Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

The Gareth Report

I always hesitate to post about my son and my life as a mother. This, after all, is a blog about writing and teaching, and the part of me that read lots of John Gardner's books on the crafting of fiction says, You can't just change the authorial contract with your reader like that! Keep your motherhood out of it! What could I possibly have to say about being a parent that countless other parents have not already said? My love for Gareth is bigger than the earth, bigger than the all the visible stars, bigger than the thirteen-dimensional superstring that allegedly makes up the multiverse, bigger than whatever is bigger than the superstring that the string theorists haven't guessed at yet. And so is the love of just about every parent for just about every child. It's the most important part of my life. It's also completely unoriginal.

But if there's one thing I learned from the best of my poetry mentors, it's that separating the life from the art costs more than it gives, and mars the work. Alicia only really took off as a poet when she started writing about the other love that dare not speak its name--when she was willing to risk the charge of sentimentality and write about her life as a mother. It's time I reread The Mother/Child Papers. It's time everybody read The Mother/Child Papers.

Gareth's a speaking subject now, with four spoken words and an American Sign Language vocabulary that's suddenly growing so fast, we're not even sure how big it is. Just in the past two days, he's started combining words and signs into proto-sentences: "Daddy" and the sign for more when Dan was about to leave for the office, "Daddy, hi!" and the sign for phone just before the time of day when I usually call Dan on speaker phone so Gareth can hear his voice. Really, Gareth seems to be more interested in his father than in anything else on earth. Which makes perfect sense to me. I've been there.
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