getting on the bus with Elizabeth
August 28, 2007
Last night, when I probably should have been putting my children to bed instead of letting them stay up late watching television, I was reading this over at The Silicon Valley Moms Blog.
Worst of all, you are being a terrible mother, forcing your young children, who should be in SCHOOL, to ride in buses and talk to the press when they obviously don’t want to. This election is NOT ABOUT THEM. They deserve some peace, not time with nannies and campaign-trail daycare providers, since, as the Times article describes, you don’t have time to see them when you are busy campaigning too.
Do I sound callous? Perhaps. I am truly, seriously, sorry that you are sick and that you are dying. But let this be your parting gift to the world: give your children some actual QUALITY time with you, which they are not having on the bus or in senatorial-aide-nannycare. Help give your children a next new Democratic president, who is NOT going to be your husband.
It has been rolling around in my head all night. The attack on Mrs. Edwards as if John Edwards has no part in the decision to bring their children on the road with them. The Mommy War makes my blood boil. The insinuating that she is doing her children, and the COUNTRY!, a disservice is maddening. Don’t people take their children out of school for year long cross country trips or around the world trips all the time? How much will these children see while they are traveling? How precious will this year be, whether their father wins or not, when their mother is gone?
And that is what really bothers me the most. The implication that she would be a better mother somehow by waiting patiently at home, baking cookies, wearing her apron and waiting to die. And she should do this for YEARS. Push down her own will and desires so her children could have proper memories of her. As if there is some good parent manual of how to die and leave your children behind.
We all say, or think, if I were dying I would do this, whatever this might be, in a heartbeat. I’d quit my job, stay home with my kids, travel the world, bake cookies, never yell, always smile, sing songs all day. I’d be perfect. So that my kids could have a perfect memory of the perfect me. I would live my last years out to the fullest. Like that insipid country western song that was popular a few years ago.
Which always causes me to wonder, well why aren’t you doing those things now? And the most simplistic answer is because it isn’t you.
Elizabeth and John Edwards have built their lives in the public eye. Have built a life around public service. Why wouldn’t they want to share this with their children? Why wouldn’t she want her children to see that even when she was terminal, that this was what was important to her? Why wouldn’t she want to impart this legacy onto her children? To not share this with her children would be to deny who she is.
Sure if I were dying I have a vision of how I would my children to remember me. Perfectly patient. Perfectly happy. The singer of songs, player of games, skipper of ropes. The mother who served up perfect meals, that were always enjoyed, and did so with a smile on her face. The mother who always had a dessert to put on the table. A home made one, not tossing a box of Little Debbie snack cakes in the center and yelling, “Every man for himself.”
Apparently I want them to remember someone else. Because I have no plans to actually become that new person.
Instead if I were to suddenly drop dead they will be stuck with the memory of the authentic me. A mother who yelled more than she would have liked, who hated cooking, who could be selfish and short tempered. A mother who loved her children more than anything else in the world, but often wanted them to get the hell away from her and for the love of god to stop talking for five minutes. A mother who spent more time typing her feelings than talking about them.
A mother who should be making her children breakfast right now, but instead told them to eat a granola bar and watch Scooby Doo until I finish typing this. Thank God there is no NYT reporter here at my house.
A mother who would love to type up a fabulous and insightful conclusion to this post, but alas will not be able to because her children are fighting over the tivo remote. And yelling, “Knock it off!” has sapped her of any ability to form coherent sentences. But that’s okay. Elizabeth Edwards is living in a bus with two little kids. I am sure that she more than understands.
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