Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stirred not Shaken

"We become sad in the first place because we have nothing stirring to do."  Herman Melville


"Find things that stir you. Open yourself. Get stirred."  Margaret Miller-Finch

Take that anyway you want. Sounds like it could be sort of fun.   


When the children were new and small and wondrous, before their brilliance burned me blind, I was happy.

Well, perhaps I'm waxing nostalgic. That's the only sort of waxing I do, neither legs nor floors, only nostalgia.

Thinking back on the blur of early motherhood,  an image of myself  flickers before my eyes. Linda Blaire and Mother Theresa in one body, looming there in the shadows. Lurking, menacing, yet humble and loving. 


One moment lovingly bathing the child with lavender scented bubbles and warm water, patiently dressing and diapering the child, gently rocking him to sleep, tucking the sleeping babe in his cozy crib.


The next, smashing and stomping and kicking apart the wooden rocking chair in the living room, until all I had left was a pile of kindling wood, a badly bruised heel, and several splinters.  


I guess the months of sleepless nights, inadequate nutrition, and the constant cling and suck of a 15 lb 3 month old on my boob sort of got to me. 

I murdered a chair in cold wood. I admit it but I am not a complete monster. The chair had it coming.


My husband worked nights and when he finally came home from work in the wee hours of the morning, he asked, "Hey, uh...where's the rocking chair?" 

I recall saying something like, "Rocking chair? What rocking chair. We don't own a rocking chair. I don't know what you're talking about. Oh, by the way, watch out for that pile of sticks in the living room."

The memory of my crazed outburst does take the sheen off of my newly waxed nostalgia. 

I was going to say that motherhood stirs me. I was going to say that  being a mother was enough.

Sometimes parenthood is profound.  Spiritual, perfect. Moments of pure love. Pure joy, so beautiful you want to press it and keep it holy.

Then there is the routine, the mind numbing monotony, the mundane reality as you hoist the wet sheets from the washer to the dryer and approach the sink and prepare to wash the 3rd round of dishes for the day, sweep the floor, take out the trash. 

We should not lose sight of the possibility of grace every day and yet we should not hang our every joy and happiness on our children.  

That's too much pressure for a kid and you're cheating yourself.

You deserve to be an autonomous person. Not defined by any other person, no matter how cute he is after a bath. 

As parents we need to make reasonable sacrifices for our children.

By the same token we can't sacrifice everything.

We need to teach our kids that it is important for them to explore the world and find the things they feel they were meant to do, find the things that enliven them and make them happy.

The only way to teach this is by example.

It's not selfish to want to be happy.

Pursue your dreams.

Get stirred.  


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