Monday, February 20, 2012

Just Writing for my Valentine

It's ten o'clock already and I should go to bed, not write, but these thoughts have been sitting ohso patiently on the shelf in my mind for days now and I don't want them to get bored and just walk off away and never get said. Sleep is over-rated anyway. It's just another one of those things we mothers do and do and never finished or get enough of.

We went to see Romeo and Juliet for Valentines Day. It was beautiful. And magical. And this time, sad. We've seen that play four times in our nearly-eleven-years of marriage and every time I see it differently.

As a newly-wed, on our honeymoon, it was a tale of ultimate passion, ultimate sacrifice. The noble lovers giving all for their love. And how like new love that is. It's a fierce fire, consuming the lovers, all rational thought burned away in the heat of desire and the certainty of choice. It seemed very right to me at the time that each should take their own life-- for me too, life without my lover seemed impossible to comprehend. It ought not be allowed to exist. Death would be preferable.

This year, knee-deep into my marriage, this beautiful adventure, I saw something different. I could see more clearly the dangerous and fleeting nature of that consuming fire. My eyes are no longer blind and I could see those little follies lovers so oft commit. The passion seems now a little hollow-- lacking knowledge. The fire burns more than it warms or lights, lacking the proper density of fuel. Early love burns like paper-- so quick to light, so hot-burning and yet so impermanent. Theirs was a showy, surface love-- all leaf and flower and no root. All passion and no knowledge, no experience, no story written yet. So unworthy of the sacrifice they made for it.

Give me instead this love I have here. Slow-burning, hot, and steady. It fills our house with warmth and light. It's been fueled by eleven long years of self-sacrifice, patience, commitment and knowledge. I love you know because I know you. I love you because I have grafted myself into you through these years. I have nestled deep into the core of you and we have taken root together and grown into a living alloy. And the middle-years of the fire we started so long ago are so warm and beautiful to me.

check out the other bloggers just writing with Heather...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just Writing.. A Valentine for my favorite Super Hero

I love it when he pauses for a moment in his mad rush out the door, looks back at me and comes long-legged loping back for a quick kiss and an "I love you, Mom...." Then he's off again, signing i-love-you with his fingers over the back of his shoulder as he blasts off across the pool deck.

Oh, Iron Man, my heart belongs to you... 

Or at least this four-almost-five-year-old reincarnation of you. I doubt these off-handed declarations of devotion will last too many more years. I know already how quickly come the days of hard-headed independence, the determination not to be mothered that covers over a deep need for just that. The silent tears of frustrated rage hidden behind a curtain of hair and smothered by a surreptitiously sucked index finger. Oh how my heart aches over that one sometimes. I can see little glimpses of who she'll be one day, and my heart is glad, but the getting there is soso hard sometimes.

Not that Iron Man and I don't have our moments. Moments of accusatory rage, "Mo-ooom, you're not LISTENING to me!" Moments of complete exasperation and impatience on my part as he takes up so much of my mind space with his slow questions, interminable explanations and elaborate and never-ending stories...

But there are these snapshots, this long-legged lope, those quick pecks and that thumb-and-fingers-over-the-shoulder. They steal my heart away...

Iron Man, I'm yours forever...

Just Writing, with Heather of the EO and lots of other lovely bloggers...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Building Cathedrals

There were three stonemasons, working in a stoneyard, cutting rough rock into square blocks. When asked what they were doing by a passerby, the first stonemason responded, "Cutting this stone into blocks."

The second stonemason replied, "Working, to make a living."

The third lifted his eyes toward the horizon. "I am building a Cathedral for the Glory of God, " he said.

I've heard that story before. I imagine many of you have, too. But when our pastor told it this morning after a sermon on vocation, work and doing whatever we do to the Glory of God, I heard it with new ears. Ears that had recently also heard the words of some girlfriends as we reminded one another that Motherhood is not just something we kinda do because we have children and someone's got to do it.

It's our vocation. Our career. Our Calling.

