On Friday I posted a story called “Birthday Parties.” I introduced a woman named Carol and I have gotten a lot of questions about her, mostly friends asking me accusingly, “Is that me?” So I thought I’d take a moment and tell you more about Carol.
Carol is a working mom. She is a stay-at-home mom. She is an amazing cook. She orders pizza a lot. She is a single mother. She is married. She has one kid. She has three kids. She has five kids. She endured 40 hours of labor. She cried every night for two years waiting to adopt her baby. She has run a marathon. She likes sitting in her favorite chair. Her house is a disaster. Her house is spotless. She holds a master’s degree. She didn’t finish high school. She is invited to every party. She tries to forget how many times she’s been left out. Her kids drive her insane. Her kids make her beam with pride. She wants a babysitter for one night just to get out. She misses her kids so much it hurts when they are away.
She wants what is best for her kids. She falls short of her expectations and never lets herself forget it. She judges herself based on what other moms do. She apologizes for things that aren’t her fault. She never takes time for herself and she doesn’t really mind. She cries at inopportune moments. She forgets why she just walked into the kitchen. She believes every magazine that tells her she’s not good enough. She worries, oh man, does she worry.
She loves reading to her kids. She tickles her kids every chance she gets. She kisses sleeping foreheads two, sometimes three times a night. She puts on puppet shows. She sings to her kids, mostly off-key. She hugs her kids more times than they sometimes want. She cheers even louder when her kids strike out. She brags about her kids to everyone. She absolutely knows that her kids are cuter than anyone else’s.
She has good days and she has bad days. The good days are easy. The bad days? Well, that’s when we need to be reminded that we are all Carol; I am Carol and you are Carol. So let’s take it easy on poor, sweet, sweet Carol, because she’s one hell of a mom.