From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul


Few things are more rewarding than a child’s open, uncalculating devotion.

Vera Brittain

I never saw Spiderman look so good.

In a plot to create a Mother’s Day surprise, my eldest son orchestrated a covert gift-making operation. From his four siblings, he recruited the two who don’t drool.

Secretly, they filled page after page from their favorite coloring books to create their masterpiece: a Spiderman collage. Their superhero, adorned in a rainbow of colors, is depicted in all sorts of cataclysmic scenarios—battling villains and ensuring that good triumphs over evil.

The pages are ranked according to the artistic abilities of a seven-, four- and three-year-old. Each bears a message— written in varying degrees of coherence—ranging from “Happy Mother’s Day” to merely the artist’s name, in randomly selected capital letters.

It’s adorable. Completely uninitiated and, therefore, all the more cherished.

The kids stowed the pages in a private location, accessible only by the tooth fairy: underneath their pillows. When the pictures emerged on Mother’s Day, they looked, to say the least, well-rested.

I’m a big fan of the web slinger. But that’s not what makes the gift tear-jerking precious.

Instead, it’s the chubby face with dazzling eyes. It’s the dimpled little hands. It’s the “Happy Mudder’s Day” moment when a wad of priceless artwork was thrust at me—the reason all mothers save yarn flowers, painted rocks and Popsicle-stick crafts. It’s that face, that look that says, For this moment in my little life, you, Mommy, are the most important person in the world to me.

I dread the day they won’t look at me with such admiration, when my loving glances might not be reciprocated. Or the day my man-child looks at “another” woman with admiration and love. And today’s handcrafted token will become the souvenir of my past.

But for now, I am the object of their affection. Their first love. Their superhero. And I’ll tuck away my Mother’s Day gift along with a piece of my heart.

Besides, a purple and orange Spidey? You can’t put a price on talent like that!

Christina Quist

Reprinted by permission of Off the Mark. Mark Parisi.

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