Although she has been known to veer sharply in either direction, my mother has always been just the perfect shade between crazy and inspired. I look back upon my childhood now and try to figure out what was going on on her end of things… what adult motivations were playing out behind the benevolent ‘mom’ i adored.
My mother took endless pictures of me up until i started grade school — almost enough to make up for my nearly undocumented puberty (thank the lord). Up until my parents got separated i don’t think she worked at all, and i’m sure she found herself with all sorts of odd times during the day while i napped, played, or sat through endless repetitions of The Making of Thriller. So, she sat down with rolls of film and colored paper and yarn and elmers glue and came out with these odd books… like easy-reading version of my toddling life. Peter at the Zoo. Peter at the Beach.
Construction paper shades that make up the primary colors of childhood and sentences with one subject and verb each, plus the occasional adjective. They used to live in the bottom drawer of the desk in our dining room, and every so often she would get them out and read them back to me. I suppose she would be feeling lonely, or reminiscent of when i existed without any kind of premeditation. Grade school and GI Joes make a kid grow up fast. Eventually she altogether stopped mentioning them at all, and i haven’t seen them since we moved in 1998.
I don’t know what i’m talking about. If i was four today, those books would be something like Henry’s Diary, which alternating makes me want to cry about the fact that i’m two decades old and inspires me to one day be a dad as awesome as Henry’s dad.
And a mom as awesome as my mom.