Except when you don’t because sometimes you won’t

You know you’re a mom when you start to find deep spiritual meaning in children’s books. For example, when reading Sandra Boynton’s But Not the HippopotomusI can spot myself in the role of the hippopotomus. I can see my newlywed, childless self trying to figure out how and where I fit in. And that me that came home crying from Patrick’s first music group? Well, then I was the armadillo.


And, in Your Personal Penguin by the same author, when I read “Wherever you go, I’ll go there too. Here and there and everywhere and always with you.” Well, yup, I can see me with Patrick’s backpack following him in all his toddler escapades.

With this kind of sentimentality, you may ask what on earth I was thinking when I picked up Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go. Believe me, I wonder, too. But I came to this conclusion. It would be wise for most of us to pick up this book and read it at least every 5 years. It really is one of the best pep talks ever written.

Can I share a few passages that seemed just all too true?

“Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest
Except when you don’t.
Because sometimes, you won’t.”


“You’ll come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both you your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”


“I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.”


“On and on you will hike
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.”


“And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!”

I started to elaborate on why these particular passage stood out to me, but decided in the end that one of the beautiful things about this book is that it captures the journey so well without the details.

Because the journey is different for all of us.

And really, it’s not so much which wonderful feats we achieve. And which ones we don’t.

When people hear our family’s story, they often tell us how wonderful we are, how brave, how strong. But the truth is that we really are just going the places that our life leads us. We “face up to our problems whatever they are.”

That’s what I tell them. And that’s what I tell the brand new moms who join our support group who are scared and uncertain and don’t know how they will do all that is asked of them. They’ll be able to do it simply because they’re a mom, and that’s what moms do.

You do what you have to do.

I highly recommend that you find this book and reread it. You’ll feel a whole lot better about wherever you are in your journey.

Thanks for sharing story time with me.

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