Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not Just a Fantasy

You know how, before you had kids, you had no idea how hard it would be? Remember when you had no idea how hard your parents worked and lifting your feet up so Mom could vacuum was irritating? You know how you were oblivious to the unending worry, hope, prayer and tears that went into the raising of you? Those questions are all answered pretty quickly, once that first baby comes.

I have five children and being a mother is the thing I have most wanted in my life. I was just reminded, by an old friend, how I used to talk about being pregnant with a dreamy look on my face. I would stuff a pillow under my shirt and look in the mirror and wonder. I am also a romantic, so my mother dreams were never realistic. I went to birthing classes with the express purpose of getting a little reality in my vision of labor. In fact, when asked why I was there, I believe I said something like, "In my mind, I am going through labor in a white linen dress. My good husband is standing at my head with love in his eyes as he gazes at me. A soft, wet curl has fallen over my forehead and a glow of perspiration shines on my face. I need to know what it will really be like."

There were other romantic notions that clouded my prophesying. It has frustrated me, at times, but there are other times when they are fulfilled.

One could walk right by without noticing the modest, unassuming house. It did not stand out, it did not make a statement. If you did take a chance to see what was inside, however, you would know that something was different about this place. The room was basically tidy, but there were a couple of plates left, not forgotten, but not yet attended to, on the table. A basket of unfolded laundry sat awaiting attention, but you hardly noticed those things. There was a feeling. A mother sat in her rocking chair with a book in one hand. A single lamp lighted the pages and cast deep shadows around the rest of the room. A small child, who was cradled in her lap, felt her eyes grow heavy as she was lulled by the voice of her mother. The old, deep couch was the resting place for two more children. They lay sprawled together, looking not at each other, but off--into their imaginations, as a place and time, other than their own, was illustrated by their narrator. Then, continuing your scan of the room, you see a fourth child, maybe seven or eight years old, holding a baby of about the same number of months. She rocks the baby gently, but she, too, is caught up in the story as her mother reads. As you watch the love with which the girl strokes the fat cheeks of the baby in her lap, you look back at the mother. She has food smeared on her left shoulder and there are signs of past stresses on her still-young face. Here, at the end of the day, her hair is no longer neat, her make-up has faded. She is not wearing a lovely dress with folds of silk, she is in jeans and a sweater, but it's okay. She reads with animation and sometimes has to stop reading aloud to laugh or wipe tears from her cheeks. She subconsciously fingers the hair of the toddler in her lap and you think, "It doesn't get any better than this."

Dreams do come true, only, like the book to it's movie, real life is so much better.


  1. Reality is sometimes better than fantasy. Do you know the really wonderful thing? MEMORY works the same way. I know it is like that for you, but I also know it was like that for me sometimes too... and when you recall it, it is comforting and restful to the soul. I also remember when I was the little one sprawled on the couch.
    Enjoy the NOW, but you AND your children will also enjoy the memory.

  2. I love you, Mom. I remember being the one in the lap.

  3. I love your blog. You're so descriptive and this was particularly touching.