One day, I discovered a beautiful painting of a Joss House in a thrift store. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the painter’s granddaughter had very recently revised and restored a book by the artist. This book just so happens to be a “timeless statement of a mother’s love” for her two-year-old daughter.
My youngest daughter turns two in six weeks.
I originally believed I discovered that painting so I could reunite it with a person who loved the artist. I now believe I discovered the painting so I could discover the book and be fully reunited with the privilege of motherhood.
Ellen Chong was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of the book. Save for our connecting via the painting via the Internet I doubt I would have learned of its existence.
As I turn the pages, I am just in awe of the pictures and poems Lovett wrote about her two-year-old daughter, Mary Louise. Every mother of a toddler should have this book. It is so very happy.
On every single page, I see the Super Bridgy, eating her breakfast, taking a nap; playing in spring, summer, autumn, winter. There is one page that is so reflective of our lives right now — the Super Bridgy standing in her crib upstairs next to our bed watching Daddy sleep.
A Happy Day, Louise Lovett
I’ve been wondering what it is Lovett would say to me if she were standing in front of me now. I know she would tell me to treat every day as a happy day. The mush and the milk; the daylight that bids Bridgy. She squeals and awakens the rest of the house before we are set to rise. She carries the giant broom around trying to “help” mommy while knocking things off the wall.
Why did God seek me out via Lovett’s artwork? Why did I not find this painting five years ago or five years from now? What guided me? Do you believe in coincidence? Really, how could anyone dismiss the irony of me finding that painting at nearly the precise time the book about her two-year-old was lovingly restored and winning awards?
In every page of this book, Lovett’s art is a testimony, which confirms I did the right thing when I decided one year ago to walk away from the 40-plus-hour-a-week grind of a well-paying, prestigious job. It was a difficult decision, but for me, it was the right thing to do. It was the beginning of me finding my voice again, and finding my happy day.
Still, for the last year, I have surrendered to the often mundane and repetitive tasks of managing a household and three-children. I have continued to manage some work responsibilities and I started a virtual PR shop, but the majority of my time has been spent at home. For someone who has been in the professional workforce since 1990, it’s been an adjustment. The laundry, dishes, diapers, and Dora have all been mind-numbing at times.
Lovett’s art has reminded me of the temporal beauty of it all. It reminds me of her life as well as her death. Eventually, she departed this world, leaving behind everyone she loved, including that two-year-old girl who is now 86. This was far harder, I am sure than any wrestling she did with her ambitions as an artist and writer.
Her work has reminded me that two is fleeting. One day, I will put the Super Bridgy to bed, and the next day I will awaken to find she is grown.
Once upon a time, I was two and my mother was young. I thank her for loving me like the little girl in this book was loved. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’ve given me and the kids so many happy days.
And, to Ellen Chong: Congratulations! And, to Louise Lovett: Thank you.