Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mary Cassatt

I woke up this morning (yes, I know: that's a shocker! It means I did actually sleep at night. Like I said: a shocker!) after a vivid and horrid dream to gaze, as I always do at the "Breakfast in Bed" framed beside our own bed:

As I absorbed every detail of the painting in the early morning light, our li'l Iz, who looks exactly like the child (although two years more mature), detached herself from her mother, rolling into my arms, moaning with her own dream. As I rubbed her and cooed comfortingly, I marveled at the sameness of Cassatt's portrayal and our own microcosm. The painting and the scene before me were exactly one and the same, and, at the same time, entirely the opposite. My cara spoza and the mother in the painting couldn't be any more alike: closer, even, than twin sisters. They have the same tired and protective look in their eyes to their children (she counts me as child #3). The mother in the paint has a fuller, rounder, face and the nose is a bit different; Diane's face is thinner and more heart-shaped, showing the full force of her compassionate nature. But if this mother and my cara spoza were in the same room, I bet people would be hard pressed to distinguish the two. And, as I said, two year ago, Marie probably had Isabel pose for this sketch.

That's how our domestic life and this painting are the same. But they are different because it is Isabel who gravitates and grasps her mother, not the other way around, as in this painting. Minutes, nay, seconds away from her mother bring forth the water-works: gales of tears threaten to muffle the heart-wrenching sobs.

Yeah, I just love watching the kids when Mama's out.

But when her Mama-batteries have reached full capacity, she happily disentangles herself from being her mother's shadow, and sits on her pashti's lap-lap-lap, as she did today at Mass. The relief from the constant physical attachment was writ large on Diane's face. Be that as it may, just like the mother in the painting, Diane's eyes never once strayed from her children.

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