From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

The Mom

I looked at this tiny, perfect creature, and it was as though a light switch had been turned on. A great rush of love flooded out of me.

Madeleine L’Engle

“Mom! Mom! Get up!” Four-year-old Madison pats her hand on my bed. “You have to be Bear in the Big Blue House.

“Maddy, it’s early, honey. Let mommy wake up.” I yawn and stretch, really wishing I had another twenty minutes.

“But you have to be Daddy. Bear in the Big Blue House is on!”

“Now I have to be Daddy?” All I want is a cup of coffee. “What happened to my being Bear?” I sigh. “How about letting me get dressed first?”

And so my daughter’s daily world of magical make-believe begins.

But by the time I get around and am working on that cup of coffee, Maddy—The Director, as her daddy calls her—is focused on princess characters.

“Let’s do Sleeping Beauty. And, Mom, do the boices.” In Maddy’s world, everything is possible.

“Maddy, I don’t do the voices. Daddy does.” And I wish he was here doing this instead of me, I complain inwardly.

“Yes, you do,” she bellows. “Hit it, Mom!”

Where did she learn that phrase? I wonder, tickled.

Maddy directs. I follow. She insists I do the entire play and be all the characters.

Admittedly, after some practice, I do a pretty good rendition of Sleeping Beauty, Fairy Merryweather and the Wicked Fairy.

“Tee, hee, hee,” I flutter around the backyard as the Wicked Fairy. “I cast a powerful spell on this child.”

“Oh, dear, dear, dear,” I pace as kindhearted Merryweather. “However will I break this dreadful spell?”

“Stop, stop, stop!” The Director stiffens her arms and holds out her hands. “You forgot to be The Mom!”

“The mother in Sleeping Beauty? What does she do?”

“Come on, Mom, do the part. You know it,” Maddy coaxes.

I do? I think hard, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what the mother did in the movie. I give up! I concede silently. After all, I’m not much of a make-believe-world Mom. And I switch roles . . . to play myself. “Yes, now I’m the mom, and this mom says it’s time for lunch and a nap.”

“Ahhhh.” With a little stomp of her feet and a pleading to continue after lunch, The Director sets down her wand and follows me indoors.

Yet, this time I can’t seem to take advantage of the all-to-me hour I always anticipate while my daughter sleeps. None of my projects appeal; I’m not even interested in a friendly phone chat with a girlfriend. Instead, I revisit Maddy’s insistence that I play the role of Sleeping Beauty’s mom.

“Well,” I admit to the empty room, “maybe I need to review the movie.” And I pop the tape into the machine to catch that important scene at the beginning.

I watch the Mother Queen cuddling her little daughter in her arms. I listen as she and the king discuss how hard it was for them to conceive a child. I muse over the village-wide celebration they plan for this blessed babe’s arrival.

And comprehension sets in. Tears flood my eyes. I do know the part, I think. I am that mom. I live this role.

It took years and years (and invitro) for my king and me to conceive our blessed daughter. We, too, celebrate her and the joy she brings to our family. And suddenly, I laugh aloud to realize that I do live in a world of fairytales— where magical things happen, anything is possible, and I know my part as Mom.

And I live in that world with my very own Sleeping Beauty!

Maria Nickless

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