Her day was planned perfectly with each activity in its own time slot. Her babies wore soft gowns washed in Ivory soap and bathed in the safest infant tub followed by careful massage with lotion and a sprinkle of fresh cornstarch-because baby powder was dangerous. She held them. She sang to them. She did everything she was supposed to do. Her life revolved around her little ones. They were perfect.
Have you met her?
She was always well groomed.
Roots never showing. Makeup done. Always dressed right for the occasion. Her husband was handsome and they really loved each other. He does well in business and everything they touch turns to gold. She drove a shiny big Limited Edition SUV in the latest model. They live in a big house they renovated themselves in a wonderful neighborhood. Kept clean and carefully
Have you seen her?
Her children had limited television and mostly educational programs. Disney movies and worthwhile classics were fine as a treat. She dressed her kids in carefully coordinated, classic outfits of good quality. Cute plaid skirts and knit tops. Outside play was expected everyday because fresh air and exercise are good for them. They had the coolest outdoor playset in the neighborhood. Creative indoor play is also encouraged. Building sets, arts and crafts. She bought her children mostly educational toys and old fashioned playthings to pique their imaginations. She read to them every day.
She packed homemade well rounded lunches with 100% juice and an ice pack to keep food temperature safe. She left notes in them. She cooked every night and always included vegetables and made sure they had fruit available. She did not buy junk food and refused to buy brightly colored sugary cereals. Her children snacked on carrots because they liked to.
They sat down to dinner as a family every night.
They took cool family vacations where they did things like hiking and camping and kayaking together.
They were perfect.
Do you know her?
When it was time for school she found the 'best pre-school.' A very small Christian school that those 'in the know' frequent. She arranged playdates. She always reciprocated. She planned special birthday parties.
When they started elementary school she knew what teachers to request even though it was against the rules and knew she would get them because she was in the loop. She never missed open house and had meetings with the teachers. When it was time she had her children tested for the gifted program. They were accepted of course. They studied hard. They always had their homework and she spent hours helping and checking their work. She encouraged them to think, to imagine, to know that they could be anything they wanted to be. When they showed a special interest in something she went out of her way to give then every opportunity to explore it. She carefully balanced time for study and play so that everyone was well rounded.
She volunteered at school. Baked cookies. Helped with class parties. Read aloud in the classrooms. She belonged to the PTA and helped with fund raisers and would send in something for events but the planning committee for that wasn't really her thing, so she chose to participate as a board member on a separate Advisory Counsel for important issues like school budget spending and curriculum. ( ok, she refused to be a sheep and sometimes voted against the grain on purpose when she thought it was being fixed ) anyway..
They were involved in sports because it teaches kids teamwork and responsibility as well as being fun and healthy. They never missed practice. She went to every game. Her husband helped coach. She never forgot snack. When they showed an interest in music lessons were provided. She went to every concert. Art supplies were always in stock and creativity encouraged. She let them paint pictures on the walls in their rooms. An artistic impulse should not be thwarted. Damn resale value. A little bit of freedom. A touch of individuality.
Do you like her?
They attended church every Sunday. The kids were in Sunday School. They participated in Christmas Pageants and youth activities. She made sure they attended instruction to be confirmed. She fed the homeless at the local shelter. Her kids were taught compassion. They were taught to treat all people with respect. They talked about their faith at home too, didn't just leave it to Sundays.
Two years before each child began Middle School began she would carefully research. She included the children in looking at the choices, making sure it was what they wanted. Then meticulously made sure they had all the resources they needed to accomplish these goals. They did. They were shining stars. They excelled. They had friends. Things were going perfect.
She was careful with what they read. What they watched. What they wore. She knew who their friends were. She knew where they were. She had strict but fair guidelines on what was age appropriate. She carefully tried to balance her value system with what the children encountered and wanted in order to fit in and gave careful and educated thought to what was best. She paid attention. She talked. She listened.
In every situation she knew exactly what to do.
Do you recognize her?
Then one day she didn't know what to do anymore.
When she looked around she realized that a line had been there all along. She had all the trappings of being on the other side of that line but in fact she had never crossed it. She had actually stood a few feet back from it because she recognized this deep inside. And the world outside her family did too. Which was why she had never become comfortable with the other side of that line and remained standoffish. And the world around her did too. ( So she said screw it. I can't stand these people anyway.)When she turned away they never even noticed. It was like she had never been there. She realized then for sure that she never had.
She was functioning on how she thought things were supposed to be. She thought if she followed the instructions carefully things would run perfectly. It fell apart. It wasn't real. It couldn't be programmed. She was only human.
Life isn't perfect.
And real life had just come up and slapped the crap out of her.
She used to be me.
I like her much better now. Her husband is still handsome and they still love each other. Her kids are compassionate. Her closets are all still organized by style and color but most of the clothes are in a laundry basket somewhere.
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