Thursday, March 26, 2009

It Seems to me

"Sometimes life isn’t as good as it seems."

At 6 ½ years old, when asked to use the word “some” in a sentence, that is what my son wrote.

It has been on my refrigerator since Monday.

As “mother” my job is to do precisely that - to make my children’s lives seem better than they really are, at least by some of societies measures.

There is a story of a mother in a refugee camp, spreading a burlap sack on the ground. She required her children to say prayers and use their manners at that new burlap dining table. You could interpret her actions many ways. By her breaking bread with loved ones, and her graceful ability to elevate that event, she succeeded in making her family’s life seem much better than society would have gauged. My job should not be hard.

I recall my family’s occasional vacations – the plush transport (a Dodge wagon), the fancy hotels (Holiday Inn – at the top end), and highbrow entertainment (a deck of cards on that queen bed). Dad would sneak out early and return with a donut for each of us. He knew our favorites. Life seemed perfect then.

In my 20’s, traveling internationally in business class, I could look out into the foggy clouds over the Pacific Ocean and know that, by so many measures, my family’s life wasn’t so good at all. It had just seemed good, seemed perfect. Even with fond memories, I was pleased to be free of such naïve notions.

In my 30’s, I became a mother and held my first-born in my arms. I remembered my mother telling me that the first newborn she ever held was my oldest sibling. For me, it was no different. I held my first newborn, my firstborn, and her story moved from my memory and lodged in my heart.

It became my turn to create a world for my family. With a little creativity, I could make that world whatever I wanted it to be. As the years go by, the fog lifts on my own childhood. Life was never as good as it seemed. By society’s measures, we are better off now. I reinterpret memories. I create a similar world for my own children, allowing them to accept certain illusions. I let them discover society’s measures in their own time.

Now that I am approaching 40, I see my children’s personalities blossom. I hope to give them the tools and the creativity to make their lives seem so much better than society will ever gauge. I want them to keep their feet on the ground and yet see through the clouds.

As the foggy edges of their experiences expand, I hope life always seems better than it really is, even as their ability to distinguish between what seems to be true and the truth sharpens into focus. The good life that seems true comes from the heart.

What of societies measures?

It seems they aren't so important.


Badass Geek said...

I'm sure with having you as an anchor point, your children will grow up with the best of perspectives.

OHmommy said...

Profound statement for a 6 year old.

Indy said...

I would also add that sometimes life is better than we know it is. When a loved one passes or even if you come down with a cold, you don't realize how good you had it only a few days before. I know I take it all for granted and have to remind myself how lucky I am to have food, shelter, love and peace to give my children. We have it so good, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Surprising insight from one so young.

I also try to instill in my son that life isn't as bad as it seems.