“I am 4 years old”
Clare — Alexandria, Minnesota
This is my mother, photographed with her answer to the question, “What about yourself do you value so much that you hope you never lose sight of it?”
My mother is terrified of the Internet. This is the first time she’s ever let me put a photo of her online. But she was so in favor of the start of this project, The Uncompromising Project, that she not only let me take this and put it up, but insisted hers was the first photo taken.
That meant the damn world to me.
From my poem/essay My Mother, the Four Year-Old:
“This is a woman who has been laughing at the same jokes for twenty years and often will call to tell me who died in the most amusing way that week.
“Her personal favorites are when men fall off their tractors. This is a woman who routinely drops my roommates’ items into her purse because she wants them and sees no reason she shouldn’t have them.
“Once, after a breakup, she sat me down and very solemnly said, “I need you to know I never liked her.” After a different breakup, she called a dear friend of mine and asked her to sleep with me. When I called my mother to tell her she can’t say things like this, she told me, “Don’t worry; I’m just planting the idea in case you both get drunk enough to be really stupid – no one wants to sleep with you.”
“She began laughing too hard to finish the conversation. I wished her a very happy Thanksgiving.
“I have promised to name a book after her: My Mother, the Four Year-Old.”