From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Through the Looking Glass

Becoming a mother doesn’t mean abandoning the girl you once were but rather embracing her and introducing her to your children.

Rachel Ryan

Every year we attend the county fair.

I can’t wait for the aroma of funnel cakes to send me on a kamikaze mission straight to the concession stand. My children, on the other hand, can’t wait to climb aboard the death-wish rides and eat cotton candy. Sometimes my funnel cakes and their rides don’t sit well together, but we still manage to have a great time.

This past year, Jessica and I visited the fun house. We stumbled across the moving floor, giggled through the laughing pen and arrived at the room of mirrors. There were mirrors that made us short and chunky, tall and skinny, and even one that made us look wavy.

Four-year-old Jessica loves looking at her reflection, but at the wavy mirror she started to cry.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” I gave her a comforting hug.

“I look ugly, Mommy.” She sobbed as she gazed at her distorted self. “I want to be me again.”

Resisting an urge to laugh, I urged her outside and opened my compact. “Those were trick mirrors,” I explained. “Now look at yourself, Jessica. See how pretty you are? You’re still the same little girl. We found her again.” And I led her to a concession stand for a candy apple and a sensory break.

It wasn’t until later that I applied the experience to my own life.

How often do I have a distorted perception of myself? So many days I wash dishes and laundry and kids, pick up the same toys one hundred times, and dine a la alphabet soup with ketchup and pea-stained preschoolers. Then I stare in the bathroom mirror, wondering at the self-pitying woman reflected back. Like Jessica, I, too, am scared at that ugly, warped version of me.

And I realize the image is merely clouded and “wavy” just like the mirror in the fun house. Certainly not a true reflection of the woman who also basks in the rays of her children’s love and laughter.

And I give myself a break. I grab the children—and a box of Little Debbie cakes—and head outside to find my true self again.

Lisa Moffitt

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