Sunday, May 14, 2017

Signs Point to Mother's Day

It is a tradition in the Schwartzberg household to make surprise signs for people on special occasions. Mostly this happens on birthdays, but Mother’s Day is also a big one for signs. (I once contemplated making signs for Groundhog’s Day, but here in the desert, the closest things we have to groundhogs are prairie dogs, and those things carry bubonic plague, so it didn’t seem appropriate.) In years past I have always helped my sons make the signs for Mother’s Day, but at ages 10 and 8 they are now perfectly old enough to make their own signs without my assistance. So, this morning, I told them to get the construction paper and markers and make signs while their mom slept. Then I left them to their own devices, which may or may not have been a wise choice.

The first sign, James, the 8-year-old, came up with is a variation on a classic. He could have just written “Happy Mother’s Day” and left it at that, but he wanted to make sure his mom knew that the opposite emotion was simply not an option today.

Then AJ, the 10-year-old, went with simple and heartfelt.

Then, James also went with simple, but rather than heartfelt he went with stomachfelt. (Note: This sign he intentionally hung from our stove range hood.)

Then things started getting really interesting. AJ dug deep for the next sign. He is an empathetic young lad and has recognized that he and his little brother can be a tad exhausting to their dear mom. When her eyes are drooping and she looks to be an hour past naptime, she’s still willing to help them with their homework, make them a snack, or mend a torn stuffed animal. I’m sure it was with this thought in mind that he created this sign.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, James decided to thank his mom for his very existence—from a biological perspective, of course.

James also made and hung a wordless sign, in which he illustrated a gleeful piranha about to eat a very glum smaller fish; because nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like cartoon images of predatory sea life.

When I first saw the signs the kids made, the serious, do-everything-by-the-book parent in me almost came out and told them not to hang the ridiculous ones. Fortunately, though, I caught myself before saying anything, because I realized that these signs showed my sons’ personalities better than generic one’s ever would, and my wife would enjoy and remember them for a much longer time. Sure enough, when she came out of the bedroom and started seeing the signs, she was cracking up and loving every sign she saw. Hmmm…maybe next year I will have the boys make signs for Groundhog’s Day. It could be a big pick-me-up if we find out there’s going to be six more weeks of winter.