Portraits of Mom

My daughter drew this picture of  me yelling at the dog. I do this frequently, as our puppy is a rescue and not quite right in the noggin. But I love her just the way she is even if she lays pipe under the piano bench after she’s been outside for 10 minutes barking her brains out and peeing on every stinking thing she sees during a nice long walk. THIS is the way my daughter sees me. She drew this earlier in the week. She is eight years old.

I LOVE THIS DRAWING. I want to name it "P" and marry it and live with it forever and sit on the front porch with it when I am old and covered with liver spots and wearing diapers and "P" is yellowed, wrinkled and half eaten by moths. We will drink cheap wine while we yell swear words and throw shoes at cats and street urchin kids who walk on our lawn. Just think of the gloriousness, will you? Imagine me and "P" living happily ever after – FANTASTIC!

In order to assure this magnificent future dream, I immediately went to put this beloved and perfectly captured moment in time of a portrait with all the other stuff I’ve saved over the years from both of my wee folk. Of course I got all nostalgic and started rifling through stuff and that’s when I found this:

This is also a picture of me. I’m naked in case you were wondering. When I first laid eyes on it hanging in the church pre-school hallway in 2004, I knew immediately that the little yellow haystack between my legs was my – um- you know, and even though my name or my son’s name was nowhere on the picture, I knew that it was me. Naked is the way my son decided to draw me in 2004 when he was four years old.

You might be wondering how I knew it was me. I'll be honest and tell you that it was NOT mother's intuition. Not even close. Each Mom drawing also had a “hint” just below it and we moms were tasked with guessing which drawing our kid had made us for Mother’s Day. See the hint below (it's just beneath that ambiguous genitalia):

His class was pretty small and I had the honorable distinction of being the only naked mom on the wall. At the time, I hoped that because he didn't draw any nipples, there was a good possibility that nobody else suspected there was a nudie MILF pic in the pre-school hallway. I'll tell you another thing, the MOMENT my husband looked at the picture for the first time, he knew right away that our kid drew me in my birthday suit, and I don't think it's because I asked him to look at the picture VERY carefully as to see if he noticed anything peculiar about it.

I mean my GOD look at it again!

Soooo today just as I came across this gem while I was going through the box of memories, my son, who had been on me like white on rice all morning, came into the room to see what I was up to. After laughing his FACE off for five minutes, he asked, “Did you ever wonder why I drew you without your nipples?”

OHmyGODgrossRIGHT? It was weird enough talking to him about the fact that he drew my junk!

I told him that I did not, but actually I did. I really did! Back when this was going on live,  I was praying that maybe he just gave me a penis in the drawing because at the time, he was VERY concerned that I didn’t have one. He was only four years old and quite worried that I’d never be able to be king because I didn't have a penis and even though I told him that I would be just as happy being a queen, he felt sorry for me.  And that is why I HAD to ask him if he drew me with a penis.

The good news is that he did not draw me with a penis. The bad news is that he did draw me nekkid and that thing you see hanging there is....well....my junk. Maybe it wasn't good news after all though, I mean that drawing makes my junk look like .....UGH, now I'm even more horrified, but at the time I felt relieved and then immediately curious. WHY? Why did he draw me naked?

And so before continuing to praise him and thank him for his lovely and detailed portrait, I asked him why he did chose to depict me in just my skin. I just HAD to know WHY he did it. I knew he'd tell me the truth because pre-schoolers tend to be a pretty direct and blunt bunch and his innocence protected him from thinking he did anything wrong (obviously). His answer was simple: “Because our bodies are beautiful, Mommy.”


But I learned a few things that day. The first thing was that it was time to shut the door when I was in the bathroom or getting dressed. As much as I was flattered by his nude portrait of “beautiful” me, I realized that it was time for me to be more modest and private when bathing and changing. My kid was growing up!  The second thing I learned was that because he was growing up, he was now paying  VERY close attention to me and that meant that soon he was going to see the beast as well as the beauty.

It's inevitable, right? Eventually kids see us for who we are because they are ever present, watching our every beastly and beautiful move. So I made a few changes, applying the new knowledge gleamed from seeing my naked self on the wall  - at church - for a month, would increase the chances that by the following Mother's Day, his brain would only conjure up images of me fully clothed! God forgives easily, but I knew that the public schools could be pretty harsh when it came to kindergartners drawing naked family portraits.

Thankfully, it worked. No more nudies. And four years later, I really had him fooled. He not only thought I was still beautiful, I also had him convinced that I was smart!

Math and PHYSICS? He knows I am smart because I taught him about math and physics? You know what I taught him? Basic addition and subtraction is what I taught him. Oh and the physics? I taught him to turn over the ketchup bottle and spin it in wicked speed of light fast circles so that every last drop of tangy goodness is enjoyed and not wasted. It’s the one thing I remembered from physics – THE CENTRIFUGE.
There are no words to express my relief that as the years went on, I got props for being a genius instead of a nudist. This is the way my son saw me when he was eight years old.

So since the boy was up my ass like a stubborn hemorrhoid today, I asked him what he would draw today if his teacher gave him the same Mother’s Day assignment and he drew this:

Which I thought was pretty observant since I write things long hand and journal like a MOFO. It’s only a little sad that he’s TWELVE YEARS OLD and all he was willing to scribble out was a stick figure before scrambling to get away from me because as usual, once I want my him to be with me, he wants to be anywhere with anyone doing anything without me. But I could have been worse. A lot worse. He's old enough to see and understand things well enough to document them accurately, even if his drawing are merely stick figures. My friend Jackie's six year old daughter drew no less than 25 mini-pictures of me stick-style with a glass of wine in my hand the very first time I met her. GAH.

Anyhoooo...as I was laughing at the drawing, my daughter came into the room and asked me what was so funny. So I showed her and I told her and then she said, “Give me that paper, I’ll draw you for you Mom!” And she did.

This is a picture of me at the computer being a total beast and Google-ing the word “POOP!”

See what I mean – a whole LOT worse.


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  • I heard you have a book deal...nice work...best news for ChicagoNow in the history of motherfucking ever.

  • I don't want to be a stereotypical gross teenage guy (because I'm 29), because my wife tells me about 20 times per day to stop being like that. But that picture where you're theoretically holding a...pencil? It totally looks like something else and I thought at first that your kid must be messing with you again, with very inappropriate pictures.

    My toddler is two, and I've encountered my own naked moments with her that suggest it's time to make some changes. I wrote about it here:


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    Holy shit, you had me rolling laughing. Oh, kids....

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    omg, this made me laugh till I cried! so Funny! LOVE IT!

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    Freakin' hilarious!!!

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