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Mary: Portals of Discovery

Nobody’s perfect, and I’m no exception.

Still, I hope, in my vain, rose-colored-glasses kind of way, to step up and be as good a person as I can be. Sometimes it’s easy.

Sometimes it’s a little tricky.

I think of all the things I could be doing as a mother, for example. And all the endless possible reactions I might have to things my children do, things that I might possibly be letting go, blurring out, things that happen right in front of me. Jack, for example, making his sister a flower out of a pipe cleaner, a button, and some felt letters. Adding a small piece of paper for the card, and drawing a kitty on it. And, what do I say?

“It’s too early in the morning for this!” “Can’t you do this later?” “Make sure you clean up that mess.” And so on.

Meanwhile, I’m completely neglecting the obvious. Which is, my boy is the sweetest on earth for making this small gift for his sister — who was sad because at a festival we went to yesterday, he got a sword and she didn’t get anything. He got right up and made her this thing. This gift from the center of his heart. And all his Mum could say is, “Not now! Clean it up! It’s too early!” (Insert frownie face here).

Now, I know that I might be somewhat harsh on myself, but there are times at the end of the day, when I look back and see what might have been.

Mommy, will you read to me?

Mommy, look! Look at what I made!

Mommy, will help me with this puzzle?

Mommy, will you sing with me?”

Mommy, I’m going to make you some basil eggplant soup!

Mommy, look at me!

Mommy, look at me!

Mommy, look!


“Mm hm.”

“That’s nice.”


“Not now, I’m really busy.”

“Can’t it wait until later?”

In the meantime, these moments, these precious little segments that make up life, are passing me by quicker than I can spin around. Maybe I’m distracted. Maybe I’m preoccupied. Maybe I’m just plain misguided.

Because, really, how important are the dishes? Who cares if the bathroom doesn’t get cleaned until later this afternoon? And, do I really need to get the query letter out this morning? (Oh, yes. Yes, that, too. And, actually — I do).

In the end, I suppose we all need to forgive ourselves for the imperfection. Without embracing our mistakes and foibles, stumbles and slips, we would never learn about life at all, and perhaps go through our days thinking all is peachy keen and rosy. Our outlook on ourselves would be, at best, imprudent. At worst, perilous.

I need my mistakes, need to cozy up to them on the couch and talk, need to put my head on their shoulder, my arms around their neck, and give them a squeeze. After all, my mistakes are my allies in disguise. They guide me, and help me get one step closer to that state of enlightenment, which is achieved by my acknowledgment, acceptance, and my letting go of that which has been put upon me by something external — something immaterial.

When I let go, I can jump right into the mud puddle that is true life and nature, and splosh around and get really dirty with the spirit and exhilaration of a child. I can be re-introduced to myself, and then shyly take my own hand, leading myself to something better — to a better person, a better me — the me that is already there, the me that can come out at any time. The very pinnacle of my potential. (Try saying that five times fast).

Yes, I’ll make mistakes again. Quite possibly the same ones I’ve made before, actually. But if I’m careful, if I keep my eyes open, someday I can turn it around and reach a new place in my life, where I catch a glimpse of love and righteousness before it gets squashed down by some dadblasted little mistake. Where the ripple in the water outshines the grossly populated highway. Where a little felt flower never goes unnoticed.

Cross-posted from Ophelia Rising.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. mary, you’re a great mom. i’ve seen you in action.

    we’re all human, and yes, i am often ‘distracted’ when something great one of my kids is doing is right in front of me.

    we’re human, that’s all. it is in our nature to be imperfect. good to take notice though and try to be more aware in the future. but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up when we’re amiss.

    February 25, 2010
  2. alexsondra #

    Excellent piece of writing. You succeeded in sharing a confession, inspiring the “mother journey” and my personal favorite, self forgiveness, which, after so many years, I think needs to be at the top of the list.

    Life is tricky. And what makes it trickier, is that we get caught up in opposing forces. A perennial “tug-of-war.”

    I forgot to praise my boy for being thoughtful, vs. isn’t there a time and place for everything?

    “I could have done this”, but instead, I did this.” That’s a no win situation.

    But as you so rightly put it, our mistakes are allies in disguise.
    Hope a lot of people read this post.

    February 25, 2010
  3. Mary –

    Those two very special (very loved) children in your house are blessed to have you as their mom. They will always be grateful for the way you cherish them and for your ability to acknowledge mistakes. Thank you for writing this and for helping me to not feel alone in those moments — the moments when you wish you could pull words back out of the air.

    Beautiful, beautiful writing as always.

    February 25, 2010
  4. Thanks, all. This post is actually an older one but it’s relevant to me, today. I’m currently reading The Power of Now, (Eckhart Tolle), which isn’t really telling me anything that I didn’t already know – but is reminding me how important the being-here-now is, and how difficult it can be to remain in each moment and pay attention, unless one works hard at it. I need help with this right now, being caught up in the “what will happen tomorrow?” and the “oh woe is me about yesterday!” I’ve got to let all that BS go.

    And, at the same time, there are things I need to do. Work that needs to be done. But I suppose I can be present there, too, and welcome the randomness that arises during daily existence – the interrupted sentences during phone conversations, the constant re-filling of the milk glass – *blending*, rather than the balance (right, Miranda? 😉

    Life sure can be muddy.

    February 25, 2010
  5. catching up over here. Mary, i LOVED this post. it completely hits home with me. there are so many wonderful little moments that happen that we (i) often miss because we (um, i) am too caught up in other crap that, in the full scheme of life, really don’t matter nearly as much. i love that you little guy made a flower for his sister. how sweet is that. my sarah this morning should me her “i love” list. and it made me stop in my tracks and sit down and take a closer look at it. children are so good at reminding us of what’s really important.

    March 3, 2010

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