Dear Jo: If the Sky is the Limit…

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June 17, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

How is it that the most time you spend out of the house is now at the grocery store? Remember how Grandma Loughner used to dress up to go to the store? Well, by dressing up, she’d put on a floral skirt, a different patterned floral top and panty hose. And don’t forget the lipstick. She couldn’t leave the house (or talk on the phone) without lipstick. Have you even owned a tube of lipstick? Not just tinted lip balm, but actual lipstick?

Dear Jo: If the Sky is the Limit...

As usual, you sported your yoga pants and an ill-fitting moisture-wicking shirt. Ill-fitting should be assumed when referring to any clothes that are placed on your body. You really should start running again, but not until Lyla is sleeping through the night. At this rate, you probably won’t be running again until the kids are in college.

So, today you perfectly coordinated feedings and naps, made out the grocery list and headed to the store. It was somewhere after the cookie meltdown, but before the gum begging began when you spotted Mrs. Hughes. You planned to walk on by. What were the odds she would remember you 15 (or more) years after having her for Jr. High English? Not to mention the fact that today you looked a bit, ahem, disheveled and even less like yourself. So, you focused your eyes on your grocery list and planned to politely, yet quietly continue to push your cart through the dairy section without initiating a greeting.

“Hi! Josephine!” came that familiar voice. You should’ve known better than to think that she wouldn’t remember you.

“Mrs. Hughes? Hi!” you said, suddenly hoping that your ponytail didn’t show off too much grease and that the florescent lighting camouflaged some of those dark under-eye circles.

“What are you up to these days?”

“Well, here’s most of what keeps me busy,” you said as you looked to Lyla and Emerson.

“Oh! How precious! Do you have just the two?”

JUST the two? Isn’t two enough?

“Yes, just the two.”

“I’m sure they keep you busy.”

And tired.

“They do.”

“So are you still writing?” she asked.

“Not as much as I’d like to, but I try.” This diary counts, right?

“Well, I’m glad to hear that. I remember how you always wanted to be a writer. I always told you the sky was the limit. I’m glad you’re still reaching for it.” With that, she patted your shoulder, giving you that look of parental approval that Mrs. Hughes always exuded. “I’m proud of you. And I’m glad I ran into you.”

She reached for the butter, placed it in her cart and then walked away. You stood there, looking at your list, trying to figure out what you needed, but you couldn’t focus. “The sky is the limit.” She used to say that all the time. And you believed her. You believed that you could do anything and be anything, if only you put your mind to it. She made it seem as though you were living in a time like none other, when if you could dream anything, you could make that dream happen. And so you did dream. You dreamt of college and career, of writing that Great American Novel, of book tours and a quiet writing cabin in the woods. Yet here you stood, in the middle of the dairy case, with a greasy ponytail and bags under your eyes. The most you had read, other than picture books, was your grocery list. The most you had written were letters to yourself about your mundane existence of motherhood.

If the sky was the limit, why did she never tell you about the reality of adulthood also? Why did she fail to leave out the part about being a mom and a wife, of paying bills, washing clothes and cooking dinner every night? Sure, she told you about the stars and the skies and the possibilities. But while you were looking upward, no one told you about the foundation beneath you and what a strong force of gravity it would be.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom

“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


Have you download my free eBook “Motherhood Doesn’t Come with Sick Days…and other lessons from parenting”? Also, be sure to join the Unexpectant Facebook community today.

Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©Meagan Church}




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