Samuel L. Jackson wants to know what’s in your wallet. And I want to know what’s in your book.
I was recently talking to a very dear friend, who was sharing with me some entries from a book. It was created for her husband’s 25th college reunion. His classmates had sent in their photos and updates on where they are now. The results were quite unsettling – vastly different from the “Everything Is Great” posts you see on Facebook. One woman wrote some prose about her disappointments in life, delving deep into past pain and depression. Another man waxed poetic about his disillusionment with corporate America and his passion to contribute more to this failing world. My friend’s husband gave an update on his career and his family, and stated, in black and white ink, “We are happy.”
I think the book editors shared a collective sigh of relief when they got to his entry.
Our conversation got me thinking about why, at this stage of life, people felt so compelled to be brutally honest about themselves. It also made me think about what my book would look like. The Mother Page is full – actually, it takes up most of the book. I’ve also got pages on marriage, work, family, and friends, even on all my attempts at exercise, dieting, and random hobbies over the years. I have half a page on my flaws and vices, because who really wants to face those? But after flipping through to the end of my book, I feel like some chapters are missing.
I could write about my long-distance mom life, the time when my kids have flown the coop. No more carpools, PTSA, booster clubs or syllabi to sign – how my role has been reduced to texts and bank transfers and flight schedules. But that’s not all of me.
This quote by John Lennon really resonates. What is your goal in life? Is it to meet and exceed a certain standard that you or society has set for yourself, or is it to be happy? Gosh, I’d really like to be happy. I’d like to get reacquainted with the woman that woke up at 5:00 a.m. every day to go to work at her dream job at CNN. Or the woman who took an acting class because she had always wanted to try. Or, the woman who ran 6 miles on her 30-something birthday because she knew she darn well could, even if it took all day.
What are the pages missing from your book? As mothers, we set so much of ourselves aside because we are answering our call, our desire to parent these beautiful miracles. But there is more there, and the further we press it down, the less of ourselves our children get to see, experience, and benefit from.
If you have an empty page, I encourage you to try and fill it. We are so many things, and how amazing would it be if we could experience them all? Be happy Momma – you deserve it!