A Minute in the City 4-26-22: The Thing About Moms and Dads

It was an idea that took years to materialize: greeting cards to celebrate moms and dads.

The reason it took me so long was that I had questions about the subject matter. What did it mean to be a mom or a dad? And how did adult children really feel about the once-a-year celebrations to honor them? The answer was complicated. There was no one-size-fits-all answer.

First, many kids – and let’s face it, we’re all kids – have an expanded idea of what a parent is. Some grow up with extra parents – aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family friends – who love them and lead them and help them explore their universe.

Others grow up with one parent. Or with two moms or two dads. Still others grow up in homes far from their countries and families of origin. How does one create a greeting card for all of them?

It took losing my own parents a few years ago to realize how complicated the parental role is. My mother was a witty woman who could think on her feet, so she could handle anything that came her way. She was a teacher, a domestic engineer, and a practical joker. And she was content to perform all these duties to her own high standards without ever expecting to be recognized for any of them. In fact, she really didn’t like it when I thanked her for being a good mom.

My dad, on the other hand, loved the accolades. And he deserved them. He worked hard all day and played just as hard in the evenings and on weekends. He threw the ball with us in the aisles of the grocery store. He took us swimming at the Y. He took me out for donuts every Saturday morning.

In other words, he was a dad. And my mom was a mom. And the older I get, the more I realize just how much that means. So it was with deep personal reflection and with a recognition of all families that I created Artcards “suitable for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.”

These cards aren’t specific to one parent or the other. And they’re not tied to a single day of the year. But they say what is sometimes hard to say on a daily basis. And they say what is especially hard to say to those who know us better than anybody else. An everyday message for an everyday 24/7 relationship. We’ll be looking up to them forever.



A YEAR IN THE CITY Artcards are designed to “matte in a minute” so they can be displayed as mini-prints after they are received. Packaged 8 to a box with brightly-colored envelopes and all-occasion messages: 2 birthday, 2 love, 2 Mother’s/Father’s Day, 1 “missing you” and 1 congratulations.  Click here to purchase or here to watch the quick little matte-in-a-minute video.

A Minute in the City 4-9-2022: Energy in Motion

I may have been deprived as a child. I didn’t have kinetic sculptures to teach me about science. I didn’t have wind tunnels and archaeological digs. I grew up in a time when science was serious and dangerous and even a little angry. Science wasn’t meant to be fun. It was meant to be intimidating. And my, how it delivered on that promise!

I played through eighth- and ninth-grade science, dressing up the life-sized classroom skeleton and drawing diagrams of Brownian Motion in my notebooks. (You guessed it. The pictures were of brownies running away.)

Later, I discovered that there may have been a reason that I didn’t take STEM more seriously. In an education course I took in college, I learned that girls’ brains develop differently than boys’ do – the right brain being dominant earlier in life, while the opposite is true for boys. Historically, this led educators to believe that women weren’t meant to be scientists. When I learned this, I felt vindicated. I was free to pursue my right-brain impulses! I had permission to ignore science!

And you have permission to judge me for that. Older Janet judges Younger Janet all the time. Especially when I consider the company I am lucky enough to keep now: professors, researchers, and doctors who happen to be women. Not only are they making a difference in the world. They are communicating what they know to the right-brained without prejudice, including little girls.

Only now is my left brain beginning to question the world around me, way too late in life for me to do anything about it. But, if the point of learning is not to advance, but to understand, that’s still something, isn’t it?

So back to the St. Louis Science Center, the largest part of which was erected off of Highway 40 (as it was then called) in 1991. We had just returned to the St. Louis area after a prolonged hiatus, with two little kids in tow. And the science center became one of our favorite places to play.

At the time, I hadn’t learned too much about science, but I’d learned a lot about kids. One thing I’d learned was that play was just another word for learning. And our kids played hard. In many ways, they were like the balls of the Energizer Ball Machine racing above their heads – bright, beautiful illustrations of energy in motion. It took only the slightest nudge and they were off and running – learning, playing, discovering the power within.


The St. Louis Science Center is the April feature in my 2022 A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar. It is also available as a limited edition archival print or litho print. For more information, see ayearinthecity.com.