when will I ever learn?

lizzie and the azalea

For one spectacular week in May, the azalea bush in our back yard has a glorious flowering. It’s usually right around Teacher Appreciation Week, so I clip lush bouquets of fuchsia blossoms for all my daughters’ teachers. This year, May came and went as I was overwhelmed (in a good way, mostly) with my new CAC duties. The “burning bush” flamed out without my witnessing and today I am sad.

In the photo above, Lizzie is posing too self-consciously – making a “nice picture” for us to remember her kindergarten year – but I wonder, as I look at her growing-up face and her no-more-baby-fat legs, what did I miss (?). I usually pay VERY close attention to my people. I go to all the plays and recitals and teacher conferences; I make sure no playday or practice or dental appointment is missed … but this year I did all my Mommy duties in a distracted way. I had another BIG job to do – my athletes needed my attention, too. I still haven’t figured out how “working mothers” do it all. Have you?

I am left feeling like that old song we used to sing on the field trip bus in grade school:

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

by,
Pete Seeger

3 thoughts on “when will I ever learn?

  1. Aron Bender

    I’m definitely not a working mother. I’m not even a dad yet. But your post (having linked over on a whim from Faithful Soles) struck a chord with me. Thank you for being a mom, for helping your daughters achieve their goals, for helping athletes and moms achieve their goals, but not in the least thank you for continuing to go after your own goals. Too many mothers (not all) put their own lives on hold to help others, and in the end do more harm than good … to themselves and the people they helped. I saw it with my mother, and years after I moved out she’s finally getting back on her feet as a person, as a woman. Continued success, Miss Mabe.

  2. Matt H

    I’m with Aron. You cant’ do it all – nobody can. Just keep going full speed ahead for as long as you can… don’t look back…. and enjoy it.

  3. hcs

    Matt H- When you’re constantly going full speed ahead you can’t enjoy it all. The fuschia azalea is nothing but a blur outside the window. I think that’s her point.

    I agree, though, that no one can do it all, at least not concurrently. It goes back to the evil choice: Do I want to spend my time raising my children or do I want to have an uninterrupted vocation? I doubt women who see the children for an hour in the mornings dressing/eating/combing/wiping/riding to daycare, then two at night cooking/catching up/eating/cleaning/bathing/reading would say they are able to do it all. And if someone were to say she could “do it all” in 3 daily hours with her children I’d call b.s. on it. Only when you’ve stayed home do you fully know what is there to be missed.

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