Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pondering

There are many memories.  But I’ll tell you the one I like to think of best of all.  It’s just a homely everyday thing, but to me it is the happiest of them all.  It is evening time here in the old house and the supper is cooking and the table is set for the whole family.  It hurts a mother, Laura, when the plates begin to be taken away one by one.  First there are seven and then six and then five…and on down to a single plate.  So I like to think of the table set for the whole family at supper time.  The robins are singing in the cottonwoods and the late afternoon sun is shining across the floor.  Will, your grandfather is coming in to supper…and the children are all playing out in the yard.  I can hear their voices and happy laughter. 

- A Lantern In Her Hand – Bess Streeter Aldrich

Life is a gift.  A beautiful gift.  And yet how often do I catch myself searching for greener grass.  Questioning my position, my decisions, my role in life.  Looking at others around me who are working, obtaining additional degrees, volunteering in all types of organizations, traveling the world, and feeling like I don’t quite match up.  I’m just a Mom.

I fight to find time to keep up with current events, keep on top of what is happening in the political realm, foreign affairs,  the world outside these doors.  I have often laughed with friends that I feel like my mind is becoming mush since I have endured two pregnancies and am now raising my three children.  Just last night while getting ready for bed Chris noticed a spot on my arm and asked me what it was.  “An owie.” I replied.  An owie?  Seriously?  I just had to laugh. 

I think about what I may want to do with myself when my children start school.  Will I return to the classroom?  Will I be wanted in a classroom?  Is there something else that I am to be doing instead?  Another passion that I should invest in?  Go back to school perhaps? These years can easily be seen as a time of reinventing.  It’s a wonderful opportunity, and yet completely overwhelming.  Most days I barely have time to grab a shower let alone figure out what I want to do career wise in a few years!

There are two other things I want to mention along with this.  My brain is going in a few different directions – so we’ll see what gets spilled out on this keyboard…

First of all, I don’t want to be influenced by society, or by what society thinks I should do.  I do not want to feel like I have to be a successful business woman in order to feel like a successful person.  I want to believe in my value and worth as a person no matter what I am doing.  I want to value and love myself for what I am doing right now, in these days, in the grime and grit that comes along with it.  As I prepare the meals, and clean the home, and change the diapers, and make the beds, and read the stories, and squeeze the squishy bodies of my children.  I know without a doubt that where I am right now is exactly where I need to be.  I am essential. I am valued.  I am needed. That doesn’t always make it easy or pleasant.  There are some days where I am so lonesome for my classroom.  Daily lunch with my friends.  The chance every morning to shower and actually dress in something other than blue jeans! 

However…

There are days like today where I am whopped upside the head with the realization of how fleeting this life is.  How quickly this time with my young children home with me will pass.  My daughter is going to be 18 months old at the end of this month.  I still look at her and I see my baby, but she really isn’t anymore. She runs.  She talks. She climbs.  She attempts to do everything her brothers do.  How quickly will I blink and see that my baby is a woman?

Days like today where I stopped my check off list and instead pulled out our video camera to capture the boys dancing together in the living room. 

Moments like today when I was tucking Grayson in for his nap.  He wrapped his tiny arms around my neck, pulled me down to him, whispered in my ear, “I love you Mommy!” and then planted his lips on mine.  Completely out of the blue.  Just tender, pure love.

Nights like tonight where I lingered in Adelyn’s rocking chair a little longer than I usually do.  Where her chubby little cheeked face looked in to mine, those big blue eyes sparkling, as I asked her to find things on Mommy’s face.  Mommy’s eyes.  Mommy’s ears.  Mommy’s mouth.  She smiled and giggled.  Especially upon finding Mommy’s mouth and getting her finger nibbled on.  Precious little pajama footed girl.  Tiny curls spilling out all over her little head.  Squishy, squirmy, warm little body. 

Just this afternoon I finished the book I quoted above.  A beautiful story about the life of an average woman.  A woman who started out a girl, and how quickly her life passed before her eyes.  The story took place long ago and yet I was able to find myself sharing so many similarities with the main character, Abbie. 

The book has called to mind so often my own mother, my grandmothers, and the mothers that have gone on before them.  So many of the same battles.  The same questions.  The same insecurities.  I think of my Grandma’s fragile hands before her death.  How I held those hands, caressed them, and thought about all that they had done.  Every child they had held, every meal they had prepared, every weed they had pulled, every gift they had wrapped, every hug they had given. 

How I wish in some ways that I could freeze time.  Stop it right in this moment where my children are all asleep under this same roof.  Where their problems are as small as their frames.  Where my husband is here on the couch beside me.  Healthy, young, head of dark hair, handsome, full of life and zeal at 33 years of age.  This period of time where I can call up my parents on the phone anytime I want and know that their voice will greet me on the other end.

I guess all this to say, life is complicated.  There aren’t any easy answers.  Life isn’t black and white.  There are things along the way that are going to have to be given up,  sacrifices made, dreams set aside.  But yet at the same time the gains are immeasurable.  I know this.  The past 32 years of my life have not turned out exactly as I had planned or envisioned. So many of those surprises amazing, a few hard…  I know that the future holds the same uncertainty.

When my hands are withered and worn. When my body is frail and feeble. What will my story be? What is going to matter to me then? What will I be holding on to? What memories will I cherish?

I don’t fully know.  And so I hold on today.  We plan and hope for the future.  I hold my chin high, grasp the hands of the ones I love that surround me, and head in to tomorrow.

2 comments:

  1. I would love to borrow your book. Thank you for sharing your heart, this is very inspiring.
    Lovies!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love you Beth...what a precious "daughter" you are to me. You are eloquent...you share your heart and soul in the most honest way...you are full of love...I love you Beth.

    ReplyDelete

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