi tape being used in a creative endeavor, and it captured my imagination – when I told my scrapbooking friend about my weekly letters home to my family, she lent me a shoebox of washi tape to experiment with. In the next letters I sent, both the envelopes and the stationary inside were liberally festooned with washi tape. My mom was enthralled by it -as far as she could remember, she had never seen washi tape before. Because of her intrigue with it, I sent her a few samples from my friend’s collection and she was absolutely thrilled.
I don't claim to be a creative person, but her delighted response to my letters with all of their embellishments inspired me, so I used all of my imagination to enliven my correspondence to her with old stamps, photographs, stickers and such. She appreciated all of it, but what captured her the most was the washi tape. It seemed to spark creativity in her that she hadn't accessed since before my dad fell ill... she began organizing and re-familiarizing herself with her long-forgotten crafting supplies, and suddenly, she was including color and embellishments in HER letters, and it seemed to me that she was noticeably brighter and more engaging in our daily on-line suppers together.
In a grand adventure, Mom and Michelle spent an evening checking out Michael’s webpage, looking at all the Washi Tape they had to offer. Mom excitedly placed a modest order, and together, because the store was closed to foot traffic, they did their first curbside pickup of the pandemic– Mom was bubbling over with anticipation… so much so that she opened her package in the van before they even got home.
This inspired me! Hoping to further encourage her creative spirit, in early May, I placed an order with The Washi Tape Shop - a really big one (big for me anyway – It’s quite unusual for me to spend money on crafting supplies).
Because I was off work, my plan was to socially isolate for 14 days so that I was safe to visit my mom and my sister in person... when my big shipment of washi tape arrived, I was going to take it to them, and spend a few days there, in my home town. I was hoping to suggest that together, using the beautiful washi tape I purchased from your store, we could all decorate some pages in her precious photo album in time for my dad’s upcoming birthday.
Now, however, it looks like I will be forced to go back to work on or before June 19th, which is less than two weeks away... I thought I would reach out to you to find out if my order could be located... If I knew it was going to arrive in a day or two, I would stay put and wait for it - my mom and my sister will be overjoyed by it, and I would love to be able to take it to them - to watch them open it in person. But if it won't be arriving for some time, then I really want to go and visit them while I still have the chance...
Thank you for giving me a chance to tell you my story - My mom (who is 73 years old) and my sister (who is 40) are very precious to me and I treasure every moment we have together. On the bright side, if my order doesn't arrive in time, I will still have the pleasure of sending it to them in the mail once it does - I'm certain they will love it (and so will I - I chose some really fun and beautiful rolls from your website for myself so I'd have some new washi tape designs to decorate my future letters to them too!)
It's beautiful how something as simple as a roll of washi tape has the power to inspire and to restore a zest to re-engage in life through creative writing and visual projects.
Sincerely, Simone Forget
I don’t know if you can imagine my absolute delight when, on Thursday, June 11th, the second shipment arrived… and on Friday, June 12th, the first shipment was delivered! I immediately told my mom and my sister that I would be coming for a visit that weekend.
In a beautiful package opening which lasted three hours, we opened box by box, collection by collection, reveling in the beauty of every roll of tape. As we did, we divided up the rolls of Washi Tape between the three of us (my mom, my sister Michelle, and myself) so that we each had a beautifully rounded and varied collection. It was amazing, and joyful, and moving. And they were as delighted as I was.
I wish I could tell you that I was able to stay and spend time really enjoying the Washi Tape with my mom and my sister Michelle… Sadly, because I had to open my clinic one week earlier than expected, and was responsible for ensuring the safety of all who entered, I still had much to do before the 15th and had to make the 3-hour trip home to be ready in time.
Each day that week, however, I continued to have supper, via Zoom, with Mom and Michelle… and each day, they told me delightful stories of how they had spent a morning or an afternoon organizing and re-organizing their new Washi Tape collection, first by the size of the roll, then by theme… then by color… each time discovering, again and again, the beautiful and intricate detail of the patterns on the tapes.
And one day, they sat down together with my Father’s book… You’ll recall that my Father passed 2 years ago, and my hope was that we could spend some time adding Washi Tape embellishment and color to some of my mom’s favorite photos of my dad before his birthday in July… So they laid out their Washi Tape collection, chose a page from the book of my Father’s photos, and began to play with the Washi Tape as they celebrated his life and his story. I truly wish I’d been there… perhaps, soon, there will be opportunities for me to join them in the future, once a vaccine has been found... Michelle was able to capture some photos of that moment, and I’ve attached them here.
And the letters that we write back and forth to each other continue, emboldened with the results of your generous gift… I’ve already received my mom’s first letter since that day, a joyful experiment of creativity with her new collection of Washi Tape. As for myself, the letters I wrote this weekend were so much fun to create with a seemingly limitless palette of colors, sizes, and themes of Washi Tape to choose from.