Sara Smollett

May 27, 1997

When he was only a baby, Ann read her son many books. One of her favorite books to read was an old and battered copy of Little Red Riding Hood that she had had as a child. And so it was only fitting that when her son got a bit older, his favorite stuffed animal was one of a wolf in sheep's clothing. He thought it was the big bad wolf pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. She had gotten the wolf as a wedding present from an old friend, who had remarked, only half jokingly, "that's what men are like."

But her son, of course, wasn't a wolf, because he was young and innocent. He carried the wolf with him around the house, by a rope slung over his shoulder that he had tied in loose knots around its neck and legs. She watched him, thinking, "that's what marriage is like."

But her husband was a kind and loving man, who cared for her and their son. And still every night she removed her wedding ring to go to sleep, and her finger felt sore and was marked by lines, a strong reminder that the ring belonged there and there was no escaping it. Her wedding ring wasn't a simple ring; instead, they had had it specially designed in the shape of a Mobius strip, a band with a twist in it, so that tracing its path was twice as long. She could run her fingernail along it and find herself back where she started but upside-down.

"That's motherhood," she thought, looking down at her child, dragging the wolf along with him.