I catch a glimpse of myself in your eyes
and the view is not flattering.
A trace of disdain escapes
as you smile at me and look away.
What is the problem?
One thousand and one possibilities
immediately come to mind.
I am 39 and single
in this neighborhood
of high-six-figure homes
and well coifed stay-at-home moms.
We carpool our daughters to gymnastics
and so taking a deep breath
I ignore the attitude
and approach you for small talk.
Your dismissiveness continues
a small miracle occurs
and you are forthcoming with your thoughts
on what is wrong with me.
(Being from Chicago, I appreciate directness. Come on you Lutheran sons of farmers, just say what is on your mind!)
So your daughter tells me you have 3 older children?
There is nothing wrong with ME.
You have me confused
with my daughter's birth mother.
And since my kid
is in the go-tell-it-on-the-mountain
stage of trauma
who knows what you have heard
on your bi-weekly car trips?
Tales of drug deals, maniac boyfriends,
teenage kids scattered around the country
in and out of jail?
She has older sibings
but I just adopted her a couple of years ago.
The sun comes out.
Your eyes reveal my transformation from
drug addicted loser
I am a HERO for godsakes!
My smile back is genuine
for a moment
until I remember
that I am no saint.
In fact, I yell when I am angry
I swear like a sailor
my parenting style is somewhat chilly
I am sure I have scarred my child's heart more than once
I could go on
but the point is
I am not my child's Holy Savior.
Thank you for reminding me.