Monday, April 26, 2010
The Catalog Mom
Some of you might remember the old Montgomery Ward store. It was a large department store that was in our neighborhood. This was back before the time of online ordering. You had to go to a real brick and mortar store and shop for what you needed. They did have a catalog department though, for the things that you might need that the store did not carry. Those items had to be ordered and than picked up at the store at a later date.
With all the online companies now, it seems pretty crazy that we did business that way back when. The kids all liked that store for different reasons. The boys liked to play in the clothes racks and disappear from sight. I think they believed that if I could not find them, they could have more fun. The girls loved to look at the clothes that were store made. At that time in their lives, I made most of what they wore, or bought it second hand, so it was a real treat to get new clothes.
The Montgomery Ward store sent out very large catalogs every year. The kids loved getting those catalogs in the mail. They would take turns pouring over the books, looking at all the things that people could buy. Their favorite section was the toy section. They would pour over those toys for hours and circle the items that they wanted for birthdays and Christmas. They would write their names on the page next to their circles and I was supposed to look there when it came time to buy presents. That book, tattered and well looked at, sat under the coffee table in the living room until the new one came out every year.
When the older children were quite young, they would sometimes get mad at me. Maybe I yelled, or punished them in some way. Maybe I didn't listen close enough, or understand enough. Maybe, I just didn't spend enough time with them. Sometimes, it is very hard to balance all that you want to do with those things that you need to do. It can cause quite a conflict in a mother. On those really bad days, I used to tell the kids that they could pick out a new mother in the Montgomery Ward catalog.
They would go through the catalog and pick one of the models out to be "their new mother". We would usually sit down and find something wrong with her. She was too skinny (I loved that one!) so she probably wouldn't cook for them. She had mean eyes. She was too beautiful and probably wouldn't spend enough time with them because she would be too worried about her hair or her makeup. We would do a lot of those pretend games. Inevitably, they would decide that they were glad to have me. I would give them a hug and they would go on to other things. I might forget a lot of memories as I get older, but I have never forgotten that they chose me over all those other women in the Montgomery Wards catalog.
Sometimes, as I struggle through my life, I am tempted to think that I cannot make a difference. When I have had a trying day with my children and probably lost my temper a time or two, I start to wonder if they wouldn't be better off with another mother, a different mother, a better mother, one who is always kind and good. One who is more perfect than me. One of those women in the catalog. And then, I remember their squishy hugs and sticky kisses as they chose me.
I remember that one person can make a difference. And most of all, I remember that somehow, I am enough.
When you walk into a room,
you either add to the room
or take away from it.
No matter what happens,
You have made a difference.