Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vacation

Lately I've been thinking. About motherhood and what it means to be a mother. This week, in particular, I have been acutely aware of my motherness and the motherness, or not-so-motherness of those around me. On Tuesday I took my children to the MFA in Boston where a woman offered to hold my tray as we waited in the cafeteria line with a hundred other people waiting in line to pay for their food. The woman told me that she'd "been there" and understood. I didn't hesitate a bit with "yes" when she offered. Then the cashier, who may or may not have had kids, left her post to carry my very full tray over to the empty table waiting for me, empty because a nice man who had been sitting alone at the small table saw my stroller, my three children and me; instead of avoiding eye contact, he offered a place for us to land. And then today a woman at the library with two children of her own helped clean up Aidan's spilled popcorn because I had a babe in arms. By four o'clock, looking for things to do with three children and in need of a few groceries, I poorly planned a late afternoon shopping trip to Trader Joe's. Two days full of understanding of motherness and then one woman at the friendly, happy, good karma store threw up her arms in disgruntlement as my two children, not able to fit in the baby and grocery-filled cart, looked, with their EYES, at a display. Couldn't I puuhhleaze move my children so that she and her shopping cart could get through? "It's busy in here," I said gruffly as I waved along my children who were NOT pissing in a plant, kicking, screaming, or telling the woman to go fuck herself.

I tell these stories because I want to remind myself that some people make things such as mothering easier and then some make things harder. This is obvious, yes, but I need to say it. Some understand that sometimes mothers need help and understanding, or at least a cup of coffee or a pint of beer or a night out. In a culture that tells us in a gazillion ways that mothers can't get it right, sometimes it's nice to feel the love instead of the hate. This week I've felt both, but mostly I want to remember the love.

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