Monday, April 11, 2011
Better Than All Those Others
Despite the steady buzz of conversation in the room, my group sat in an awkward silence, looking at the floor. I wondered what I was doing there, then I wondered if the other women in the group were wondering the same thing.
It was one of those Meet & Greet things for new moms to help form playgroups & life-long friendships & arranged marriages & that sort of thing. There were probably about one hundred women in the room, but it seemed like the only ones who weren't talking were surrounding me. We had just heard the ground rules: pick a time & place to meet, exchange info, become best friends, etc. But my group wasn't doing any of that. I tried asking questions, suggesting times & places, but they all seemed really reluctant to commit to anything. Finally, one of them said she had to go, and within a matter of moments, I was sitting alone in a crowded room. No times, no places, no life-long friendships... just me, Nolan, and a piece of paper with pointers on how to get your group started.
Now, even the most secure & confident person is going to start wondering "What did I say?" in a moment like that. I realized that shortly before the mass exodus, I had sheepishly confessed (after being asked) that my little guy sleeps for twelve hours most nights. Coincidence? Okay, I'm sure that wasn't actually it, but I did notice how strange it is that when mothers get together, they compare their babies: how much do they weigh, how long to they sleep, will they take a bottle, are they crawling, walking, teething, and on & on. Why this is interesting, I really don't know, but I confess that I do it too.
And of course, every mom feels a little twinge of pride if their wee one seems brighter than the average rug rat-- or stronger, or more agile, or whatever the case may me. But why is that, I wonder? What advantage does one human have over another because they can walk, talk, read or ride a bike sooner than the rest? Will it make them happier? Will they live a more meaningful life?
Because really, in the end, I think that's what most mothers want for their babies. The hope is that this little bundle that you are investing so much in will one day live a rich life of meaning, have deep relationships, and great joy.
Which makes me wonder: What does that even look like? How many people do I know that are living that way? Am I living that way?
All of those hopes, dreams & aspirations that were placed on me as a baby-- how am I living them out? And how will my little man ever know what it looks like to live a life of meaning & depth if he doesn't get to see it modeled to him?
Now, I promise, I did not ask these questions at my Meet & Greet time tonight (that would give an easy answer to the "What did I say?" question), but stuck with the polite small talk. I do wonder, though, what it is we all want for our children-- and for ourselves.
Maybe that can be the topic of conversation at our next Mom's time... which is yet to be scheduled ;)