July 26th, 2019
When I was seven years old, I had a Batman Returns-themed birthday party.
Despite the fact that it says everything about who I ended up being as an adult (a dark, superhero-obsessed loser with a fairly self-aware sense of humor), that’s not why I love this recently unearthed photo.
I love it because of what’s behind me.
See, that right there was the hallmark of all of my birthdays. My mom is one of the most humbly creative people I have ever known. She would make all of our Halloween costumes (which I have posted here before), and she would design all of our birthday parties. She is an artist, through and through. Her eye is extraordinary. And she used all of that talent on us, her children.
This particular example here is a “Pin the Umbrella to the Penguin” board. One such board does not exist from Party City, and Party City does not employ my one such mom, so she created her own. She recreated all these characters by hand, before there was the internet. She poured a lot of time and heart into these works, knowing that the only people who would ever appreciate it were a couple of kids.
Well, I do.
It’s taken me years to figure it out, but gosh, do I appreciate it. This is a woman who, under different circumstances, could have been a world class artist, who found expression and an outlet where she was. And by doing so, she nourished my creativity. I saw her do, so I do. She needed no approval, or applause, barely an audience, but most importantly — she needed no permission.
I loved these things, the costumes and the games, when I was a kid. But I didn’t cherish them like I do now. You think a lot about the things you missed out on or the things that were different for you growing up, but you don’t always see the blessings. This was a blessing. Having a bad ass secret ninja artist for a mom helped make me the way I am today, and she was so ninja and low-key bad ass that I didn’t even really think of it that way until recently.
Just wanted to say I love my mom, I guess. And that I’m wondering where my Batmobile is.