Tonight there was a big art celebration at E's preschool. I went early to help hang up all of the students' art, and I was heartened to touch and admire their creative efforts.
E, D, and his mother came later -- after all the art was hung and the celebration was "open for business." D's mom took me aside and showed me how some students did "better work" than others.
I said, "Did you really say that, L? ...that some of the paintings are better than others?"
"Yes, I did say that. Some of the pictures are better than others."
These conversations break my heart.
Earlier in the evening, my MIL sat with E and helped her with a painting project. I happened to pop into the room and saw E just in love with the commotion in the room. She loved watching the other kids paint their projects. She was just leaning back in her chair, relaxing with her chest forward and heart open, with a big smile across her face.
Later, my MIL told me how frustrated she was that E wouldn't focus on her project -- that she had been watching everyone around her instead of painting her own piece.
And still later this evening, I inquired about the soup dinner my MIL went to at her church last night. It was sponsored by the Hispanic community of the church this week, and she told me that there were mostly "other" people there... "you know... Chicanos... there weren't very many people there like you and me." She was bewildered that no one had made Tortilla Soup because it's served in most Mexican restaurants. She was surprised that someone brought a potato soup that had an authentic Mexican name.
I try so hard to be open with and respectful of my MIL. But tonight I feel sad.