September 22, 2012

I succeeded in restraining myself from showing Katie Jordan’s picture yesterday evening (see previous post), even though they came down to eat Chinese food in the kitchen while I was watching the NewsHour on line.

Maybe I should add the unspoken point that Jordan emphatically doesn’t want me to show his friends things like childhood pictures.  Jonas, on the other hand, brought his last girlfriend home for me to meet and sat with her on the livingroom couch going through old family photograph albums together.

But last night when I went upstairs to get ready for bed, I walked into my room and noticed my laundry basket was other than where it usually is.  So I asked Jordan, thought maybe he had moved it while using the phone or something.  But no, he had moved it while he was showing Katie artwork of his that I have propped up on a marble-topped antique piece of furniture we bought because I loved it, not because I had a particular need for it. (The basket usually sits in front of it.)

The inside panels of the doors to the cupboard part of the piece of furniture (I think Elinor, from whom we bought it, called it a commode, but I suspect that will conjure up the wrong image for some people) are hand-painted with what look like stenciled flowers.  In that part of it I keep my childhood photos and wedding album and some embroidery I did with someone else’s somewhat mysterious help, and other things that tell me where I’ve been — I have another collection in the attic in an antique doll’s trunk that has smaller items like wedding rings and a teddy bear and a scarf my dad brought me back from a business trip abroad and a hat and mittens my mother knitted me.

So on the top of this piece of furniture in my bedroom I have the children’s later artwork.  Earlier stuff is up on the kitchen walls, some sculptures are around the house.  Other stuff is packed away in the basement or attic.  I kind of ran out of room to display more art effectively and unobtrusively in other rooms around the house, so I then sort of arranged it in layers propped vertically on this piece of furniture in my room.  The children’s memorialized baby shoes are there, too.  (On the other hand, so too are my shampoo, conditioners, and sunscreen, comb — it’s got a marble top … ).

Stacy who used to run an antiques cooperative in Waltham once was sharing with me how during those tough times with children, it sometimes helps to take out and revisit those “I love you” cards and pieces of art.  That’s kind of what this collection on this piece of furniture is about.  I think it all postdates Willy’s death.  My kids are not big on birthdays and holidays, but they do periodically come up with beautiful poetry addressed to me (or their dad) and a cooked meal of my favorite foods, and they give me much of their art.  Jonas also recommends songs to me and things I might like to do.  Part of Stacy’s point was that if your kids do things to express their love on a less predictable schedule, it may also mean that they come deeply from the children’s hearts.

Well, I’m not sure what the artwork and artfully presented poetry mean to Jordan, but he was showing them to Katie last night before she left, and it struck me that this was an improvement over if I had shown her youthful photos of Jordan.


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