The Time Machine: The Girl and the Old Woman

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

Today I’m sharing a short story I wrote in November 2015, the year our third daughter turned one. It was a tremendously busy year, and I was struggling with feeling guilty for not being able to do everything all the time. After I wrote it, I printed it and put it on my fridge as a reminder to myself that it’s okay to be busy with the very important work of raising kids. My dishes can wait (for a little while, anyway!).



Once upon a time there was a little girl.  She was beautiful and ambitious with a courageous heart and a feisty spirit.  She grew up in a world where everyone told her, “you can do it all!”.  So she tried.  And she found that she really could do it all!

Then one day she met a handsome prince and fell in love.  They got married.  She continued to do it all, and she did it quite well.  Everyone praised her for how she took care of everything.  She beamed with pride.

After a while the girl and her prince decided they wanted to add to their family, and soon she was with child.  How wonderful!  She loved the idea of having children.  She loved preparing the nursery.  She loved imagining what their life would be like with such a joy.

And what a beautiful baby she was.

As the girl held her own tiny daughter close, she began to realize that she now only had one arm to do it all.  So she tried doing it all with her one free arm.  But something happened.  She began to drop things.

She was stunned.  She had never dropped things before.  She had always been able to handle it all with ease.  But something had changed.  Her heart began to ache with feelings of fear and failure.  She thought, “Surely there is something wrong with me.  I’ll just try harder.”

So she did.  Everyone kept telling her, “you can do it all.”   So she kept going, but her heart was very sad and she grew very tired.

One day, she came across an old woman who had raised her own family many years ago.  Her eyes were full of kindness and wisdom.  Surely this woman would have the answer to her heart’s biggest question!

So the girl said to the woman, “I must know!  How did you do it all?”

The old woman smiled with deep understanding.

She patted the girl on the hand and said, “Oh my dear girl.  I didn’t.  And that’s okay.”

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