A Mother to Emulate
I'm not totally sure how old I was when I first met my friend Lisa. I want to say 23 or 24, and I'm leaning towards 24. Either way, it's been at least a decade since we first became friends while working at Borders. She'd been with the company longer- had come over from another store, actually, and was a handful of years older than me. Old enough that I classified her as "adult", but certainly younger than I am now (ironic, that, as I've only just recently started to feel like I might actually be an adult, myself). She was upbeat and fun and pretty- and she was happily married, with two little kids.
But here's the thing- she also did other stuff. Yes, she was a wife, and yes, she was a mother, and yes, she had a part-time job at a bookstore. But! She also had interests, and she pursued those interests, and quite frankly it was sort of this radical thing for me to be witnessing, because at that point in my life the only females in my peer(-or-near-peer)-group that I'd seen married and with kids were... married with kids. That's what they did: that was the whole of their focus in life, and the full extent of their identity.
And that terrified me.
So to meet Lisa, for whom I coined the mental category "Cool Mom", was eye-opening, and gave me hope for the future. She was a good mother and her own, interesting person, and I filed her under "Mothers to Emulate"*.
We stayed in touch through our respective relocations over the years (in fact Nathan and I stopped in to see her on our road-trip back to the PNW, and she fed us breakfast!), and over that time I've had the pleasure of watching (from an admitted remove) the progression of her children into young adults who look like they're set to match or exceed their mother in awesomeness. Which is pretty much the definition of Doing Parenting Right.
Lisa happened to be in town today, and made it a point to come by and meet Neeps (and also Isis). We sat and chatted for over two hours, about our kids and their development, yes, but also about our other interests and pursuits. It was wonderful, and I couldn't help but feel a warm glow of gratitude towards the woman who helped show me that motherhood could be just one more awesome thing about my awesome self.
*(my own mother is, of course, at the top of this list- but I also know I bring a certain bias to my feelings towards her near-perfection. And on a more serious note, I didn't really become cognizant of her parenting "style" per se, until I was nearly an adult, myself- so I don't have accurate data regarding how she dealt with little-littles when she was in her twenties and thirties.)