Friday, June 29, 2007

Be Faithful.

"O mothers of young children, I bow before you in reverence. Your work is most holy. You are fashioning the destinies of immortal souls. The powers folded up in the little ones that you hushed to sleep in your bosoms last night are powers that shall exist forever. You are preparing them for their immortal destiny and influence. Be faithful. Take up your sacred burden reverently. Be sure that your heart is pure and your life is sweet and clean. The Persian apologue says that the lump of clay was fragrant because it had lain on a rose. Let your life be as the rose, and then your child as it lies upon your bosom will absorb the fragrance. If there is no sweetness in the rose the clay will not be perfumed."~ J.R. Miller, Home-Making

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Life Is Only as Boring as the Person Who Lives It

When I left my job as a bank teller to begin my career as a home-based wife and mother three weeks before our first daughter was born, I was inundated with concerns about my being bored. Upon hearing my plans to leave the work world for the home world people from as many different demographics as you can think of would respond with one form or another of the same question, "Do you think you will be bored?" I would fashion a polite response each time, appropriately crafted for the particular asker, but my heart's silent answer was the same every time. "Are you out of your mind?! Why on earth would I be bored?" I could think of nothing more exciting (not boring) than being free of the necessity of being employed. Never having been career oriented, work for me was never thrilling, always a little oppressive, and at its very best bearable. Being home equaled freedom in my eyes and one thing I knew was that freedom wasn't boring.

Those first three weeks at home I proved myself right. I had plenty to do. Clean my house like I had always wanted, run errands during business hours, read a book, sit down and get off of my nine months pregnant feet, whatever came to mind. I was not bored. I had no employer to make demands on my time and I was doing what I wanted to from moment to moment. I was not bored at all.

Though I was thoroughly enjoying myself those three weeks passed slowly, as I suppose all weeks in the ninth month of pregnancy do. I remember thinking often, if I have so much to do now and am having such a good time imagine how much better it will be when we add a baby to the mix. I couldn't wait. And when I had waited longer than I thought I could, she came. After twenty-nine hours of labor, two failed epidurals, and a superbly executed C-section, Ron was handed (my arms were numb and unable to move) the most beautiful baby we had ever seen - our daughter Afton Adele.

We loved her instantly and forever at the same time. She was glorious, looking up at us with a very put out expression on her face. Nothing was ever going to be the same. We stayed at the hospital a few days, took her home, entertained a myriad of doting family members, and had our lives spin wildly, deliriously, but very happily out of control. Then the visitors left, we got used to the idea that we were solely responsible for the care of this darling little girl, we grew in confidence, and we fell from the chaos down into a steady routine. Our lives returned to some form of normalcy, though not the normalcy we had previously known. It was a new normal, but it was normal nonetheless.

It was not long after this return to normalcy that something startling happened. I sat on my couch one day rocking Afton back in forth on my legs in a position we have come to call "leg cradle". I looked around my silent house and looked down at my beautiful daughter, whom I loved so much, but who was too young yet to respond to me in any way but to cry if I put her down and moved on to another activity. Suddenly I recognized a feeling that had been with me for a couple of days. I couldn't believe it. I was bored. How could this be? I was so disappointed to acknowledge that that ignoble slug boredom was inching its way into my heart. How could I be bored doing exactly what I had always wanted to do? Then, with that question, it clicked. It was a matter of perspective, as many things are.

In the small details of life I was no longer doing exactly what I wanted to do. I had a brand new little girl, with a brand new little soul, and I was the one God had chosen to meet her every need. Meeting a brand new little girl's every need meant a lot of the little things I wanted to do had to wait....and sometimes wait and wait. It meant sometimes pacing back and forth across a room over and over again to calm my baby. It meant an awful of leg cradle. As hard and painful as it is for this adoring mother to admit it is true. Pacing gets.....boring. Leg cradle is.....boring. Being at home alone all day with an unresponsive newborn can be.....boring.

But that is when you are looking at all the tiny, tiny pixels of the big picture. And what of the big picture itself? Ahh, in that picture, during those quiet moments of leg cradle and the many others like them, I was then, more than I ever had before, doing exactly what I had always wanted. I was raising the darling child who was born out of the love I share with a righteous and good man, the kindest and best I have ever known. Just writing that sentence infused my soul with exhilaration, which as you must know, is an opposite of boredom. And having that realization those many weeks ago had the same effect.

Sure leg cradle might not have been exactly what I wanted to do at the time, but it was exactly what I wanted to do at the time. Read that sentence again. You'll get it. It's, just like I said, a matter of perspective. So from that moment on, when the day to day tasks of caring for my daughter (who has grown into a fun and friendly three month old now) start to feel a bit dull and cumbersome, I remind myself, "Hey, this is exactly what you want to be doing!" Then I smile at the truth in that statement and carry on in joy.

On a practical note, I have also realized there is nothing wrong with catching up on a little Matlock during leg cradle. It's the little things that'll get you through the little things that make those big things you dream of possible.