For six years, a secret sat unsettled and weighed heavily on my mind every spring. On Mother’s Day, I would travel to Bakersfield to visit my mom and grandma to celebrate and give them their gifts, and I would receive something from my stalker.
My sister found the first anonymous Mother’s Day card that I received. The carefully placed envelope was wedged in the windshield wipers of my car. I was completely confused. I wasn’t a mother, and I had no intentions of becoming one any time soon, but the words that were written inside the decorative card had implied in a congratulatory way that this Mother’s Day was my first official one.
I asked everyone that I knew about the card. Was it an accident? Did someone mistakenly assume I had some secret child somewhere? I wanted to know, but everyone was so adamant about not being involved in the strange Hallmark moment.
It wasn’t until the next year when I received another Mother’s Day card, implying that I had added to my imaginary family that I realized the cards were no accident. I had acquired a stalker that would only engage with me on an annual basis. In response, I would hold my usual witch hunt for the perpetrator asking everyone who knew where I used to live in Bakersfield about their whereabouts the night before.
When the handwriting and the language used in the cards switched in the next iterations, I assumed that there was probably more than one Mother’s Day stalker involved. I compared handwriting to other cards, sifted through old notes from friends, and questioned everything. I felt like I was Serena Van Der Woodsen, the fictional Gossip Girl character played by the talented Blake Lively, trying her best to figure out who the identity of the show’s title character was and how they knew so much about her. I wanted so badly to have my last-episode-reveal of who took over the mysterious role and at what time.
The years rolled on with more unsigned cards delivered to my door. I even made a video about my situation on YouTube, asking for clues one year to no avail. Whoever was the mastermind of the long-running prank kept tight-lipped about the whole thing. They were stealthy, and they loved running a joke so far into the ground that goes beyond expiration. They kept with it because they were still getting a kick out of the whole thing. My sister thought the whole thing was hilarious too. She would snap photos of the cards for her social media profiles and laugh. “What person is this dedicated to a joke?” she would say behind giggles.
“I don’t know,” I would reply. “I have my guesses, but they are dwindling as time goes on and friends move farther away. I don’t think anyone would fly to Bakersfield for Mother’s Day just to place a card on my front porch.”
I had my suspicions, and by the sixth card, I purposely didn’t post a photo of the evidence from my stalker on any of my social media channels. There was no mention of the event, and everything went quiet—until the seventh year.
“Huh, I just realized that the cameras installed at mom’s house would probably catch the Mother’s Day stalker this year,” I said to my sister with a grin. “I’m finally going to figure out who is sending me all these random Mother’s Day cards.”
“Oh, yeah,” she said with a stifled hint of surprise. Her eyes were wide, and you could tell that the thought hadn’t occurred to her until then. “The cameras—”
I carried on in my excitement. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
We went the entire weekend without a word of the stalker. I never brought up the anonymous cards again until my sister, and I was both back in my car about to pull out from the driveway and on our way back to Orange County. “It’s funny that I didn’t receive a card this year for Mother’s Day,” I said with a smile.
“Yeah,” my sister responded while still looking at her phone with a little smirk. “They must have noticed the cameras.”
She continued looking at her phone never once looking me in the eye. I paused again for a moment hoping to receive my show finale reveal finally, but I ended up accepting the smirk from the dodgy young adult actively avoiding my gaze as good enough. The slightly creepy and insanely long joke was put to rest by a popular home monitoring service. However, I truly thought the running gag was hilarious the entire time up until the end.