Son Shares Mom’s Painting On Reddit, What Happens Next Is So Sweet

Who among us has not gone to a paint and sip event where we’ve produced, if not a Picasso, then certainly a piece of art of which we can be proud? I recently participated in such an art event and my “piece” is hanging proudly in my kitchen where all who enter can throw shade at it, and they do, routinely.

One school teacher, Cyndi Decker took an art class and painted an egret, (which for those of you not in the know is a big white bird). Her teenage son, Mathew decided to share her artwork on Reddit, and under the picture of his mom holding her picture, he wrote, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting.” Mom was worried that her son’s Reddit post would bring out the Internet haters. But, that’s not at all what happened and the rest, as they say, is social media history.

And it’s unbearably sweet.

mom with egret painting
Mom with her painting shared on Reddit (Reddit/Gaddafo)

A Swedish artist, Kristoffer Zetterstrand saw the photo on Reddit and decided to paint Cyndi holding her photo. Then he photographed himself holding his painting of Decker holding her painting and captioned it, “I painted somebody’s mom.”

I painted somebody's mom
“I painted somebody’s mom.” (r/picsk__z/ Reddit)

And then…a Canadian journalism student, Laila Amer, painted a picture of Zetterstrand holding his painting of Decker holding her painting and she posted a photo of her holding her painting with a caption that read, “But I painted the guy who painted the other guy’s mom.”

Lili of the night egret
Reddit(/lillyofthenight) “But I painted the guy who painted the other guy’s mom.”


Another artist jumped in captioning the photo of his painting, “I painted the girl who painted the guy who painted the other guy’s mom who painted an egret.”

man paints paining in painting
(Reddit/seamuswray) “I painted the girl who painted the guy who painted the other guy’s mom who painted an egret.”

And so, it went, on and on and on…layer after confusing layer, leading someone to try to help us decipher the whole thing by creating a flowchart of the paintings and their derivatives.

reddit flowchart of people holding painting

The story would not be confined to Reddit, soon appearing on social media platforms across the Internet. Cyndi Decker told a reporter from the Washington Post that she had been named the “the honorary mom of Reddit.”

Mom ultimately joined Reddit as “imthemomwhopaints” so she could thank her many admirers. She wrote that she was “You all have proven me so wrong. I’m assuming most of you could be my kids, and y’all get a bad rap in this world. You all are compassionate, caring, and a ton of fun! Thanks for uplifting me! You all have inspired me instead.”

Cyndi and Matt, you have inspired us as well (#mothersongoals) and we couldn’t love this story more.


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About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

More by Helene Wingens:

What Every Mom Needs to Teach Her Son About Rape
6 Reasons Why Moms Cry When They Leave Their Kids at College
Dear Parent Freshman, You Need to Know This About Your Student
Crushing Culture of Parental Expectations
What Moms of Grown Sons Want Them to Know

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