Monday, March 2, 2009

Mommy Could-Have-Beens

Sometimes motherhood just isn't glamorous. Okay, pretty much motherhood is never glamorous. And lots of times I think about all the things I could be doing instead of changing diapers and doing laundry and making snacks and carting a toddler into and out of stores, up and down the slide, and back and forth in the yard.

Like, say, culinary school and caterering. Or writing fabulous books for which everyone wants to give me scads of money. Or running a bed and breakfast on the sea. Or being a fancy lawyer in a big office intimidating crooks. Or traveling to crazy amazing places and staying for months. Or just staying in bed for a few more hours of sleep.

Then Reagan says "llla-llub-booo" or he brings me a toy so we can play together or he offers me a bite of his slimy peanut butter and jam sandwich or he, out of the blue, stops playing to run in and lay his head on my knee and insists on a kiss.

At that point, it's all worth it.

I've been going through a big box of old photos and letters and memorabilia my Grandma Helen gave me. She was always clipping all kinds of interesting quotes and tidbits, poems and articles from the newspaper. A lot of them she included in letters to friends and family (I received several myself and my Dad was particularly fond of this habit of hers), but a few of what I imagine were her favorites, she kept. And I found.

She came tonight as I sat alone/ The girl that I used to be.../ And she gazed at me with her earnest eye/ And questioned reproachfully:/ Have you forgotten the many plans/ And hopes that I had for you?/ The great career, the splendid fame/ All wonderful things to do?/ Where is the mansion of stately height/ With all of its gardens rare?/ The silken robes that I dreamed for you/ And the jewels for your hair?/ And as she spoke, I was very sad,/ For I wanted her pleased with me.../ This slender girl from the shadowy past/ The girl that I used to be./ So gently arising, I took her hand,/ And guided her up the stair/ Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay/ Innocent, sweet and fair./ And I told her that these are my only gems,/ And precious they are to me;/ That silken robe is my motherhood/ Of costly simplicity./ And my mansion of stately height is love,/ And the only career I know;/ Is serving each day in these sheltering walls/ For the dear ones who come and go./ And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,/ She smiled through her tears at me;/ And I saw that the woman that I am now/ Pleased the girl that I used to be.../ Author Unknown

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