The Zone by Noreen Heffernan

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

Isn’t it strange how some things stick with you? I feel as if it is always random; random things people say to you….they may think it is a fleeting comment, but it could be something you look back on, something you never forget. It can happen when you are driving and you have a moment; those are the times you remember these casual and sometimes arbitrary remarks. And, as casual as they are, sometimes they make you change and grow. They do it, without even trying. That is what makes them so special.

Like when I was in first grade and my teacher wrote in my yearbook. I still remember the beautiful perfect writing, “to Noreen, such a beautiful and smart little girl. Have a great summer. I will miss you.” Did she realize I would be a mother of 3 kids and still remember her one sentence in my yearbook? Or when I lost my first baby and as they wheeled me out of the emergency room, in my fog, the nurse said to me, “I hope the next time we see you is in labor and delivery.” I can cry thinking of it. Those words gave me such hope on the nights I couldn’t sleep.

When I was a new mom, I made my first mom friend. She was so sweet. Our babies were very close in age, within a month I think. We hung out a lot. It was nearly 7 years ago and I don’t really remember much, but I do remember one comment she said to me. She said, “I walked into the bathroom last night and my husband was giving my daughter a bath.” She went on, “he was just staring off into space. He looked so miserable.” I don’t remember what was said before or even after, I just remember that.

The other day, I had one of those days! You know, crying, tantrums, short naps…the usual. It was 5:00 pm and it was such a nice day. The two older girls were finally getting along and playing outside in the backyard and I was pushing my one year old on the swing. I was sitting on the wood bench attached to the swing set and staring off into space. I caught myself. And, I immediately thought about my friend’s comment. It made me snap back to reality. I was staring off into space and I probably looked miserable. I did one of those, you know, blink the eyes really quick…

And so I smiled at the baby and zoned in. I was tired. I was praying for the 6:30 bedtime routine, but I punched in. I smiled, I sang, and I made myself become present. I didn’t want to be like her husband. It turned out that he was miserable. They divorced maybe 3 months later. And I know it is such a completely difference situation. But, it was enough to make me realize that it isn’t always about me. Mostly, it has to be about them and how they see me. So, I faked it a little, for my children.

We are allowed to be tired. We are allowed to wish for bedtime. But one thing I’m learning slowly as a mother, is that sometimes we have to zone back in. We have to show our children happiness, even when we are tired and a bit miserable. We have to try and make more moments of happiness and less of wishing for the bedtime routine. Trust me, I am totally guilty of it. Totally and absolutely. And we don’t live in a perfect world. And we are human. And right now, I am stressed!!!!! I’m just trying to remind myself to be better. And maybe you will remember this post when you are feeling annoyed and punch in? Maybe when you are staring off into space, you can remember this and that situation and look up and smile. It is ALWAYS something that will go a long way for yourself, but it will go even a longer way…for our children.

Noreen Heffernan, Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies and Beautycounter Consultant,