by Annie Mueller
I’m serving my daughter stale crackers and some cubes of cheddar for lunch because I’ve been too busy pushing through another article to go buy groceries. She munches away, but I feel the eyes of the world peering in my large front window, hear their voices saying, “What is she thinking?”
Some days I’m clear. I’m set. I’m confident. Other days I think I must be ruining my children, damaging their psyches, sending them unalterable signals that will make them question my love. I comfort myself in these times by thinking back to my own childhood and realizing how much I don’t remember.
I don’t remember ever feeling unloved, even though my Mom was busy over the years heading up local and state organizations and running a variety of small business ventures. Sometimes my questions had to wait because she was on a phone call. Sometimes we spent Saturday afternoon helping her stuff mailers for a state-wide convention.
I don’t remember every feeling neglected, though we ate out-of-the-freezer fish sticks or chicken pot pies or canned tomato soup for lunch many days. I don’t remember feeling unimportant, even when Mom was too busy for an hour of coloring with me.
What I do remember gives me a clue for my own life. I remember a busy, happy Mom with plates spinning and heart racing, who enjoyed the adventure of keeping it all together, who relished both the adrenaline and the relaxation. Sure, she messed up on some stuff. She probably made bad decisions sometimes. Maybe there were even entire weeks when she was just off balance on key areas of life. But I didn’t know that then, and I can’t feel any negative effects from it now.
That’s what I think about as I wipe the cracker crumbs off my daughter’s hands and off my laptop. My son gurgles at me from the floor and continues to chew on the book corner. Their childhood won’t be perfect, but that’s okay. They won’t remember it wasn’t perfect; they’ll remember that I was here, with a whole lot of imperfect love. And someday they’ll forgive me for using them as content.
Annie Mueller feeds her kids with one hand and scrolls through websites with the other. Her children have survived so far. She writes about working at home, writing, reading, and building a better life at www.SisterWisdom.com.