Mommy Training

The little blonde girl wandered around the auditorium at the monthly Fiddlers Jamboree clutching her little blonde doll. Now and then the girl talked to the doll and stroked its plastic hair. When the fiddle music got lively, she danced with her, looking back to make sure her mother was watching.

Across the room, a plain-looking woman with thick glasses and scraggly brown hair displayed a real baby as if it were a trophy. She showed that newborn to everyone. Look, see what I have. Suddenly this mousy woman had a claim to greatness: she had borne this baby. It was a very new baby, its navel still not healed, its head a soft formless bobble buried in blankets. She held it very carefully and proudly.

Meanwhile, I cradled my guitar and watched a tall blond in tight black jeans, a striped tank top and a cowboy hat serve cake to her fat daughter whose buck teeth matched her mom’s. The mother had the MC proclaim that it was Shannon’s eighth birthday. After feeding her a giant portion of chocolate-frosted birthday cake, she hauled the kid on stage with her violin to squeak out a horrendous rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and an even worse “Red River Valley.”

The mother stood by, smiling, sure that her fiddle-playing friends were impressed by her little prodigy. The woman overseeing the show held her hand over her mouth the whole time. I couldn’t tell whether she was laughing or horrified.

Just when I couldn’t stand much more of this mother-and-child adoration, I noticed the first little girl had dropped her doll on the ground and gone in search of other amusement. In fact, I almost stepped on the doll.

The toddler is a mommy in training—as I was once. I learned my lessons well, but I was trained to be something I didn’t become. I sat in that sweltering auditorium, nervously awaiting my turn on stage and felt like a girl who had gone to a party and forgotten to bring her dolly. What did I have to show off? Just a nicked-up guitar and a couple of country songs.

This is an excerpt from my Childless by Marriage Book. Have you had moments when you felt so totally left out because you didn’t have children?

Copyright 2010 Sue Fagalde Lick

2 thoughts on “Mommy Training

  1. I just somtimes get very envious about the attention mothers get. Things are all arranged around them and their needs. For example my mom and her boyfriend were trying to organize a get-together of all us “step-siblings” (his children and partners, my sister and me + partners). Finally she told us she found a date, because now the new born baby of her boyfriend's son would be “transportable”. What rubbish – babys are transportable very soon after birth. Did anyone get an email saying: That's the date of the get-together, because finally Elena's many and tiring business travel's are over now for a while? I guess not.
    So for me it's not so much about not being able to do what i was “trained” for i don't follow that perspective anyway. It's about claiming attention and applause for what i can do. Sometimes it hurts not to get that (because the focus is on some mother…). It wouldn't happen on a fiddle jamboree for me though: I know what i can do on a fiddle, i'm proud of it and i'd show them :-)!!


  2. Well said, Elena. I'd love to get your fiddle and my guitar/mandolin together.
    I have always felt that nothing I have accomplished in my life would get the same positive recognition from my family that having a baby would. It is frustrating.


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