Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sitting in the Cinders

Cinderella by Sir John Everett Millais

So I spent hours yesterday at the elementary school with my paper snowflakes, helium tanks, balloon ribbons and spray snow. There were at least a dozen other mothers there, all united in a spirit of accomplishment as we transformed the spaghetti-scented cafeteria into a Winter Wonderland for our daughters and their dads.

It was a labor of love and, by the time we were finished, no one wanted to leave.

Mostly because we knew there'd be hungry kids and husbands at home. Possibly some dishes in the sink. And that, after we found the missing pink leggings and tied the ribbons around the pigtails, we'd watch the little girls go off to the ball with our Prince Charmings, while we sat looking into the ashes (or the greasy pizza boxes) with only the rats (and brothers) for company.

Anyone else out there ever feel like Cinderella? Without the glass slipper?

So much of my life is spent buying gifts for parties I will not attend. Practicing spelling words for tests I won't take. Driving to fun afterschool activities only to be left in the car.

It's a busy stage of life I'm in. My kids need (and want) my hovering presence a little bit less. But still require clothing, feeding, transportation and comfort on demand. Sometimes I feel like the unpaid event planner--scheduling the activities, gathering the needed supplies, setting up and putting away--but not actually enjoying the party.

Maybe it's just me. Or maybe I'm just due for a paradigm shift. I need to get over my Cinderella complex and realize that I'm not the princess in the story anymore.

Besides, fairy godmothers wear much more comfortable shoes.

21 comments:

Jenibelle said...

At least they are still at the age where they WANT you. It changes for a few years and you will miss it, yearn for it, longingly make it much more wonderful than it was. Then, they get married and suddenly....you're smart and wanted again.

Beautifully written wistful thoughts.

Jenibelle said...

At least they are still at the age where they WANT you. It changes for a few years and you will miss it, yearn for it, longingly make it much more wonderful than it was. Then, they get married and suddenly....you're smart and wanted again.

Beautifully written wistful thoughts.

the wrath of khandrea said...

and here's the irony of it: your creativity seems to be at an all time high.

TravelinOma said...

You have told the truth about the fairy-tale!

I've always felt like a revolving door: continually spinning to get everyone to and from their lives, but never really going anywhere myself. And feeling dizzy besides.

A mother says she would give her life for her kids. "Greater love hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friends." That's what we end up doing: setting aside (laying down) our lives for these little friends we invited into our homes. It's so constant for so long, without time to regroup and catch your breath.

But when you have a chance to look at the results you'll realize it was a cause worth giving your life for. By then you'll look like the fairy-godmother.

Paige said...

Gab, so true! I love it. All too soon they won't want us to buy the presents or tie the ribbons, they'll just want the CASH.

Sherry said...

Well, MAYBE you need a paradigm shift. More likely (and I obviously don't know your family, so this is a blatant generalization and not an accusation in any way, so I hope it doesn't come off that way!) your kids could use a little practice with expressing gratitude a little better.

I know a lady who periodically goes on strike with her family if she feels that they aren't being grateful enough, and she doesn't come back from being on strike until they've caught up on all the messes that have been made while she's been on strike. Also, she doesn't tell them she's on strike. She just stops doing all her motherly/wifely tasks. Of course, her family is quite a bit older; I don't know if it will work with your family for years, but I fully intend to use this method when I have kids.

Meg said...

WOW. I hadn't realized I had been reduced to Cinderella.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I'm wondering what I'm going to do with myself when this stage of my life is over.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Just read the on strike comment. In my house a bomb could go off and no one would notice. My husband has been known to wear the same sox for a week because he's too lazy to wash his own.

Annemarie said...

Gab, you will ALWAYS be a princess. ALWAYS! (me, too!)

Lauren in GA said...

Oh, so fantastically worded. It really is true.

Bridget said...

Very well said. So, so true.

Dancin Queen said...

Gabi--I LOVED LOVED LOVED this post. Great job!

Ilene said...

Ah, I love how you put it. I remember being smaller and always wanting to be the princess because being a queen sounded like a whole lot of boring.

I read this and try to relish in the fact that the kids can't seem to leave my side or call my name for more than a minute at a time.

martha corinna said...

When I was young(and the oldest of 8), I would often complain to my parents that they were turning me into a Cinderella. Little did I know what my future held, and what being a "Cinderella" actually meant.

Christie said...

So, so true.

When's it our turn for the ball? I want my own fairy godmother.

jacey said...

Hi, I found your blog surfing around and I wanted to ask your permission to follow it. ps-was your maiden name Halverson? If you are who I think you are, I lived next door to your wonderful family several years back. I was a little older than Marta, but younger than Peter. Anyway, thanks for your posts, and I understand what you mean about unrequited Cinderella dreams.

Emy5 said...

I bet the party was lovely. I'm sad that I don't get as many play dates as my kids ;O. Now I'm just needed to drop them off.

Hazen5 said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I just never thought of it that way. I love how you put it!

cami said...

I think the next time you are scheduling a play date for the kids, schedule one for yourself as well!

wenderful said...

What a fantastic post Gab. I am feeling this way too much lately. I hope daylight savings and more sunshine might make life look a little sweeter. Glad you shared this.

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