Baby four was the third boy in the family and fit right in with only a little shoe-horning here and there. Susan describes the ups and downs, the ebb and flow, the tears and giggles of ordinary family life throughout a year — with one pre-teen daughter, about to go to her first dance, a rambunctious five-year-old and eight-year-old, a cat and a dog, and the added dividend, the new baby with his much-lauded ability to sleep for ten hours straight. She also shares the experiences of suburban life from neighborhood family fun nights that aren’t that much fun, to the usual home owner disasters of a leaky roof and a refrigerator that liquefies the last, longed-for pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Yes, this is a small book filled with very small tales of poignant moments that could easily be forgotten but deserve to be remembered. Nothing is more important than the kids catching fireflies on a summer evening, or her daughter’s Little League team (made up of eleven and twelve-year-olds, losing but gloriously—22 to 2– to the tougher fourteen -year-old all-stars from Brewster). But Susan’s real story is a much bigger one. It is the never-ending story of motherhood that begins with that first moment of queasiness and simply never ends.
She writes about moms:
Moms are masters of organization. We might be able to disband FEMA and just get a bunch of moms to do it. If we can pick up everyone from school, drop them off at three kinds of lessons, grocery shop, gas up the car, mail the bills and circle back around for pick-ups all in forty minutes while the baby stays asleep in his car seat–we could also evacuate neighborhoods, arrange shelter for thousands and make sure every child has Goldfish crackers, Band-Aids, and a blankie. We don’t always have time to look good because we are so busy getting little people (and their dads) where they have to go, feeding, washing, and lullabying, correcting home-work and organizing lunch boxes, matching socks and patching up boo-boos. So give us our comfy pants and a roll of duct tape, and the world will survive.
Darn true, Susan, and thanks for reminding us.
— Myrna Blyth, long-time editor of Ladies Home Journal and founding editor of More, is author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness — and Liberalism — to the Women of America. Blyth is also an NRO contributor.