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Mothers' Hideaway: The Girl I Used to Be

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Girl I Used to Be

 She came tonight as I sat alone...
The girl I used to be...
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully:

Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame,
all the wonderful things to do?

Where is the mansion of stately height
With all its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?

And as she spoke, I was very sad
For I wanted her pleased with me...
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl that I used to be.
So gently rising, I took her hand
And guided her up the stairs
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
Innocent, sweet, and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me;
That silken robes is my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love,
And the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls
For the dear ones who come and go

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw the woman that I am now
Pleased the girl I used to be.

I read this poem today. It perfectly fits my mood lately, because I've been mourning the old me. I have a younger single childless sister that I slightly envy. She's beautiful, carefree, career driven, and free to do whatever it is her heart desires. I miss being able to do what I wanted when I wanted. I miss having the body that, while I had my fair share of issues with, I didn't mind having the lights on (if you know what I mean). I miss working at a job and having glowing reviews. I miss teaching. I miss having time for myself. I miss looking good and made up. I miss my high heels. I miss my short skirts. I miss looking good and looking like it didn't take much effort. I miss my confidence. I miss my ambitions. I miss my dreams. I miss my future.

I miss the girl I used to be.

Don't get me wrong. Just like many of you, I love my family and my life now. That doesn't mean I don't have the right to mourn what used to be. Maybe not mourn...maybe daydream about the past. My husband and I have been talking a lot about "back then". Back when we first met. I was 20, he was 25. We were sure of who we were. We knew what we were capable of doing. We didn't have a care in the world beyond the today. Yeah we were finishing with school and entering the "real world", but really...we thought we were hot stuff. We thought we were invincible. We were carefree. Then we grew up and reality hit us like the heat on a humid day when you step outside.

Over the past eight years I've gone from that carefree girl to a woman with lupus; who has had to learn a new pace of living; who has moved to another state 1000s of miles from home to be with the love of her life; who has had to leave the job she loved because her body just couldn't keep up; who has carried and birthed two beautiful boys; who has suddenly gone from motivated, energetic, inspiring teacher to a worn out, disheveled, housewife and mom, who hasn't had her body for herself for 3 years;  who hasn't looked like the girl she remembers in just as long (wow, just saying it all makes me winded!).

Is there a way to meld the two worlds? The carefree, self-attentive girl with the sleep deprived, selfless woman? I don't know and I have yet to learn how to do it. The irony of it all is that this woman, this person that I barely recognize, is really who I always wanted to become. I wanted to be a mom at home with my kids. I just didn't want to lose me in the process. People tell me that someday I'll have the time to take care of myself, but until then I stare into the Fountain of Youth and reach out to touch fingers with my younger reflection and try to think "I miss you, but I love me."

I hope that someday I'll be able to be that girl and this woman at the same time. Do you?

Share your story with us today at Mothers' Hideaway


At July 3, 2010 at 2:39 PM , Blogger Katie Gates said...

Stopping over from SITS, and I am very happy to have discovered you. Your writing is so heartfelt, and it conjured up so many feelings. Ironically, my post this past Wednesday alluded to my not having children and my viewing that as a good thing for me. Still, though, many of the dreams of my mid-20s remain unrealized, and I can assure you that sleep-deprivation is not something only moms experience :) The girl and the woman will reunite (or, meet for the first time?)! For me, that happened when I hit my mid-40s. Now, at 52, I feel younger than I did during much of my 30s. I don't know why that is, but I think the aging process gives us "breaks" when we need them. Wow, see how provocative your post was! (I didn't mean to go on and on!) Best wishes.


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