Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On Becoming That Mom (part 1 of infinity)

"It's enough to just display the pictures," you told yourself.  The kids alone.  You with each kid. Your husband with both. A family picture. And passport photos, for good measure.

That's sufficient notice of the fact that you're a mom.  Enough imagery to evoke compliments on a slow day in the office, sympathy on a busy one, and to qualify as decor in your office away from home.

And yet a compulsion snuck in the moment your child brought her first project home.  Her "just a Wednesday in daycare" project.  The one you left on the dining room table for a couple of days, then neatly filed in a folder.  You wouldn't be that parent, you told yourself.

But months passed, and the projects kept coming.  They even got better - or, at the very least, different.  New colors, new materials, new Xerox copied templates.  Your sister claimed one.  "It's cute when the young girl displays her niece's artwork," you sternly stated, during one of your no-nonsense talks with yourself.  "Do not be that mom."

But it's a tale as old as time, and we all know how it ends.  You brought the project to work.  In fact, you snuck the project to work because your daughter, trying to save what is left of your professional identity without knowing it, refused to relinquish it.

This will add some color, you weakly justified.  Ambiance. Whimsy. Democracy.

You thumb tacked your daughter's tree to your wall.  Near your list of matter numbers and upcoming deadlines.  And now, the only way to explain this objectively unremarkable item (no offense babylove, there's abundant other proof of your intellect and artistry), is to claim that it is not your kid's work.  To suggest that there's a reason beyond misplaced parental pride for presenting this art.  To put the burden on the viewer to conjure up scenarios in which this paper in the shape of a tree, with green dots and pink tissue paper, belongs on the wall of your corporate law office.

However, it doesn't matter if they believe you. It is irrelevant whether or not they begin to wonder about the potentially creepy, potentially genius origins of the art.  You've become that mom.