For twelve years a flower pot has adorned my dressertop. It was lovingly decorated for me for Mother’s Day by the nine-year-old version of Luke. The school art teacher provided the materials, but she was absent the day the children created their designs. Had it not been for the non-watchful eyes of an apathetic substitute, I would probably be the proud possessor of a pot covered with sweet sentiments, hearts, and smileys–a gift I would no doubt have kept and enjoyed. But I wouldn’t have this treasure that makes me laugh with pure delight every time I pause and examine it again. Here’s the scene:
Black smoke billows from four smokestacks on a drab factory. Next comes a sleek, black limo. Then a bloody axe, followed by a round face with a wide-open mouth and bloodshot eyes. Next to the face, a bloody knife is stuck into a wall, and then the final drawing: the school building. Around the upper perimeter are the words, Happy Mother’s Day, then the sentiment, “May your Mother’s Day be better than hers” with an arrow pointing to the harrowed face. At the bottom it’s signed “Luke D. 1994”
The class had a party for the moms and presented us with our pots, each containing a cheerful plant. Luke’s teacher tried to apologize for his artwork. I had trouble responding, but I was laughing so hard, I think she realized I wasn’t upset. Far from it. I loved that pot from the moment I laid eyes on it. I loved the creative mind of the child who drew it. The child who is now a man pouring his originality into the piano keys fifteen feet away from where I sit as I type this entry. The man-child I will say good-bye to again tomorrow as he flies back to Chicago for the summer.
I’ll miss him. Miss his music. Miss his unique take on life. But here and there, the ghosts of Mother’s Days past will wink at me from dressertops, picture frames, and drawers. And I won’t miss him so much. I’ll be laughing too hard.