In my previous life, before I was reincarnated as a mother of three, I wore clothes that fit and matched. I wore makeup and curled my hair every day. But no one gave me graham cracker kisses. No one ever told me how pretty I looked in sweats.

In my previous life, I read "Time" magazine and the newspaper. My repartee of regular television viewing transcended "Arthur" and "The Magic School Bus," and I devoured all the best selling novels. But no one asked me to read "The Velveteen Rabbit" at bedtime. No one ever requested "The Little Engine that Could."

In my previous life, I had a career and friends who were more than three feet tall. People asked for my opinions and entrusted me with important projects and confidential information. I had conversations where not once was mentioned snacks or potties or play dates. But no one asked me my favorite color or why the sky is so blue. No one ever wanted me to sing.

In my previous life, I had a life. I frequented aerobics classes, restaurants and the theater. I hosted parties where the themes had nothing to do with "Star Wars" or Winnie-the-Pooh. I shopped for myself and slept late on weekends. But no one made me Valentine cards. No one ever gave me dandelion bouquets.

In my previous life, I traveled, and my destinations did not hinge on theme parks or swimming pools or nap schedules. The Mayan ruins of the Yucatan, snorkeling in the Caribbean, museum hopping in Italy, Kabuki Theater in Japan...these were my playgrounds. I was the queen of the road and my destiny. But no one asked me to push the swing higher. No one ever invited me to splash in puddles or roll in the snow.

In my previous life, I held my emotions in check. I did not stomp my feet or grit my teeth. I could not easily be diminished to tears or tirades. I considered my demeanor as laid-back and easygoing. But, no one made me care enough to cry. No one ever just loved me, anyway.

In my previous life, I was free. I could carve my own path and follow my dreams. Nothing stood in my way. But the path was unsure and the vision blurred. No one ever gave me purpose enough to soar. Now, I endlessly rearrange piles of laundry, crumbs and toys. I am pulled and tugged, hassled and harassed, stepped on and sat upon, and desperate for some solitude. I am jean-clad and juice- stained, bleary-eyed and graying, underpaid and overwhelmed. And, sometimes I wonder who I am and what I've become. Then, one of my children shouts, "Mommy, I need you!" and it is perfectly clear.






||Gayle Sorensen Stringer||





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