I spend most days happily going about my work, whether it be laundry, or cleaning or cooking or whatever. I am generally happy. I do not like cleaning the bathrooms, though. And I’m not a big fan of the dusting. Nor do I like to clean the floors. Actually, I pretty much don’t like doing any cleaning-ish type of stuff. But that said, I do it, and I’m generally happy when I do. I look around and smile when something sparkles. And that tends to be enough for me.
But sprinkled in among those happy days is an “other” type of day, in which I feel like the only person in this house that appreciates all that cooking and laundry and cleaning-ish type of stuff. And the cleaning feels pointless. Because as soon as it sparkles, someone comes over with sticky fingers and smears it all up. Which is rather annoying, frankly. I think to myself that I should just stop cleaning, and see how long it takes them to notice how disgusting it would get. And then I wonder if they would even notice at all. (Which could mean that I may need to step up the cleaning a notch, if they can’t notice the difference. Or that my family is gross.)
Anyhoo. A couple of months ago, Kate told me she wrote about her hero in her daily journal. And her hero was me. Hallelujah, someone has finally seen the light! I couldn’t wait to see what she had written about me. And here is what she wrote…
My mom’s a hero! She takes care of me. She loves me. I love her back. My mom takes me to the bus stop. She makes me dinner. My mom makes cookies and hot chocolate for snack. She puts me to bed too. She puts my sheets on my bed. My mom is a hero because she does nice things to me. I picked her because she’s the best! When I get mad, she’s still my hero. Sometimes my dad is a hero too. But my mom is even better! She is the best hero ever!
Oh, I sat there all smug and puffy on my pedestal. I even re-read it a time or two–I liked the part about the sheets. And then I pretty much wilted as a smattering of memories of all the times I’ve let her down nipped in. The times I could have been a better mom, but wasn’t for one reason or another. Like telling her we needed to paint our toenails red for the fourth of July (and really intending to do so), but not finding the two hours it would take to enjoy that with her. Really? I really couldn’t find just two hours within a five day span to do that? My life with her is peppered with instances like this. Peppered with guilt for the times I should have done more, should have been better. Sometimes I feel like such a disappointment.
And still, I am her hero.
I am her hero even though I sometimes have one of those “other” types of days where I go about my business not happily, but grumbling the entire time about how nobody appreciates me, and how I could drop off the face of the earth and no one would notice until they figured out that their clothes didn’t magically wash themselves and the dinner didn’t just appear out of thin air, fully-cooked in a pot on the stove, and no one was there to kiss the booboos or wipe the noses.
(I’m pretty sure the world would continue turning even without me, but it’s fun to pretend that it might just spin off it’s axle if I ceased to exist.)
And then after telling them exactly how much they would miss me, I flip that on it’s head and grumble about how much happier they might be without me because no one would gripe at them to put their dirty socks in the hamper, and they could be with the other “fun” parent all day long.
(And also none of their clothes would match because the “fun” parent thinks that because they’re both pink, they must go together. Which is annoying.)
So what stands out in my mind after reading Kate’s journal entry is that those moods of mine are just dumb. And also, I need to stop the grumbling. Because when my children grow up, I want them to remember their mom the way I always dreamed I would be, and that is not grumbling. I always dreamed I’d be happily busy, and I always dreamed I would look pretty (that ship has pretty much sailed…). I always dreamed that I would have a spotless home, and a refrigerator full of the most wonderful food that I prepared all by myself. Mostly, I dreamed that I would be their soft place to fall. I never dreamed that I would be a grump, not even now and then. I never dreamed I would be so hell-bent on being appreciated, and making sure everyone knew exactly how hard I work.
They do notice the things that I do. But even if they don’t notice everything, who really cares? I am her hero. And that is pretty much all I need to remember.
I am her hero.