Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Tunnel Vision

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed.
~Author Unknown

I slumped listlessly in my favorite chair, a plush worn brown relic rescued on one of my garage sale expeditions. The breakfast mess left by my six kids leered at me from the little dingy kitchen. Huge piles of laundry lurked behind the door of the utility room. Unmade beds and cobwebs in dusty corners taunted me to the brink of depression.

“What the heck!” I thought. “I am going to make a cup of tea and get that candy bar I have been hiding.” I snatched the new Reader’s Digest beckoning me seductively from under a pile of unpaid bills.

Two hours later, I read the last page of the digest and resurfaced. “Oh, God!” I exclaimed, “I’ll never get that wash out. The kids will be home from school before I get the house cleaned.” I rushed around attempting to catch up on my chores.

I was getting nowhere when my mother walked in. “Hi,” she called cheerily and grabbed the broom and began to sweep. “Looks like you got a late start,” she commented. Not bothering to answer, I stomped into the laundry room. I mashed an unsorted load into the washer and sunk onto a pile of dirty sheets. Depression rushed in like the water pouring into the tub next to me.

After wallowing in my misery for half an hour, I slipped back into my kitchen. Mom was elbow deep in sudsy dishwater washing my dirty dishes. The floor was swept and counters were wiped clean. I sat down at the now clean table and burst into tears. Mom grabbed a cup of instant coffee and sat down opposite me.

“Okay, what’s the matter?” she asked calmly.

“Mom,” I gulped, as I wiped tears on the sleeve of my bathrobe, “when is it ever going to get better? It seems I can never get ahead with the housework. I’m tired of getting up early and staying up late and never having any time to myself. It is so hard to make ends meet. Every time we seem to get ahead someone has to go to the doctor or the car has to be repaired. This house is old and dumpy and way too small.”

My mother listened patiently to my tale of woe. “Norma,” she told me, “I remember feeling like this when I was raising twelve children. Trust me. Finances will ease and things will get better. You may not see it, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In two years your oldest child will be eighteen years old. Enjoy today—this moment with your children. Yesterday is gone. You only have today.”

I looked up and there were tears in her eyes. Like a bolt out of the blue it hit me! Mom was talking from experience. She had reached the other end of the tunnel and was remembering those precious years. Maybe she had some regrets, too, and didn’t want that for me.

“I will seize the moment,” I thought to myself. “I’m not going to agonize over mundane things.”

Later that afternoon, I watched my kids devour fresh baked cookies. They argued over who got the last one. Crumbs were scattered over the table and even on the floor. No matter. I was enjoying every minute.

Thank you, Mom, for what you taught me that day, for that moment and your sage advice and wisdom. I am grateful.

~Norma Favor

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners