Monday, May 9, 2011

Suburbs of Our Discontent

"Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime."
(Sonnet 3)

We all know that Mother's Day is a fabricated holiday. But it's still one of those great "take a mental snapshot, because it doesn't get more real than this" kinds of days. As crazy as my kids can make me, they ground me in the everyday in a way that I don't often stop to appreciate.

And the unabashedly honest cards your kids make for you bring that to life. Even though Richard III's mother may have wished for a card that said: "I love you, Mom, thanks for giving birth to me even though I almost killed you," that wouldn't have been his style. (More likely: "Here is your card, Mother. Please stop telling embarrassing stories about my infant back hair.") The card pictured here was written by my niece, telling her mom, "You are calm. . .You aren't hopeless." I bet my sister-in-law never stopped to appreciate that her daughter sees her as someone you'd want to have around if your house were on fire. Not that their's ever has been. But just in case.

Yesterday my son gave me a picture he'd made of himself and, confident little being that he is, announced: "I'm really good at self-paw-trits." When he promotes himself with such conviction and lack of self-consciousness (lost "r"'s and all), I wish I could freeze him in time. Or just soak in a little bit of his moxie.

Then my daughter— meticulous, careful, creative— handed me a card she'd spent two hours making with cursive "Happy Mother's Day" written over fifty times on the front. On the back: "Card by Annabel's Art Company." The message: "I hope you enjoyed my card." Fabulous, because it is exactly who she is, a perfect expression of the person I've been getting to know for the past 11 years. Not excessive in her displays, but true to the bone.

I have a lot to learn from her, too.

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