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You’re not a you, you’re a “we”

I always read the “Endpaper” on the last page of the Sunday Times magazine.  The essays are sometimes good, sometimes mediocre, and I frequently use them in my writing classes as examples of how to (or how not to) put together an essay.

Today’s final page featured a photo of Picabo Street, a gold-medal skier, who has retired and has three children. The youngest child, Dax, is also in the photo.  Under the photo is her comment about the difference between being an athlete and a mother:

“As an athlete, you’re No. 1. You’re A-No. 1, you’re on the front burner burning on high, and everything is for you. When you’re a mom, we put ourselves on the back burner. We become last and the family becomes everything, and that is vastly different.”

Probably Street just wanted to generalize about “moms,” in her shift from “you” to “we,” but I think in fact she hit the nail squarely on the head.

Every mother is always–infinitely–plural.

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