Long before working mothers became so accepted they're TV-drama heroines, there was a gathering of feminists in Tokyo, where pantomimist Mamako Yoneyama performed a piece on womanhood that ended with her hurling paper plates into the air,
luminous white circles flying like spaceships, one by one, from her hand toward us, gifts of strength and hope.
They were just pieces of paper after they fell to earth.
But Yoneyama, with her voice, movement, character and presence, made them undoubtedly artistic statements.
Maybe things have changed for the younger generation.
But back then, when I was juggling job and motherhood, I was treated as an anomaly to be despised, maybe someone who was abusing her child with neglect.
Kids would come up to my son and ask with a straight face: Do you have a mother?
So unused were they to the idea that a mom could possibly be working and couldn't be there to pick them up, volunteer with the PTA, gossip in school hallways, schmooze with teachers.
The image was unforgettable _ a woman tackling a humble stack of dishes _ transforming them with the beauty of movement, a whip of her delicate wrist, into a galaxy of light defying gravity.
After it was over, we gasped in a moment of joyous silence.
I want to read a poem and throw paper plates into the air _ line by line, in homage of Yoneyama.