Sunday, August 02, 2009

For The Laundry's Sake...

...we are killed all the day long (Rom. 8:36, loosely translated). Ok, not killed. Merely persecuted.

Gi-gi arrived today, the first time in about a year. I couldn't hold her back any longer. :)

Many, many loads of laundry have been washed and hung out, even folded and put away (I did help a lot with this, just not the packing laundry in and out).

But it comes with a price.

Gi-gi: "Haven't you cut their hair yet? [to the girls:] I thought you were going to cut your hair."
Me: "I gave them a 3-day 'cooling-off' period and they decided against it."
Gi-gi: "Well, next time you come to visit I'll just take them and..."
"It would be so much easier to take care of..."
"It would help your Mama so much..."
"It would be so much cooler."
"They look like little waifs."
"Wait till they're 15 when they can french braid their own hair, then they can grow it out if they want."

Have I blogged yet about the permanent scars left on my psyche by unwanted trips to the hairdresser's as a young child? How I couldn't have braids or pony tails or cute barrettes like the other girls? No? I thought not. Those wounds are still deep.

I'm not going to force my kids to cut their hair. It's a complex I have.

Gi-gi: "How often do homeschoolers have to be assessed by the state?"
Me: "Thankfully, never."
Gi-gi: "What??!?"
Me: "Not all states are the same, but fortunately we enjoy a lot of freedom here."
Gi-gi: "Well, I don't know that I'd call it fortunate! There's a lot of parents completely unqualified to teach their children.."
Me: "Read the stats, Gram. Parents with high-school educations or less are still turning out homeschooled children who far exceed anything the public school system is doing."
Gi-gi: "A lot of people homeschool just because it's easier than getting up and walking their kids to the bus stop."
Me: nearly speechless.

Yes, she really said that.

Gi-gi, totally shifting her position: "Some people I know tried it out and decided there's no way they could hack it."
Me: "Really? Who?"
Gi-gi, scrambling a bit: "Uh... a mother I was talking to at a mother's group [I'm sure she frequents these gatherings], she tried it and decided 'no way!'"
Me: "Well, everyone has their own reasons for doing it or not."

Some people "can't hack" parenthood either, and for them there is public school and after-school activities and clubs and ipods and in-the-kids-room internet and video gaming and summer camp and daycare and family vacations where the kids have separate everything. So I somehow shouldn't expect to parent, either, because others can't hack it?

Gi-gi: "I was talking to [someone or other] and telling them that I have a granddaughter who homeschools and gets pregnant every other year and..."
Me: "I don't get pregnant every other year." [the first gaps are 2 yrs, 8 months, and 3 yrs, 4 months. This last one, notsomuch.]
Gi-gi: "I figure you're 31, and probably have 15 fertile years left, and by then you'll have 10 kids!"
Me, unable to resist: "You counted wrong, Gram. In 15 years at your rate, I could have at least SEVEN more, and that would make ELEVEN total."
Gi-gi: [diatribe on how many women in her parish had Down's babies after age 40].


So here I am, venting about the complications of my life these days on my "aspiring to simplicity" blog. Shame on me.

I have 6 days left until this baby is due. The laundry was in dire need, as are other areas. Gi-gi came to help, and help she certainly does. But at what price? And I don't mean the anecdotes above. I mean, I want to be an example of how this CAN be done. That I'm not some poor, overworked housewife who can't handle the tasks at her hand, and yet that's the very image I'm sure I portray. And the very image Gi-gi will portray to her friends and compatriots when she leaves on Tuesday. And I hate that I bear witness to that prevalent perception. That is costly.

I know it's not a sin to need. To need help, or to accept it. Once upon a time families and communities came together for people who "couldn't do it" for a while. And not with an attitude of pity or complaint, but to love and serve and hold each other up, joyfully (or so I imagine it). But now is not a time like that, and they'd be the first to point out that I shouldn't try to live that way when it's not like that anymore. But I want her (and those she talks to!) to know how truly blessed I am. That yes, this week I am overwhelmed. Organique was fevered for a couple days (and made more laundry with her throwing-up). One is still wetting the bed with some regularity, and without proper precautions (an absorbent, waterproof pad) might require an entire bed to be stripped and washed (and might not tell me about this until 10 pm the next night). I'm so slow, so ill-inclined to bend over any more to retrieve whatever has found it's way to the floor. Overwhelmed? For sure. Tired and sore, even. But does it matter that I am happy? That I see eternity when I look into three (almost four!) pairs of eyes in the morning (I see eternity when I look into the laundry area too, but of a different sort...). Some people never have this. And others decide one pair, or two, is enough for them. And they will never know what might have been waiting in the wings. Or maybe not. Maybe they felt Divine Certainty that They Were Done. Me, I haven't felt that yet.

And I'm tired of being the shining example of why people *should* feel that, and long before #4 is impending.

I want to be the shining example of glorious, thankful, blessed motherhood. I don't need a perfectly clean house, but comfortably clean would be nice. To be able to answer something positive, when someone asks me how I'm doing (and I'm 9 months pregnant and it's 100 degrees).

Maybe God has a higher purpose (I mean, other than teaching me patience and dealing with pride)? Maybe He wants everyone to see me at *this* point, so later, when He's gotten me all put together (please, God?), I will be that shining testimony?


MamaJ said...

You are a shining example of God working out His perfect will in us through self-sacrifice and serving others! Isn't that the essence of Motherhood? Don't worry, my Mom just told me "as soon as you wean the baby, you better get on birth control!" I laughed and chose to ignore her comment completely.

Anonymous said...

You are a true testimony to me. I read here and see you as a great mom and wife, even if the laundry or whatever isn’t done :) It encourages me to raise a family and have some wonderful mayhem of my own.

susan @ heartpondering said...

Love this post, all of it. I'm only 39 wks pregnant (and w/ my 3rd, not 4th, though we hope for more)... and feel overwhelmed too. Actually just blogged about it yesterday at:
I love your desire to be a reality that is different than the harried, overwhelmed mom of numerous children - and do it well. I'm the same. While I don't judge moms who have 1 or 2 kids, I do think there's such a loss to society and even Christendom when large(r) families become so unusual and almost feared. And I love your point about the "yes, overwhelmed, but just for a time - and for such a worth-it cause that is eternity-long."
Preach it sista ;)
And good luck with your birth. Look forward to reading the details.

PS. Totally agree with you on all the political stuff too - way to include such a lengthy post on the bill below.

Benny said...

I didn't see this when you first posted it. Not sure how I missed it. But I totally agree and feel the same way. I want to shine for the world and let them see how blessed I feel, even through the tougher moments or days! And somehow, and I'm not sure if it's just my imagination or if others do think these things, but I often feel like people are watching us moms of bigger families just looking for reasons to confirm their suspicions that we are indeed over our heads, just as they think we should be with so many kids.

And I know too your feeling of not feeling like your family is complete, even though by the world's standards you're already past the quota. I do hope that when we are done having children that God will give my heart that sense of completion and closure. But so far, I haven't been able to look at my family and know that we are done. How can you really feel "too blessed" to want more? I don't know. I'm not there yet.