I see you everywhere: you, Mom, the one who talks so sweetly to her children and disciplines firmly but kindly, who is always self-possessed and I admire you. I see you at church on a weekly basis, I see you at the grocery store and sometimes even in my own home. And I’ve begun to wonder what I would see if I could be the proverbial fly on your wall.
Do you, too, yell at your children? Do your children sometimes wonder if you love them because you can’t stop yourself from being mean to them when you are having a bad day or when you want to spend time doing something just for yourself but your children won’t let you? Do you often have dinner on the table right before bedtime because you just can’t pull yourself together enough to do…well, anything on time?
Or is the fairytale true and you have dinner promptly at 6:00 and you have a smile for your husband and a kind word for each of your precious babies? Do you wake up early and dress yourself and do your hair before the children wake up and then you dress them and do their hair and never forget to feed yourself because you’re too busy with them? Of course you make mistakes because everyone does, but are your mistakes of the same variety and severity as mine? Or are you really able to keep your house clean for unexpected visitors while, at the same time, having your priorities straight and making time to teach your children new things and to teach them to be kind, good people mostly by your own example?
I wonder about you, Mom, because I want to be like you, but who are you, really? The conclusion I’ve come to is that I will never know because you, like me, deal with your struggles privately. What happens there is between you, your children, and your god and perhaps that means it’s something that I’m not meant to know because I need an ideal. I need you to look up to, to want to be and I need your ideal behavior at church and at the grocery store to help me self-examine and re-determine to be you in my own little way. Thank you, you Mom.