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10:34 a.m. - 2010-04-04
Substance of Things Believed

The ham's in the oven. The eggs I boiled and peeled yesterday are now split and the whites are arranged on my "I'm too Martha for my life" deviled egg tray, the one with the fitted dents for the eggs and when filled sort of looks like a daisy. The yolks are warming a bit in their bowl on the counter, they'll whip up fluffier if not stone cold from their overnight in the fridge. Next up is trimming and layering the asparagus in the pyrex dish I use to steam things in the microwave. Nuking veggies is about the only true cooking I do in the microwave, unless popcorn counts.

I remember waaaaaaay back in the very early 1970s my grandparents took a trip out to California to visit their son (my mother's only sibling) and how they came back confused and impressed by Uncle Bill's brand new RadarRange. The very first microwaves for home use. A big herky thing as armored and as heavy as a safe, my grandmother was intrigued by the idea of cooking things like whole turkeys in mere minutes, but my grandfather was mostly upset by Uncle Bill's new toy. The theory behind microwaving food was too foreign for him to truly understand. My grandfather had come this )( close to building a bomb shelter in the backyard in the 1950s and the idea of some kind of vaguely radioactive thing in the kitchen upset him. A lot. He also didn't like how Uncle Bill let the kids use that scary A-bomb contraption. Who knows what kind of destruction their unsupervised mucking around might cause? I didn't often open myself to my grandfather's thoughts, but Grandpa's vision of the glowing mushroom cloud arising from the smoking hole that was once Uncle Bill's California cool rambling ranch house was just too clear to ignore.

Wolf just bopped in to report the Easter Bunny had come by. He squinched his face at me and asked if I'd been in his room last night. I replied with a question of my own as to why I'd want to go into his pig pen of a bedroom. "Oh," said my offspring, "You know, because maybe the Easter Bunny isn't real." I slid past that by asking what he'd gotten and Wolf happily totted up the loot. My kid, incipient teenager that he is, Mr Cool with his green hair and wardrobe from the 'hood, really doesn't want to know if cats like Santa and the Easter Bunny are really gritty eyed sleepy parents who'd stayed up until the wee s'mas until the kids are dead asleep to dole out baskets of candy and fill Christmas stockings. Wolf loves the idea of magical beings who leave goodies. He senses, as I do, that the direct admission that Mom is the only one doing the gifting will mean the end of his childhood. Wolf isn't ready to let that go yet. Neither am I. So we dance, my boy and I, he never asks the fatal question and I never insist on answering it anyhow. Hey, he has the whole rest of his life to be a boring grown-up, let him have his magic and his fun now and for as long as he still wants them.

I got an Easter surprise of my own this morning! Mick has pretty little ears that hug close to the sides of his head, but he managed to pull off doing an Easter Bunny really darn well. Somehow he bought, toted home and then wrestled from the car to set it up on the front walk without me suspecting a thing. What did he gift me with? My very own, long coveted bathtub Madonna. I've wanted a Virgin Mary grotto in my yard since ever! And Mick got me one. He remembered when we were at the garden center last year buying MIL a hydrangea bush how I'd lingered over the Mary grottoes. Debating aloud about the merits of resins vs concrete and stone. What I liked about this paintjob and what I didn't about that shape of niche. He was listening last year and yesterday bought me the very one I'd liked most. The 'bathtub' grotto alone must weigh 130lbs. Add in the statue, which is a separate entity, that must weigh at least another 40lbs and Mick definitely courted a hernia setting this up last night. Just so I'd be surprised this morning. So sweet.

Why would LA the atheist even want this very Catholic statuary in my yard? Because I believe in Mary the same way Wolf believes in Santa. Deep down we know they're not real, but our faith is just too nice of a thing to give up entirely.

Mary of The Eyebrows lives here in my office and this new Mary, Mary of The Garden, are friendly faces. Someone to talk things out with. Imaginary friends who do what imaginary friends do best, they listen. They keep us from being entirely alone. My thing with Mary doesn't go back to my Catholic school days anyway, I started talking with Mary when I became a mother. She's a mother too, you see. Mary knows. She knows from sons who are 'different'. Other-directed sons who are so bent on their own peculiar paths they rarely, if ever, look back. Mary, like me, knows about sons who grow up into men, yet in our eyes and heart are always our beautiful baby boys.

Even if it isn't your holiday I wish you a Happy Easter.


Much love, ~LA

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