Sunday, May 09, 2010

Notes to My Daughters on Mother's Day

Before I had babies, I thought and hoped and imagined that I'd be a patient mom; that I wouldn't snap at you over things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things, that won't even matter tomorrow. I try so hard to be patient and calm and kind at all times, to not raise my voice so often, but I never get it right; it's like a robin willing herself to be a bright bluebird. I wish I could show you how to be infinitely patient and unruffled by the extremes of life, but I just can't do that. But I can show you how to be really, really excited by the small pleasures of life, like a good run in the woods or picking cherry tomatoes on a summer Saturday or making pizza dough from scratch or Christmas.

I wish I could be that laidback, carefree mom who doesn't stress about how many fruit and vegetable servings you get and how many treats you have in one day. The kind of mom who doesn't let it bother me too much that someone else's mom gave you three cups of juice and a full-size Little Debbie Honey Cake and you inhaled it all and felt sick later. I can't do that. But I can teach you how to make a really good organic Swiss chard and zucchini tart, and one day you'll love me for that skill.

I wish I could show you how to always forgive and forget, to take the noble path every time someone wrongs you, to never hold a grudge. But I'm not like that. What I can show you is--if you can't forgive and forget when a friend betrays you--how to write a really good essay about it and get it included in an anthology available on Amazon as your biggest publishing success, which--let's face it--is just a really, really awesome outcome.

I wish I could teach you how to do a cartwheel, and how to dive into a pool, and how to reliably hit a ball with a bat, so that you will always feel strong and capable and able to hold your own in elementary-school P.E. class and at sports-and-games birthday parties. I never learned how to do any of those things, so I can't do that. But I can take you running with me as soon as you get old enough, and show you that every girl can be strong and fit and active, if she's just shown how.

I wish I could be the perfect mom, the one about whom you'll say one day, "My mom was the BEST. She stayed home with us full-time, and we had fun every single day. She never lost her temper and we always knew how much she loved us." I know I will never be perfect, and Lord knows I lose my temper, but I trust that the last part of that sentence is and will be with you always.


Anne said...

this is precious, thank you for sharing.

Mnmom said...

But they WILL say those things, because even on your absolute worst days you're an amazing Mom. Amazing because you even CARE to bring up everything you "can't" do.

If there is a perfect Mom out there I don't want to know her, because I think she'd be really boring. Give me a wonderfully flawed human with talents and skills and a good sense of humor any day!