23 September 2009

Small Victories

I was looking this afternoon, with more than a few twinges of envy, at the profiles of many of my friends on Facebook - those with no spouses or children and the accompanying early nights, early mornings, and "no longer nice" clothes.  Maybe it's a case of "the grass is always greener," because I didn't exactly have a wild lifestyle even sans husband or children, but I couldn't help missing those days - hanging out with dear friends until the wee hours, going out to dinner (because at that point, I could afford it!), wearing pants that fit and being able to brush my hair.  You know, the little things.

And maybe it's because those were the times that I could actually update my profile on Facebook (although I must admit, it didn't exist before I was married - it's been that long!) without interruption, or because I could go out with only a wallet and some keys (and no bag full of assorted yet sometimes necessary knick-knacks), and the only accidents I had to worry about involved cars, and not toddler pants.

It's my friends who have the time who keep the fullest profiles, and I imagine that when they've entered parenthood, they'll be focusing on more important pursuits than changing their status every five minutes or touting their most recent photos with gaggles of well-dressed, neatly-pressed friends (can you tell I'm a bit resentful?).  Of course, these same friends are also quick to post a photo or video of one of my beautiful and brilliant children, and I can't help but feel a swell of pride.  They are wonderful people - I'm just grumpy, I suppose.

Therein, I think, lies an underlying problem - I'm grumpy.  There are no videos of me.  I've become my children's mother.  I am no longer Liz, the witty and brilliant woman, the cute and cool truth-seeker.  No.  I am mama.  Who at this very moment is hiding a cell phone in her bra and edging the computer inch-by-inch away to keep them from the drooley jaws of a ravenously teething 8 month-old.  I know that this is a stage, and that all too quickly, I'll be looking at my daughters' Facebook profiles (or whatever new-fangled fad is around in ten years) and seeing comments from boys.  Good Lord - bring me back!  I understand all of this very logically.  But I still miss the attention.

I was talking with my dear Gramma (hi, Gramma!) - who is almost 90, but is a wonderful gutsy woman, who still lives alone in her wonderful magical house, and writes an email to the family every night - yesterday, and we were talking about music lessons and fulfilling potential and things of that nature, and I realised that it isn't really about being the biggest or the best - it's about being YOUR best.  I was reminded of a quote from Baha'u'llah:

The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him.  Let none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the receptacle.  The portion of some might lie in the palm of a man's hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of others even a gallon-measure.

Essentially, it doesn't matter that I'm not the best or most famous.  My work is to make certain that I'm the best at being me.  And of making sure that I fulfill my potential - whatever that is at this time in my life.

So maybe I'm not celebrating the world's most largely-attended party and "going out" means the grocery store, but I'm working at being the best I can be.  So there.

And, just to make sure that I'm still the best at something else, I've got the market cornered for cute photos of my kids.  Here's a little taste of that.  You can even see part of my face.


:)

10 comments:

Jess (The sister-in-law-to-beeeee) said...

Liz,

When reading your post about how people have just started to think of you as a mom I became a little bit sad. I think you're one of the greatest human beings I've ever met, children or no children, and I honestly mean that! You're so smart, and so funny, and you care so much and put so much heart into everything. You're honestly, 100% my hero, and everytime I read about you or talk to you I wish I could be tons more like you! When we visited in Chicago and we got to talk when everyone was asleep I was so happy to get to know you, and know what you think, because it put a so much of my own life into perspective for me. So, yes, YOU are GREAT at being YOU! You're the best Liz Davis (besides being the only Liz Davis) I know!! I look up to you so, Liz.

And, secondly, thank you very, very much for posting that quote from Baha'u'llah, because lately I've been feeling kind of down myself, and reading that just put the biggest smile on my face, and made me cry even. I've been so busy and feeling so crappy that I've put all of that important stuff on the back burner. I completely forgot that quote, and I feel like you dropped it back into my lap again at the best moment, and has really made me feel 100x better.

So, thank you for a wonderful post, being a SUPER DUPER human being, bringing me down from my craziness with amazing quotes, and for being the BEST sister-in-law (to be!) in the world.

You rock =)

mfojas said...

Liz,

As an instigator of more than a few of those late night hang-outs, I really feel this. I'm sure Mara feels this even more than I do.

Sometimes, I get the desire to act out, and kind of laugh at my feeble attempts (glasses with stripes on the side-- how edgy). Sometimes I think about buying huge swathes of canvas and start painting (and then I think about the cost of paints, the canvas itself, time spent tacking said canvas...)

Anyway, I know that I'm still me, but have decided that, well, right now, I'm not so important. Not with this crazy amorphous soul I've been entrusted to care and nurture and another one on the way.

Hmmm... not sure WHERE I'm going with this comment but I just want to let you know that you're not alone in this, and that there are more than a few people that not only remember the "old" you but know that you are still you-- and not "just" mommy.

Mara Noelle said...

A. M. E. N.
Cynthia DeGrand has actually been enrolled (by A. Grove) to take photos of me because it's been So. Darn. Long. Seriously. Holy heck, I feel you!!!!

I've also recently overhauled my wardrobe a little. I may be a stained stay at home mother, but I don't have to look like I'm going to clean latrines everyday. Life is short and I feel better being (comfortably) pretty - stained or not. That's what goodwill is for :-)

I'm also really struggling with Baha'i identity and community at the moment. I remember a certain Suzanne A. posting a few years ago about being a new mom and someone asking her what her contribution would be... I sort of feel like chopped liver. But that's the point of your post, right? There is a definitely a part of me that thinks, "grow up fast?leave the house? Well, step on it!!! Go!"

Sholeh said...

Liz,

I just want to say that I respect the way you are raising your children SO much, and I'm definitely learning from you the few and far between moments that I get to see you and your family. That is a gift that you should know that you are giving, and it is really important for those of us who are not yet at that stage to see good examples.

That being said, I can't imagine how much work it is, and your frustration is totally legit. No solution here, sorry...but I just wanted to give you my love!

AJP said...

Dear Liz,
I know what you are saying, and I think you are brilliant! in all that ways that could be applied. Well, most of them.
Love,me

AJP said...

(er, sorry about my bad editing there)

Dena said...

well, life sure is interesting! we want what we don't have and envying others who have what we want. i must admit that i've been struggling with the opposite (feeling saddened/sometimes depressed that i am still single without children). it's so easy to envy someone else's life instead of making your life the best it can be. i guess life, in general, is about the process and not about the end result. i can only believe that having faith in oneself is the key. to know when to listen, to know when you need help, to know when you've got this!

i can't tell you how impressed i am with the LIZ DAVIS i know. you are the light for so many people and that is beautiful. be proud of what you're doing and where you're going.....i know i am :)

love you!

Lizzy Q said...

Wow, thank you so much, everyone!! I hadn't checked comments for a while, and lo, and behold - so many wonderful thoughts!! Thank you thank you thank you!!

Juniper949 said...

Hi Lizzy Q,

It's been a while (to say the least) but reading this post made me think of a few childhood memories with you and I thought you might like to know that - on my side of the fence - I envy you and your wonderful husband and children. You are truly to be admired for your dedication to your family and your values.

-Colleen

kari said...

i can't imagine the mothering lifestyle at all and i may or may not ever live it. but i get the part about "used to be nice" clothes (per the nonprofit salaries) and not seeing myself in all the pix of the parties.

also, i still see you Liz. i mean you as you. :)