Wednesday, March 15, 2006
When Naomi was five years old, someone gave her Shrinky Dinks for her birthday.
Do you remember Shrinky Dinks? They were annoying sheets of plastic-like-stuff which you would draw upon (good luck), then, frustratingly try to cut-up and then bake in an oven.
Well, one night Naomi and I did the Shrinky Dink thing and then ever afterward when Naomi asked to Shrinky Dink some more, I fibbed to her. I'd say, "Later, Sweetie. We'll Shrinky Dink later." But (I confess) I'd hidden the dreaded Shrinky Dink box. And still Naomi would, occasionally, ask to haul out that mess once more. And of course, I would say, "Later, Sweetie. We'll Shrinky Dink later."
Well, later never came. And it's funny, but some afternoons I'd tell myself, "I really should haul out that messy, awful Shrinky Dink stuff for Naomi again. After all, it was for her birthday. And someday, I'll probably regret not spending more Shrinky Dink time with her."
Well, we never did Shrinky Dink again. And I did regret it a tad.
There are Motherhood Glances, and if you're a mother, you might know what I mean. There is a Forward Motherhood Glance and a Backward Motherhood Glance and both are important and can help balance-out this amazing thing called raising children.
I'm glad I most often used the Forward Motherhood Glance, the one which woke me up on days I took for granted having a little girl to mold, play and dream with. The one where I'd look ahead and ask myself, "Someday, will I regret not taking the time to ________ as a mother?" Very often, the answer was "Well, yessss. I will."
And that simple thought would help get my tired, sleep-deprived self off of the couch so that I could go and make a Mom and Naomi Memory. Another one. One of thousands. Nearly always, afterward, I'd feel purest gratitude that the Forward Motherhood Glance nudged me out of the house or just away from my book or the tv or off the phone.
Now that Naomi is 26, most of my motherhood glances are of the Backward persuasion. Sometimes they bump into me, jar me, when I'm in toy aisles at Target--they whisper that Naomi's idea of a wonderful present is no longer a Barbie, a doll house or colored markers. Nor will it ever be again. Those days are gone.
Yet, Naomi at 7 is not gone, not completely, because the Forward Glance urged me to look up from my crocheting and memorize Naomi, just as she was on the carpet with her scissors, her fabric and the dresses she scotch-taped for herself that year. Naomi at seven can never be completely gone from me now.
But years and miles later, with grey streaking my hair, the Great Shrinky Dink Debacle is one of the few non-regrets I find way back there in Naomi's childhood. It's right up there with the fact that we never took her to Disneyland, and well, a couple more such things.
The Shrinky Dink thing? The never having made it to Disneyland? I can live with those regrets.
The Motherhood Forward Glance nagged me to gaze ahead and then it took my hands to the refrigerator and gave me the patience to color and dye all those bowls of Easter eggs with Naomi--and so much more.
Now all of it is far away--yet it's still close, memorized, too.
But I do thank God, sincerely, that these Backward Glances do not hurt, but rather, they are oh, so sweet, with only an occasional regret to mar them. And Today is all the better for having been kept awake by the Forward Glances of long ago.