It's a good thing to remember, as we bathe and feed, admonish and correct, love and kiss on and clean up after these precious little nuisances, that we are literally raising up temples, the dwelling places of God's Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” 

Our noisy, messy squabbling children, while it may not seem much like it in the moment, are living temples. Lord willing, they will one day be an actual repository of the Spirit of God.

This is a significant realization for me. It sheds a slightly different angle of light on the mundane daily tasks involved in keeping them alive and relatively healthy. I am as much engaged in building a lasting monument to the Glory of God by caring for my children as if I were in fact painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My children's children's children will continue the line that my mother's mother began decades ago, just as surely as artist, stonemason, carpenter and monk have contributed their handiwork since 1473 to contribute to the beauty and majesty that defines the Sistine Chapel today.

I pray that as we wipe noses, mop up chins and diaper bottoms, we mothers can keep our eyes on the horizon and say by faith,

"I am building a Cathedral for the Glory of God."

Friday, February 10, 2012

I live at the O.K. Corral

Getting the boys dressed in the morning has become a Ultimate Fighting Championship Event. The diaper changing, shirt putting-on and shoe-ing is punctuated with fisticuffs, gunfights and jousting.

One might ask, justifiably, if perhaps letting a nearly-five-year-old engage in fisticuffs with his baby brother might be a wee tad bit un-even of a fight. One would be wrong in this case. James is... scrappy. Very scrappy. He gives just about as good as he gets-- despite the fact that he's half Judah's size and weight.

He also has the advantage that he makes Jude nearly helpless with laughter. It's really hard to maintain the necessary Superhero-esque focus when a pint-sized fury is running at your knees, screaming "Waaaaargharg!!!!" Judah giggles uncontrollably as James takes him to the floor and pummels his stomach with both tiny fists.

They both love it. They revel in it. The testosterone is almost visible.

But this morning I think perhaps some guidance from an older, wiser and more chivalrous testosterone-producer may be in order after hearing this:

"Here Jamie, I'll be right back. You just shoot Mama instead for a few minutes till I get back."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

While you were in there...

Today, during assorted trips to the bathroom on my part, Jamie has;

1) Climbed up on the dining room table and found both a not-quite-empty milk cup and the sugar bowl.

2) Gotten out the front door and into the yard.

3) Emptied my entire collection of safety pins out onto the bedroom floor.

3) Dragged a tissue box out of the van into the flower bed and proceeded to tear the tissues into a million tiny, buoyant pieces.

I may not be able to pee again till he's five.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just Writing

Children want all of you. They will accept no substitutes. There are some days where, retreating from their constant neediness in mental and emotional exhaustion, I find myself hiding behind snacks, movies, trips to the park and library-- the wall of distractions I've erected to try to preserve some last vestige of Self before they suck me dry. And as the day devolves into whining and crying and clutching at my legs as I try to cook dinner, swatting bottoms in a vain attempt to re-establish some sort of adult-driven hierarchy, at some point I finally realize that what they want is Me.


Just, myself. My eyes looking into their eyes. My voice talking to them. Quietly. Not directing, not advising, not teaching-- just talking To. Them.

Or maybe not-talking. Maybe they want my ears, open, listening. Letting their words sink all the way into my mind. Sitting still, just watching them play and listening. Being there. All the way there. Only there. Only for them.

Not busy, not working, not managing, not training.

Sitting. Listening. Watching.

They just want me. All of me.

And when I can realize that soon enough in the evening, I can stop doing and sit. I can listen, watch and be. Then a peace comes slowly wafting into the house... A smell of babies' heads and sweaty little boys. A sound of leggos clicking into place and cars brrrruuuming along a track. An easy breath, a relaxing sigh. And suddenly, magically, because of the giving, like a re-living of the Loaves and the Fishes, there's suddenly enough Me to go around.

and then there are days like today where i only realize the tight-fisted holding onto myself in the silence of a a sleeping house and ohmyheart i thank God for another day, another chance, another test-- to get it right this time, please God.

Just Writing, with Heather of the EO and lots of other lovely bloggers...