Ode to a Stumbling Parent

Kristin Espinasse

Failed again yesterday to be even a decent Mom. Not just failed, singular, but failed each hour to pull myself together and deliver a chipper and creative version of Mom-ness. So I tell myself that I am not a "Maman Poule," a mother hen. And I ask myself if there is a place for such a Mom. I do not enjoy playing games, singing songs, or searching my children's brains for more of their wonder. What is wrong with me? Is there a cure? Is it too late to be a Great Mom?

I have got it so good. I do not even realize it. I have two little children who are so interested in me and who want my attention. I do not have friends as excited about me. I do not have a husband as keen on me. But I have a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy who want to share their dreams and thoughts with stupid ol' me.

My daughter Jackie asks me: "Why do you do that ?" about nearly any activity I am currently engaged in. I answer hastily and she gives a very dramatic "Ahhhh.... ", like what I am doing is so magical or important, even if it is cleaning the gunk from under a toenail. Max will say "Mommy, Mommy - come here please!" I grumble and eventually ply myself from my chair and enter his room "What!?" I grunt. He has practiced his cursive and is studying on his own, he wants to show me his progress. Why has God given me such wonderful kids when I fail over and over again? My children keep coming back even more heart-wrenchingly sweet after each Failing Mom Episode.

I continue to search "Out There" for happiness, love, and someone to understand me when all I need is here and in abundance under my 107 square meter roof.

Last night I sang to Jackie while she took her bath. Suds kept her wheat-colored hair in a secure suds-do atop her head and she studied me in utter silence as I cracked out the tune to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Her face never looked so beautiful, her concentration never faltering. Perhaps my daughter was thinking the same about me?

So now I relent to the wise woman within and ask her to please find me singing to my daughter tonight. I will learn a new song for her today. And may I be found at the kitchen table tonight, immersed in my son's awe as he learns more about our world. And most of all, this time to God, thank you for the two little beings you sent my way. I do not deserve them, but I will try harder today to enjoy the gold they sprinkle my way.

Today is a new day. I will have patience with my children. I will listen to them and show them my interest.

© Kristin Espinasse

Kristin Espinasse, an American writer from Phoenix, Arizona, lives in the 12th century medieval village of Les Arcs-sur-Argens in the South of France. Her French husband has a worldwide reputation as an expert on all aspects of French wine. Apart from tending two small children, Kristin's life is entirely devoted to creative writing and non-fiction.

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