Other People’s Birthdays

I love shopping…

…but not for myself.  I don’t know what it is, but I have zero patience for trying on clothes, considering nail polish colors, or even buying my own books live and in person.  Ugh.

So, March is a fun month for me, when two of my closest friends, two babies, and my mom all have birthdays!


Last week Ruthie and I spent a whole day running around town, shopping at various discount stores and specialty shops, hunting down the perfect items for each and every birthday girl on our list.  We had a delightful time, even though our search was somewhat fruitless and we wound up on Amazon to fill out our gift bags.

You see, since I quit teaching full time, anything that gets me out of the house is a plus.  Trips to Target, the post office, and the gym have become nothing short of therapeutic.  So an entire day zipping around shopping for other people is paradise!

Then, when we get home, we have hours of enjoyment opening, de-tagging, and sorting our purchases, followed by the inevitable tissue paper extravaganza that is always initiated by Ruthie and then escalated by our cats.

By the time the presents are wrapped, the house is a mess and I have to clean, which is fine with me.  Babies are a joy, but they are a monotonous, tedious, demanding little species.  Whatever breaks up twelve unencumbered hours with a non-speaking, non-mobile, non-self-feeding individual is welcome.

I’ve had a hard time dealing with that monotony, since I was so accustomed to having 140 teenagers per day zoom in and out of my life.  I won’t ever be able to replicate the uniquely fulfilling challenge of high school teaching until I return to the classroom, so I question my jaunts around town.  I wonder if they’re just a way to pass the time until my life is mine again.  I wonder if it makes me a bad mom to look forward to that moment.

Today is my mom’s birthday, and she is an absolutely spectacular mom.  She is that rare creature who actually enjoys spit-up and poop blowouts and middle of the night screaming.  Genuinely–I’ve heard her crooning to Ruthie at 4 a.m. before while I’m trying to shove a pillow more firmly on top of my head.

While I feel incredibly, unspeakably lucky to have my mom be mine, I feel sad every day that I don’t excel at motherhood the way she does.  It’s been a tough pill to swallow realizing that whatever genetic mama goddess gene she possesses apparently skipped me.

So on her birthday, I’m trying to forget all the guilt I feel about all of my mommy feelings, in order to best honor my mom’s love of parenthood.  We all do it differently, just as we’re all different individuals, and society needs to make that okay.

Cheers to that, old sport.


One thought on “Other People’s Birthdays

  1. Classroom Liner Notes says:

    I keep Pinterest boards organized around gift ideas for other people. Buying a thoughtful gift for someone I love is the BEST thing. Just the best. No guilt, either. We’re all doing the best we can and Ruthie has the perfect Mama for her.


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