The Peace Keeping Mom

The Mom in this life story did everything she could to keep peace in the family. As the consummate peacekeeper, she kept her priorities in a certain order and at all times. Her husband first, followed by her two daughters. Satisfying the whims of a workaholic husband and two daughters, five years apart in age, took everything she could muster up to keep the family’s life peaceful.

Of course, it’s difficult to keep peace with a perfectionist husband. All family discussions, dinner times, and weekends revolved around the husband. If this meant the family couldn’t go anywhere on the weekend because of “certain architectural plans” only the father felt equipped to fabricate, then the weekend was no different from a weekday. Meals curdled while waiting for the “master of the house” to come home, or maybe a call about being later than anticipated would allow the three “girls” to go ahead and eat. Endless union negotiations with steel erection personnel caused a whirlwind of uncertainty in the family schedule for weeks every four years. It’s no wonder the sisters earned their entrepreneurial identity, business management skills, and administrative acumen through osmosis.

Still, their mother stood in the back of the others’ lives and kept things on an even keel as best she could. For example, when doctors suggested that the younger daughter take dancing lessons to help alleviate a medical issue, mom decided to enroll both daughters in dancing lessons. The mom didn’t work away from home, so her daughters’ dancing lessons provided an outlet where she could make friends with other moms. She was an accomplished seamstress and very capable of making dancing costumes.

She wanted her husband to realize that she also had a passion in her life—making the most beautiful costumes for his daughters—that surpassed all the other dancers’ costumes. She hand-sewed sequins and beads until her fingers were numb, sometimes staying up until all hours of the night, only to hop out of bed each morning at 5:30 AM to cook her husband’s breakfast—two strips of bacon fried crisp, two eggs, easy over, and two pieces of toast. She packed his lunch and kissed him goodbye just in time to wake up her daughters, still soundly sleeping.

If a mouse happened to live in the corners of the peacekeeping mom, it more than likely saw things the rest of the family didn’t. Tears dribbling down her cheeks. Yawns of exhaustion. Her downward glances—wondering if she would ever matter to her husband as much as he mattered to her—or times of inward rage over her circumstances. Perhaps she realized that her peacekeeping didn’t seem to make a difference. She had no idea that peacekeeping never makes a situation better, but worse. How would she have known that peacekeeping is to maintain peace at any cost, to accept the status quo, even when it’s wrong for her? Even when her identity was slowly, steadily being absorbed into her family and their individual wants and desires.

To be continued …

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