In a love story does it matter who says it first?

 

As we reflect on this pending Valentine’s Day and prepare for our NYTLS show, I am thinking fondly about my stepmother. When you hear Stepmother do you think of wicked evil women locking children in closets or making them clean the fireplace? She is often portrayed as the villain and not the subject of a love story. This year she is the subject of mine.

When we met, I was still at an age when boys were yucky so the idea that Daddy had a girl friend was really repulsive. But she grew on me. I always imagined that she was some type of saint getting involved with a man with three children. I admired her manners and gentle affect. Eventually, I loved her. By the time I was an adult we even became friends. I then had someone else’s children in my life. I would call to commiserate but she never said anything negative about us.  I knew she loved my brothers and me but it wasn’t her way to express it. I would always end a phone conversation with “I love you” and she would responds with “Me, too.” But she never said it first.

She has been battling Alzheimer’s and we have now called hospice. I was sorting through some memorabilia when I came across the program from her 50th high school reunion. Each member of her class wrote a profile. I was shocked to see that it was full of details about her stepchildren and our children, how happy she was and that, even though we weren’t hers, she loved us so much. She could have padded that profile with tales of her career or her retirement in Florida or the many trips she and my father took. But she wanted to brag about us. We brought her joy.

So maybe it never really matters who says it first but who says it best.

Come see some paintings I’ve been working on based on this thought.

See new work from my esteemed Fabulon colleagues and a few pieces by new friends.

Not Your Typical Love Story reception: Saturday February 11th,

5-8pm with a chocolate fountain.

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