The Woman I Wanted to Be


My sister told me about a sermon she heard on the topic of New Year’s goals at an inter-faith meeting. A rabbi said that his resolution is to ask himself, every day, the same question that the passenger on the airplane that landed safely in the Hudson River asked. As the aircraft was about to plunge into the river below, he asked himself, “Am I the man I wanted to be?” So, the rabbi suggested that our resolution might be to ask ourselves that question as we start each day.

Great food for thought! Am I the woman I wanted to be? I had so many hopes/dreams when I was younger. We are just as sure as can be that we will, with all due respect, do things differently and better than our mothers did. I can remember having a goal as a young bride to wear flowers in my hair every day . . . ah, the lovely ideas of youth! Thankfully we gain more wisdom as we age. Some of our goals were fair to abandon as they were foolish or impractical, but some are still good, although forgotten, and should be resurrected.

The girl I used to be, and the goals I had, make me remember this favorite poem:

Lest We Forget

She came tonight as I sat alone
The girl that I used to be. . .
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully:

“Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes that I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame
All the wonderful things to do?”

“Where is the mansion of stately height
With all of its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?”

And as she spoke, I was very sad,
For I wanted her pleased with me . . .
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl that I used to be.

So gently arising, I took her hand,
And guided her up the stair
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
So innocent, sweet and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me,
That silken robe is my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love,
And the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltering walls
For the dear ones who come and go.

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me,
And I saw that the woman that I am now
Pleased the girl that I used to be.

—Anonymous

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