Earlier this year, I started noticing a mom at drop off. She has just the style I thought I would have as a mom and just the parenting attitude with her adorable daughter I thought I would with my own girls. As I dragged my kids up the hill morning after morning, I looked at her apparent perfection and went home and cried.
If this was a “mom-lit” book, we would bond over some silly thing. Maybe her kid trips and I pull a bandaid out of my purse (a highly unlikely scenario being as I never have bandaids, or a purse.) We would chat and become the best of friends. But in real life, I just fetishize her life from afar as I do yet another morning walk of shame in pajamas.
This came to mind yesterday as I instagrammed a picture of my view from the top of a cliff on the California coast. As I posted, I thought about how perfect it looked, a casual afternoon overlooking the ocean. But in the picture, you can not see the tears coming down my cheeks.
How much easier would it be if we wore our insides on the outside? If we were able to identify the broken parts in each other? We probably wouldn’t have the tools to fix those parts, but acknowledging that those parts are there and still part of the ones we care about would probably be enough. I wonder how often I appear to someone as off-putting or uncaring because I am trying to keep my self-possession.
Yesterday instead of answering the question of “how are your daughters” with the usual “we are forging ahead” or “not great but we will get there” or some other milk toast statement that is honest but not really, I fully let it out. I told this close to perfect stranger about how I had spent the last two hours on the phone trying to calm a situation at home. That we had just spent $123 on thirty pills only to find out that the medicine made her incredibly manic. How my instinct to drive to the airport and fly home was fighting with my desire to never go home again.
And I told her I feel like I am slowly disappearing as my life becomes more and more centered around my kids’ issues. My world is getting smaller and my shell is getting harder. Inside I am screaming to be seen but outside I closed off. You can’t see the cracks that are breaking me. I want to show people those cracks but more than that I want to see the cracks of others so that I can try to help fix them. Instead of being the change I want to see I want to see what changes others need and help make them. So hello, I’m broken, maybe you are too?