mama said there’d be days like this…

{image from here}


last week i was chatting with my mom. just about stuff. life. kids. you know, that mother/daughter stuff. i was a little sad, struggling. i think at one point, i said to my mom, “i dunno mom. i don’t even get on pinterest very much. it makes me depressed to see all the things i don’t have time for.”


she sighed and said, “oh sweetie, i remember those days.”


we went on to chat about other things but after she went to bed (much too late, but that’s another story) i started thinking about what she had said.


and vaguely, ever so vaguely i remembered a few mental images of chaos.


you see, i am a perfectionist. yet i am an optimist. maybe these two don’t typically mesh but i would argue that these two traits sum up the largest part of my personality.


and because i am an optimistic perfectionist, i not only
1, remember a perfect childhood
2, think i need to achieve that same childhood for my own children


the optimistic perfectionist in me always thinks i can do more. do better. try it again and get it perfect this time.


the optimistic perfectionist in me wants my children to have every experience on every single person’s bucket list while maintaining a spotless home, learning a foreign language and cooking raw organic meals in an eastern european country. (okay fine, maybe even i can see a few unrealistic expectations in this paragraph. maybe.)


it’s a strength in a way. it’s the part of me that began every year as a teacher, truly believing that every child in my classroom had the ability to earn a good grade in math.


but it’s a hindrance sometimes also.


it has the potential to cause me to miss out on the little things.


some people need to be challenged to stop talking and start doing. they need to be told “you don’t know if you will have a tomorrow so stop talking about tomorrow and just do it.”


i actually don’t need that pep-talk, thanks to my optimistic perfectionist streak. i already am living every day in case there is no tomorrow. the fact of the matter is, there probably will be a tomorrow. i don’t mean this in any blasphemous way. some of you out there are going to identify with me. there will probably be a tomorrow. i will probably still have a washing machine capable of washing laundry tomorrow. i will probably have a mop capable of mopping floors tomorrow. i will probably have a tomorrow full of romanian language books and church calenders and emails to answer and snotty noses to wipe and yet another leaky bag of milk in the bottom of the fridge (someone please tell me why it is impossible to buy a bag of milk without a hole in it).


or that dust bunny under my sofa.


or that unorganized cabinet in my room.


and then the memory came back of how my mom would print things out before printing was cool and tape them right on the walls of our house. or the fridge. or the mirror.


i remembered one that said, “will it really matter in eternity?” i’ve been meaning to ask if she remembers why she stuck it up there. was she also obsessed with dirty dishes and stinky laundry?? was there actually a day when my perfect mother was so overwhelmed with things to get accomplished she also couldn’t bear to browse through the pinterest of the 1980’s and 1990’s?


i tried wrapping my mind around it. could my mother have also been over-worked, under-slept, worrying about the perfect childhood for her children, always trying to do a little more or do it a little better?


but how in the world do i have such perfect childhood memories?


and i found myself speechless.


what are my kids going to remember?


so today, when i was planning on doing laundry and prepping some dinners, i sat on the floor and read mini phonics books with addy. (and i was strangely weirded out that my three year old can read things like “cat sat on a mat” which she does NOT get from me. i learned to read at seven or eight, truth be told.) and then we did crafts. really cool ones.


and right now, i am not studying language. i am writing a blog. and playing a put-the-marker-in-the-cup game with my nap-boycotting thirteen month old.


cause actually, i think those things might matter in eternity.


p.s. thanks mom, for the perfect childhood and yet another life lesson from afar!


Marie Klein Burtt

About Marie Klein Burtt

One Comment

  • Laura A. says:

    Thanks Marie for the reminder that is is ok to let some stuff go once in a while! You are such an encouragement to me!