“I See You”
I see you, mom, in pajamas at school drop off. You who could care less about your appearance because the fact that the kids actually made it to school on time is such an accomplishment it hardly matters. Today. This time.
I see you, mom, who can’t say no to volunteering, who says no one else steps up so you have to do it, who feels like life turned into one long tumble in the washing machine, dizzying and cold.
I see you, mom, with your junk drawer completely overflowing with accumulated, well, junk. Like bumper stickers that aren’t car worthy and old iPhone chargers and receipts and spare keys to neighbor’s homes, if only you could remember whose they were.
I see you, mom, who got lost along the way and doesn’t recognize much of who you are anymore, spending all your time in the service of others, so much so that you couldn’t say what stirs your soul if you were asked and you fall into bed so dead tired you don’t have time to think about it. Anyway, no one’s asking.
I see you, mom, with the nice pump on one foot and the mismatched flat on the other. Some days the best you can manage is to show up.
I see you, mom, with spit up dried into your new, dry-clean only blouse. There is officially no dignified way to exit the house when you have a baby.
I see you, mom, on a frenzied mission, scrolling through websites for quick healthy meals for dinner tonight. Guess what? They don’t exist. Especially if it’s 4:30pm and you still have the commute home and day care pick up and you haven’t gone to the grocery store in days. Because, seriously, who has the time? What dimension of hell is this that kids need to be fed three times a day anyway???
I see you, mom, racing away from gas pump with the nozzle still in your car.
I see you, mom, who is starving for intellectual inspiration and adult conversation, but can’t figure out how to balance even part-time work with all the other stuff that needs to get done for the family.
I see you, mom, head throbbing, feverish, body aching while ringing way too loudly in your ears are the repeated and urgent words, “Mooooommmmm, I don’t feel well.”
I see you, mom, at Starbucks, who absolutely knows that this latte is going to be the highlight of your day.
I see you, mom, who tries to do it all, chaperone and sell Girl Scout cookies and make healthy, homemade meals and sign the kids up for all their activities and then actually execute on getting them there. Did I mention the full-time job?
Birthday party planning
New shoes, ideally well before you are leaving for the piano recital and realize that the dress shoes don’t fit. Either kid.
I see you, mom, who is buried under never-ending piles of laundry and groceries to buy and bills to pay and birthday presents to buy and holiday meals to make.
Did someone say decorations? Yeah, I see you, mom, whose holiday lights are still on the tree. In May. Way to plan ahead for next year.
I see you, mom, who wonders why it is that the kids have to be reminded to wash their hands, pack their school bags, unpack their lunches, clean their rooms, practice their instruments…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. How many years have we been doing this?
I see you, mom, who feels like the trip leader of life, like you are everyone’s guide on this journey and they can’t seem to function without asking you how to do it first. And then they ignore you and do it their own way anyway.
I see you, mom, who is taking care of your mom, and missing her wise counsel and yummy cooking and mom advice. You, who are flooded with memories of the incredibly capable woman she was, and can’t reconcile them with the woman she is now, who barely knows you let alone remembers your birthday or a recipe.
I see you, mom, who lost your mom far too young. And, you, whose mom is alive and helpful and wonderful and still bugs the heck out of you sometimes.
I see the whisper of tears in your eyes that you quickly brush away, when some days it just feels like too much. Strong shoulders, but human shoulders. Vulnerable and tired and overwhelmed by the pace and the volume and the sensation that you are not terribly in control.
I see you, I see you every day, and I know.
I understand. And I am here acknowledging all the little things that just don’t get done without you.
Happy Mother’s Day.
In gratitude for moms everywhere and for my village.
It’s a good time to put your own oxygen mask on. This is another writer’s take on why: