19 April 2010

Me v. MommyMe

It was the episode of "Parenthood" last week that really hit me. The mom was trying to explain something to the teen daughter, trying to prove that her voice had value. The teen was, of course, blowing her off.

It took the dad taking the teen daughter to the park her mom helped create during her years on city staff to prove that mom not only had worth, mom did some pretty cool things pre-kids.

That's me. That's every one of my friends.

It's like we live two lives, constantly in tension. There's the Us-Who-Do-Career-Things. We do damn cool work. I've put together textbooks, edited and written stuff that city planning students are apparently forced to read as coursework. I've edited websites and alumni magazines.

Heck, I just presented at a major conference last week as an expert in a session. Scary, I know. But true.

My kids are oblivious. They only know me as Mom, washer of clothes, finder of stuff, cooker of food.

I have tried to show my eldest that I do cool things. Meh. She won't even read my books.

It isn't just Mommies who get this treatment, apparently. My husband presented at a different session. We were gone four days. We came back, the kids shrugged, and when we mentioned at dinner how our presentations went, the eldest looked at us funny and said, "You presented?"

Perhaps that is how it should be.

I never knew, until he was too old to care, that my crotchety grandfather was apparently well-known enough to win multiple awards for corn production, that he was one of the men on the board of our church who rebuilt the structure from scratch (although I do wish now he'd stuck to his opinion that they needed 12 more pews in back and put the choir in a true loft), who fought the county commission and had them construct a real bridge, rather than an old-fashioned ford crossing, over the creek near our family's farm.

But it sure would be nice for the younger generation to see that we have more than one facet of our identity, kwim?

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