The poem below was written by my maternal great-grandmother, Grace Barter Monahan, and published in 1948 in a small collection of her poetry called Peaceful Pathways. I find myself thinking about this poem a lot, especially since becoming a mom and reading it from that distinct perspective.

I have moments, glimpses when I feel I can come close to being the ideal mom I aspire to be. I have occasions when I feel like I am spectacularly near to being the perfectly-patient, superlatively-creative, ever-energetic, wise, soothing, fun, funny, happy-go-lucky, water-off-my-back, spontaneous, adventurous, imaginative, ideal mom. And then the moment passes and I'm back on the bottom rung to begin the climb again.

by Grace Barter Monahan (1948)

Our lives are like glorious paintings
That in making are ugly and vague;
At times some of beauty is seen, then
A splash on the canvas is laid.

But the painter has visions of colors
Blending in various hue,
We behold when the painting is finished
A great work of art we may view.

If we, like the painter of pictures
Let ideals of beauty beguile,
Though we make ugly marks on the canvas,
We may fashion lives really worth while.