Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mother's Day

I have been meaning to post about Mother’s Day ever since, well, Mother’s Day. But time got away from me (including a lovely solo trip to Chicago) and now I am finally doing it.

This was the first Mother’s Day that anyone besides me seemed to take much notice. My lovely husband has many, many good qualities—such as being a great fixit man and shedding many an unexpected tear at sappy commercials—but celebrating minor holidays (anything besides Christmas and birthdays) is not one of these.

But Luke was finally excited this year about Mother’s Day. He has been a child slow to empathize with others. I worried a lot when he was younger because he seemed to think only of himself. I know this must be developmentally appropriate for a three year old, but I sometimes thought he seemed unusually self-centered. I remember him running into someone on his scooter and being more worried about the scooter than the person he hit, for example. But finally he seems to sometimes think of others and what might make them happy.

And so leading up to Mothers’ Day, Luke asked me what I might like. He told me he would clean the house. And he hinted that he was making me an extra special gift.

And let me tell you, it is extra special indeed.

At school, Luke filled in and illustrated a book for me. The first page is pre-labeled, “me and my mom,” and Luke drew a lovely picture of me looking strangely like an alien. I am blue and my hair looks remarkably like antennae.

On another page, the book says, “My mom and I go . . .” and Luke filled in, “to the moves.” Above the words, Luke drew a picture of monsters and wrote, “Da ov the ded.” Because, you see, Luke’s fantasy mom, the alien, would take him to a movie called Day of the Dead.

On another page the book says, “My mom and I like to . . .” and Luke wrote, “skatbord.” The alien mother also likes to skateboard with her son.

And yet another page says, “My mom and I read . . .” and Luke wrote “horr.” Now, lest you be concerned that Luke fantasizes about reading books about whores with me, he does not. He does, however, wish that I would read “horror” books with him, whatever those might be in his childish imagination.

I love this book, not only because of the time that Luke took to make it for me, not only for the way that it reveals his interests and demonstrates his writing skills, but because it reminds me of the human trait that is not quite empathy and that I am forever demonstrating myself: projecting ourselves onto others. When I want to do something nice for Craig, I make him a nice meal or bake him something. And he is a man who would eat a pile of beans every night for the rest of his life and be happy. I’m the foodie in our family.

And I am especially guilty of doing this to my children. It is so hard to see them for what they are without seeing myself in them. Part of this is unavoidable. We are wound up in one another in ways that we will never pull apart entirely. And I wouldn’t want us to.

But as Luke grows more and more toward a richer understanding of what it means to love others for what they are, I hope I can, too.


Nancy said...

I can't even tell you how relieved I am reading this. Hazel's mother's day book is about chores I do (cleaning the chicken cage), places I go (to the pool with them), and things she *wishes* I did with her (playing with Webkinz animals). The only problem is that the title the teacher gave the books is "What I do with my mom". When I read it I couldn't help but notice that there is not a single thing in it that Hazel and I actually do together.

I'm relieved to read this post, because it gives me hope to think that all kindergarten children are living partly in a fantasy world, and that if Hazel isn't depicting reality, it isn't because I don't love her enough.

I think you look quite fun in that picture! :)

Bethany Torode said...

I got a mother's day drawing, too. I look like I weigh 500 pounds in it. We're dancing together under a rainbow. I even put it in front of my Jesus icon because that's where I'm feeling the love right now.

This is one of your best posts ever, Ser. Totally publishable, right now. Totally universal and hilarious and perfect.

Martha-Lynn said...

Oh, yes-- I agree! It has "Publish me!" written all over it!

We had a lovely Mother's Day here, too. I forgot to tell you that Jason made me a comic-card called "The Adventures of Nubbin in the Green Galaxy" ("Nubbin" turned out to be Eva). It made me cry, and it made me think of Luke!

Lhamo Osel said...

Ah! My Mother's Day card is so great that I published it on my door at work (yours should get a wider audience). Amongst other gems, it says "When I'm at school, my mom..." and my lovely child has painstakingly written "works on sopernovas."