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时间:2017-08-12 15:49:59 来源:千叶帆 本文已影响


  I grew up in asmall town where the elementary school was a ten-minute walk from my house andin an age, not so long ago, when children could go home for lunch and findtheir mothers waiting。


  At the time, I did not consider this a luxury ,although today it certainly would be. I took it for granted that mothers werethe sandwich-makers, the finger-painting appreciators and the homeworkmonitors. I never questioned that this ambitious, intelligent woman, who had a career before I was born and wouldeventually return to a career, would spend almost every lunch hour throughoutmy elementary school years just with me。


  I only knew that when the noon bell rang, I would racebreathlessly home. My mother would be standing at the top of the stairs,smiling down at me with a look that suggested I was the only important thingshe had on her mind. For this, I am forever grateful。


  Some sounds bring it all back: the high-pitched squealof my mother’s teakettle, the rumble of the washing machine in the basement,the jangle of my dog’s license tags as she bounded downthe stairs to greet me. Our time together seemed devoid of the gerrymanderedschedules that now pervade my life。


  One lunchtime when I was in the third grade will staywith me always. I had been picked to be the princess in the school play, andfor weeks my mother had painstakingly rehearsed my lines with me. But no matterhow easily I delivered them at home, as soon as I stepped onstage, every worddisappeared from my head。


  Finally, my teacher took me aside. She explained thatshe had written a narrator’s part to the play, andasked me to switch roles. Her words, kindly delivered, still stung, especiallywhen I saw my part go to another girl。


  I didn’t tell my mother what had happened when I wenthome for lunch that day. But she sensed my unease, and instead of suggesting wepractice my lines, she asked if I wanted to walk in the yard。


  It was a lovely spring day and the rose vine on thetrellis was turning green. Under the huge elm trees, we could see yellowdandelions popping through the grass in bunches, as if a painter had touchedour landscape with dabs of gold。


  I watched my mother casually bend down by one of theclumps, I think I’m going to dig up all these weeds, she said, yanking ablossom up by its roots. From now on, we’ll have only roses in this garden。

  我看见妈妈在一丛花旁漫不经心地弯下腰。“我想我应该把这些野草全拔掉,” 她一边说一边将一蔸开得正茂盛的花儿连根拔起。“从今以后,我们的花园里只有玫瑰。”

  But I like dandelions, I protested. All flowers arebeautiful even dandelions。


  My mother looked at me seriously. Yes, every flowergives pleasure in its own way, doesn’t it? She asked thoughtfully. I nodded,pleased that I had won her over . And that is true of people too, she added.Not everyone can be a princess, but there is no shame in that。


  Relieved that she had guessed my pain, I started to cryas I told her what had happened. She listened and smiled reassuringly 。


  But you will be a beautiful narrator, she said,reminding me of how much I loved to read stories aloud to her, The narrator’spart is every bit as important as the part of the princess。


  Over the next few weeks, with her constantencouragement, I learned to take pride in the role. Lunchtimes were spentreading over my lines and talking about what I would wear。


  Backstage the night of the performance, I felt nervous.A few minutes before the play, my teacher came over to me. Your mother asked meto give this to you, she said, handing me a dandelion. Its edges were alreadybeginning to curl and it flopped lazily from its stem. But just looking at it,knowing my mother was out there and thinking of our lunchtime talk, made meproud。


  After the play, I took home the flower I had stuffed inthe apron of my costume. My mother pressed it between two sheets of papertoweling in a dictionary, laughing as she did it that we were perhaps the onlypeople who would press such a sorry-looking weed。


  I often look back on our lunchtimes together, bathed inthe soft midday light. They were the commas in my childhood, the pauses thattold me life is not savored in pre-measured increments, but in the sum of dailyrituals and small pleasures we casually share with loved ones. Overpeanut-butter sandwiches and chocolate-chip cookies, I learned that love, firstand foremost, means being there for the little things。


  A few months ago, my mother came to visit. I took off aday from work and treated her to lunch. The restaurant bustled with noontimeactivity as businesspeople made deals and glanced at their watches. In themiddle of all this sat my mother, now retired, and I. From her face I could seethat she relished the pace of the work world。


  Mom, you must have been terribly bored staying at homewhen I was a child, I said。


  Bored? Housework is boring. But you were never boring。


  I didn’t believe her so Ipressed. Surely children are not as stimulating as a career。


  A career is stimulating, she said. I’m glad I had one. But a career is like an open balloon. It remainsinflated only as long as you keep pumping. A child is a seed. You water it. Youcare for it the best you can. And then it grows all by itself into a beautifulflower。