Surely I am not the only person who wonders if their children were put forth onto this planet as cosmic kick in the pants. There is no greater mirror of who we are than reflections see mirrored in the eyes of our own children, who look up to us every day.
Nothing humbles me faster than my 10 year-old mini-me, a uniquely intuitive soul with a personality all her own, whose quirky antics and spectacled awkwardness are a carbon copy glimpse into my own childhood. One of the key differences between us is my child is an old soul. She doesn’t miss a thing and never edits her view. She reminds me daily that she is who she is, and nobody understands her better than I, (so we’re entitled to a group therapy discount).
Case in point: last Tuesday, my daughter had front row seats to witness her mother spiral into a dramatic fury that combined all the elements of a preschool temper-tantrum, with a hint of teenage angst and just enough adult ego paranoia to make my own impromptu dinner theatre performance. Wide-eyed at the dinner table, the Carpenter and our daughter stared up at me, over their roast beef dinner. Mommy had lost her mind.
I had just learned I’d made a devastating mistake. That morning I had been on assignment to interview an organization for a feature story set to appear in my favorite magazine. Bear in mind that having a successful writing career is my biggest personal dream beyond Mommyhood. It might not be the wisest career choice, financially speaking, but I want my daughter to learn that money is not what drives me; doing what I love does. I had set off to work that day, camera in one hand, and digital recording device in the other. I scored a brilliant interview. I was high on life.
While making dinner that evening, I decided that would be a good time to multi-task. I hooked up the digital recording device to my computer upstairs and let the download begin. I walked away, to finish setting the dinner table. When I returned to my computer a few minutes later, the download was complete but my thirty minutes of recorded interview was gone. Vanished. Erased. Gone.
Thus began a banshee wail from the depths of my soul, bellowed from within the walls of my home office. Picture the Wicked Witch of the West when they dumped water on her; it was that kind of ugly. Brimming with tears, I stormed my defeated feet into the hallway and planted myself at the dinner table. I was seething in silence. With a deadpan stare, I visualized my career floating done an imaginary river.
“Life is full of disappointment,” my daughter said matter-of-factly, looking at me over her glasses. Sigh. I was about to agree.
But had I taught her life was a negative series of trials, without triumphs? At the risk of needing more therapy, I asked her what she felt life was really about.
“Life is full of love,” she stated confidently, while sorting through her vegetables. “I have a lot of love in my life.”
Mirror, mirror on the wall, maybe that reflection isn’t so bad after all. Motherhood and writing are dreams come true, done for love, not money or glory. And I’ve got a lot of love in my life too.