李春燕 06/10 8192
母亲节了，我同孩子们说希望跟感恩节圣诞节习俗一样收到信件。孩子们都说太忙，就以打扫屋子做数了。而看到朋友们晒子女的礼物，我也只好期待下年了。五月底，海边回来的车上聊到油价的决定因素以及期货（futures contract）期权等等，谈到了大儿子学的经济学原理。虽然我这甩手妈不问学业，每每庆幸儿子多年来独立坚韧，学习、文体、义工、社交都自己搞定，毕竟这次难得有坐车谈话的机会，就随口扯到Larry Summers父母在他小时候常常用身边实例讲解经济原理，然后提出我对他上大学的希望--critical thinking。很快话题因去吃饭结束，我因母亲节未得到花而顺道给自己买了一小盆花。
没想到第二天出门回来看到我的床头下摆了两盆花。好奇之余看到花盆下的一张纸，说“Happy Mother's Day! Flip over，I have more to say.” 那熟悉的字体是大儿子的，翻转后读到下文岂只泪湿，拍了照片追他要原文。毕业季，看看家长对孩子们赞赏有加，如果能读到孩子不经意中的反馈不是更开心吗？也是我争得同意分享的原因。没时间翻译，有意思的是儿子竟然巧妙用上了期货一词。昨晚高中发奖，到那里才知道他除了学业体育奖项，还有个Outstanding Achievement in English and the Language Arts English Award, 这在华人多以STEM见长中不容易，想起他提到学校英文系主任请他一起面试求职老师的经历，也不禁莞尔。结尾处儿子简单勾画了申请季把妈妈关于“门外”的感悟。
Last night, I spent a long time awake, dwelling on what you said about Larry Summers’s parents. About how every family gathering was a chance for his parents to diffuse their knowledge into his young and expanding mind. I thought about that dynamic for a while last night, stumbled upon a realization, then fell into a deep, slumbering sleep.
I realized that you are to me what Larry Summers’s parents were to him. From the first day to present day, you’ve been there to feed me tidbits of wisdom, grooming my awareness of the finer things in life and providing the foundations for my intellectual, social, and moral growth. When I was young you took me to Board of Education meetings and introduced me to the adult world of discussion, deal-making, and politics. You encouraged me to get out there and have some impacts (i.e., be useful), whether it be in the form of assembling orchestras to perform or of creating clubs to manage.
Even as I matured and felt stable on my own feet, your parentage never faded. Ironically, as I became more independent, able to run big things like OCA and ABC, my dependency on you only became more apparent. I, like you, subscribe to the theory that all the small things add up. Your insistence that I follow a good night’s rest with a nice, full, breakfast. Your willingness to help with any stress that I have. Your tolerance for my tendency to shut you out from my work. Your acceptance of who I am and what I want to do. Even if you may not agree with some of my choices, you have faith in me. And that, unwittingly, is your futures contract, your way of investing in my future and prosperity.
But, at the end of the day, regardless of what form your parenting assumes, it has always been an unrelenting and guiding force. Like a shadow, your maternal will has meticulously followed me, shouldering my growth without asking for a moment’s rest or a word of acknowledgement.
I look back on this whole year sometimes, and wonder at how mistaken I was to treat your well-meaning concern as unwanted intrusion, to misinterpret your intentions to help as intentions to micromanage. I hope I never relapse into such a flawed mindset that isolates my work from your assistance, because I know for certain that I will need your guidance in the upcoming college years. And there’s another thing that I know for sure; I owe you the most sincerest of thanks. I can only hope to approximate the magnitude of my gratitude toward you by combining this letter with your favorite home decoration - flowers.
Once again, thank you for being the greatest mom and, undeniably, the source of the greatest parentage.
注：Larry Summers父母和叔叔都是经济学家，两位叔叔Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow 获诺奖。Larry父母因为犹太姓氏太明显把姓改成Summers。Larry Summers是辩论能手，从正反两方面看问题，也许是他取得成就的因素之一。我儿子擅长有关时政的public forum模式的辩论，目前虽不喜欢经济学，我仍希望他朝此努力，更全面地分析问题。