I want to be one of Mary Cassatt’s mothers. Or Rossetti’s St. Anne. Wise and tender. Luminous and lovely.
And my children’s earliest memories of me to be buried in a sunny haze like a bright and blurry impressionist painting.
But I’m wiry haired and red eyed. Can’t be helped by the most forgiving of filters. My cold, bitterly over steeped tea seems appropriately like a witch’s brew. The lullabies I come up with, flattened and sharpened out of shape as they are, probably sound violent to tiny ears. Too often I moan and wail as sleep regressions that can’t be helped are met with mood regressions that can be.
And then there’s the guilt as I let my attention be splintered and fractured. All my dreams of fashioning a golden childhood and gentle home lost to bright screens and loud noises. The guilt as a small face is awash in blue light at odd hours of the night.
But I continue to tap, swipe, type, and look away. Away from growing limbs and a blooming body and a bubbling font of smiles and coos. Joy unreserved. And undeserved by this mother enamored by those frozen prettily in paint.