For Mother's Day, a guest post from John and the kids.
Mothers, Narcissism, and Love Nevertheless: Fragments of a Dialogue
J: You know Sunday is Mother’s day, right?
H [coldly]: Yes, everybody knows that.
J: So I thought I could give her an interview–write down some of the things you say, and give those to her. That sound good to you?
H: I’m going to give her a picture. She’ll like that better.
j [looks at John, looks at Hannah, weighs the odds and credibility of the people suggesting]: I’ll do a picture too.
J: Okay, fine. Do a picture, but I’m going to ask you some questions, and we’ll give her some of the things you say too. [pause for getting out materials–brushes, watercolors, paper, scissors, markers]
J: So now what’s something nice about your mom? Can you say some of your favorite things about your mom?
H: She asks me what I want for lunch the night before.
j: You let me do the dishes. She never lets me do the dishes. She makes lunch for Hannah but not for me. I’ve got a lunch box too.
H: Jonah, you get lunch at school. You don’t NEED to have Mom make you lunch. Lots of times you get to eat lunch at home with Mom. I don’t. At least hardly ever.
J: Okay, let’s change the subject. What are some of the things you like best about your Mom?
H: What are we doing exactly?
J: I thought a nice thing for Mother’s Day would be if I could put some things you guys say up on Naomi’s blog. So I’m going to write some of these things down and put them on her blog.
H [skeptical]: Do you have her password?
H: Does she have a password? She has a password, right? I guess she could give it to you. Okay.
J: How old ARE you, anyway? Just say some things you like about your mom for me to write down. What are some things you really like?
H: My favorite thing about her is that she takes us swimming.
j: I like swimming too!
H: I like it when she and I speak French together. None of the kids at school know French, so it’s like she and I can give each other messages. When she comes to the school sometimes I say French to her.
j: Je t’aime, Hannah.
J: Je t’aime aussi, Jonah.
j: I was talking to Hannah.
. . .
J [at this point we are at the Mad River fish hatchery, sometimes called ‘the patchery,’ walking from the fertilization/incubation building and the ladder to the oyster shell filters and shell midden and then to the river; we have just gone over lunches again]: But what about, like, other stuff? Anything about cuddling or violin or her letting you help cook or that she is a really, really good cook? How about the ant hill? Or her driving you places and playing your music in the car?–or going for trips?–You like her car, it’s a nice car, right?
H: She doesn’t cuddle me but she tickles me. That’s nice. [pause] She gets me pretty clothes. And shoes.
j: She got me a Super Dog shirt with a cape.
H: When she takes me to school I’m never late.
. . .
H: I love her. That’s why I write I love you Mom on pictures. I do that all the time.
j: I love Mom. I wrote it in the sentence book. Not today. It was a different day.