Well, I know what you’re thinking, this doesn’t sound like a positive post about living your dreams. But, it was one of those days, and they say to write what you know.
First off, who is that woman in the mirror? Some days she’s bright-eyed and passionate. At other times I look and look but I wonder what has happened to me. Where exactly have I gone, again?
My husband is the one who first noticed the dead-eyed moms. They seem to populate the places we frequent. The drop-in preschools, kid play areas, swimming pool. Especially the swimming pool. Having just come from watching my son’s swimming lesson today, I can attest to this. They (we?!) are all sitting there, watching our children solemnly from the benches provided. Some are reading, others texting. Others simply staring, dead-eyed into space. The pool is a special place. The air is humid, the sound of screaming permeates the space (don’t worry, they’re mostly squeals of delight), and there is always loud background music. Somehow, it is enough to lose yourself.
Perhaps my child is young enough that I still have a sense of pride watching him in his swimming lesson. I hardly want to take my eyes off of him, “What’s he going to do next!?” (Answer: run off on the teacher, who has to leave the other kids, splashing precariously in water up to their shoulders, to retrieve him).
Anyways, today I felt like a dead-eyed mom. Exhausted, tired, uninspired. And wondered, is this what I am destined to become – or, if you must – remain?
I absolutely love parenting. It is the best, most meaningful thing I have ever done. Obviously. What mother doesn’t say that? But, really, speaking from experience, what mother doesn’t mean that? Nothing else in my life has given me such great joy, but also pushed me so hard to be a better person. The kind of person my children will be proud of. The kind of mother I will be proud of.
I suppose it’s the daily grind. But, those dead-eyed moms serve as a reminder to me. Both of my own vulnerability, but also of my dreams. Because, if I forget myself, I don’t stand a chance. I can feel my eyes glazing over as I write this (or maybe that is just the extreme tiredness of having written this as well as 2300 words of my novel today!). So dead eyes go away, moms all over hang in there, because we all know it’s worth it. And it so very much is. Let’s just not forget the self-care, too.
And, who knows, perhaps I will even grow to like suburbia one of these days?
Now, with that, I retreat. To care for myself. All the way to bed.