Sunday, March 14, 2010

Realizations of a Mother that is Trying



Dear Readers:

This is a letter to Ideal Me. She is an imaginary being--but sometimes can seem so real. Sometimes she's a little snobby. We just had to have a heart-to-heart chat. It was time. It is really long--so you don't have to read the whole thing. It may sound murmur-ous, but it was time to re-think Ideal Me and what better way than to write it out.

Gratefully,M



Dear Ms. Could-a Should-a Would-a Ideal Me:For many years now I have admired you from afar. Your perfections staring me in the face like a bright beam from a car in the night. Everything about you gave me something to aim for, something I felt I could achieve--yet being just ever so slightly out of reach.
Maybe it was your perfect complexion, the way your home and car were as neat as a pin. Perhaps it was that your children were always well behaved--no matter the circumstance. Your car had no dents; your teeth were straight and white. You always arrived on time--usually ten minutes early. Your clothes were pressed. Your family's clothes were always color coordinated. You never forgot things. . on and on.

I used to think you really gave me something to look up to. Something that I could achieve soon if not nearly right now.In high school you always made me feel like I could be doing something more. Undoubtedly I could have, but right at that time I was doing all I could, even with bouts of laziness. When those teachers that were too busy to really grade papers that would ask students to rate themselves on how they felt they did in the class--instead of rating how much you worked in the class--you always felt I could have done more and you pushed me to write lower than what I probably should have. Then those teachers would often use that grade to add to my GPA.
Now that I am at the epitome of my high school imaginings (as a 20-something-year-old) I cannot hope to achieve your lofty ideals for me. I will say, I have done what I could.
But, Ideal Me of the present--I think you need to back off. It's not that you don't have your good moments--you do. But much of the time you look at me with that glare--you know the one where guilt burns me with the power of a flame thrower because I am not doing absolutely everything I should or could be doing. You seem to belittle the good things I do--which may or may not be monumental for other people--but are for me. You act like I've accomplished nothing.Sure I may not be perfect, or even near perfect. But I am striving to live the Gospel, love my family, love myself, and to receive the love given me by those around me. I am working on being the best I can--even if it seem infinitesimal in comparison to others I admire.

I am going to celebrate the little victories of mine. You can glare all you want. I know the Lord loves me and yes wants me to be better, but realizes that I can only do better little by little. It is time you and I, Ideal Me, determined that we can be happy with that.For right now, I am going to zealously live the Gospel, cherish the moments with my growing and sometimes needy and whiny--but on the whole delightfully wonderful children and husband (and me). I'm going to accept me the way I am. I'll accomplish one thing at a time--like a bite of food, there is no way I can eat a whole plate full of food in one bite. It must be eaten forkful by forkful. Each taste of life will be savored for future joyful remembering.
Ideal Grandma me that I see in the future--it is okay for you to keep smiling. Undoubtedly I'll be one of those super good-natured grandmas that never forget birthdays, send cards, go on several missions and when I die thousands of people will come and will say, "She changed my life for good."Lovingly,

The Real M

The painting picture is from here.

3 comments:

Camille said...

Hey, do you think you could write a letter to my Ideal Me? She's really putting me through the wringer this month. You have a way with words that I don't quite possess, I usually just tell her to shut up! You can imagine what I hear in return! :) You're amazing!!!!

vdg family said...

Oh Camille! It is so good to hear that I am not the only one with an Ideal Me that is a good-hearted nag. Thank you for your comment!

doug & mary said...

Melanie..you are definitly ideal! :)