It was a beautiful day--pristine blue skies, warm sunshine, and enough "chill" in the air to make me think of pumpkin bread, apple cinnamon tea, and my autumn wreath that's buried somewhere in my basement's storage closet. I knew it was a perfect day to take Ms. Lilly and the Cam Man to the playground near our house.
When we got to Millrace park, there were only two children on the playground; handsome boys (perhaps a little younger than Lilly) chasing each other around the jungle gym. They were adorable brothers--polo shirts tucked into little khaki shorts, hair parted and gelled. The older of the two flashed dimples when he smiled, dreamy enough to melt any woman's heart.
As I pushed Cam on the swing, I couldn't help but watch their mother from behind my dark sunglasses. She was lovely, with a sprinkling of tan freckles across the bridge of her nose. I watched as she chased the two boys through the wood chips, then scooped them into her arms with gusto. When her boys began to crawl through the playground's yellow tunnel, she became the "monster" at the end of it--waiting with her "tickle claws" to snatch them from their plastic sanctuary. They would scream as she tried to snatch, snatch, snatch. And when she let them go free, they would take off running and giggling hysterically. She would emerge from behind the tunnel--red faced and laughing.
Her eyes sparkled when she looked at her boys. She was luminous--radiating love from her pretty, pearly-white smile. She was not only filled with an obvious joy for her calling as a mother--clearly embracing it on the small playground, on a September afternoon--she was joy.
And then I did something bad. I compared myself to her.
My playground excursion had been quite different from hers. I had chased away bees, that were chasing after Cam! I had picked wood chips out of Lilly's teeth (literally!) after she fell from a slide's ladder. (Right on her head!) Cam spilled his chocolate milk all over himself (and ME!), and I didn't have ONE napkin on hand! (How is that even possible? I'm a mom! And no, old receipts found in the bottom of your purse DO NOT work as napkins!) I wondered if I was having as much fun at the playground as the other mom was.
"Clearly, she must be a better mother than I am," I thought to myself.
AAAH! Why do we do that? As mothers? As women? Why do we compare ourselves to each other? Nothing good comes from it. More often than not, discouragement, anger, and/or sadness follows such comparative thoughts.
In her book, "A Quiet Heart," Patricia Holland writes: "Surely there has not been another time in history in which women have questioned their self-worth as harshly and critically as in the second half of the twentieth-century. Many women are searching almost frantically for a sense of personal purpose and meaning." How true! And yet, we frequently forget that a great deal of "meaning" resides deeply within each one of us. We are inherently holy. We are literally divine. Rather than compare, we should rejoice over all that is good in us. (I mean, I DID chase those bees away!)
Patricia Holland goes on to say, "We must not feel so frightened; we must not be so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth." And that's the point...we ARE women of worth already. Undeniably. Equally. On a good "playground day," or a hectic one.
In God's eyes, our worth is so great it cannot be measured. When we know that, we begin to see each other as we really are. We are sisters in womanhood. We are mothers on the playground. We are women in the world. We are all in this together.
|(Me and my leetle sis.)|