Monday, May 10, 2010

Behind Closed Doors

If you were to come into my kitchen and open one of my cupboard doors - maybe to get a glass for a drink of water, or some oregano to add to the soup, or a handful of chocolate chips - you might find paper taped to the inside of the door. It might be:

~ a reminder of what to do if someone is choking

~ a handy chart for when to plant things and how far apart and how deep, article from Heloise about cleaning your dishwasher...a poem called "The Lord's Table"

~ an informative guide to car seat regulations...another Heloise article, this one about sparkling vases...notes about how to repel ants and how to easily clean a microwave

~ cartoons my mother clipped out of the newspaper, most of them being of the "awwww, how sweet" variety, not the "that's hilarious" kind

~ and a piece of writing I did, which was copied and saved by Mother and hung on this door
I was 10 years old in January of 1987 when I wrote this for an assignment in my English PACE 73 (for those who are familiar with ACE's curriculum). This is what it says:

If I Were a Mother

If I were a mother, I would try to be efficient. I would make every minute count. I would make myself a schedule, and fit as many things as I possibly could in it. To get many things done, I would work as fast as I could.

I would be helpful. I know my children would need me, so I would be constantly available to help them. I would try not to be upset with them, so I would need a lot of patience, too.

I would be loving with my children. I would tell them I love them, but I would also prove it with my actions. I would devote myself to them, and do all I could to make their childhood a happy one.

I don't take the time to read this every time I open that cupboard door, of course; but when I do, I am convicted by it as I see how my current style of mothering doesn't exactly line up with the one portrayed in that short composition. Rather than blowing off that sense of conviction by saying, "I was so young and idealistic then," I want to (and usually am) inspired by it to keep pressing towards the goal of being the best mother I can be - a goal that I obviously have had for a very long time!

Know what else comes to mind when I see this? I think about how my idea of the "perfect" mother was shaped so completely by the way my own mother acted towards us children. When I wrote about a mother being efficient, it's because my mother was. When I wrote about helpfulness and patience and love, I chose those words because they were outstanding characteristics I saw in her. When I state that I would "do all I could to make their childhood a happy one," it's because...

...she did it for me.


Cindy said...

That is priceless ~ to have something that you wrote about motherhood when you were 10! I strive to be more like my mom ~ patient, calm in even the most stressful situations, a great teacher, encourager.

Sally said...

Wow! As I was reading that poem, I thought it WAS describing you now! I think you are coming pretty close to fulfilling your 10-year-old desires. Thanks for sharing this.

Hmmm...inside my cupboard door I have one chart (made by myself) of how many oz. are in a cup of different things so I can weigh them out instead of using measuring cups (things like shortening, peanut butter, packed brown sugar, etc.).

Anonymous said...

What a sweet tribute to your mom!

Stacey said...

I used the PACES! I am amazed by your insight at that age...Very cool that your momma kept this.
I have things taped to the inside of my cupboard doors as well. The main thing is my recipe for Buttermilk Syrup. We make it so often and I don't want to have to dig through to find it. I have a terrible memory so I need it there to remind me.

Lisa said...

OH MY! PACES!!! Oh how I remember them. ;-)

Jackie said...

Stumbled upon your blog and love it! This post was wonderful.....especially your 1987 "If I Were a Mother"!

Sweet Blessings!

Margie said...

I read this a while back, and didn't comment but am going to now: I LOVE this post. And isn't it funny what we believe about ourselves before we had children? Even so, mothering does bring out the best in me, generally, even if I don't have the patience and efficiency I always imagined I, too, would have.