The next 24

March 25, 2011

Here I am again: that period before a project (party) is complete wherein I doubt everything. Why did I think this was all a good idea?

Oh yes, to please my little boy. Even if not everything comes together, I think he’ll be pleased. I’ve been busy lately, stay tuned for the results!



March 16, 2011

Made it one more day without being stabbed in the back.

Score:  ME: 33, Ides of March, 0.  Take that, Caesar.

Love, after all these years

March 15, 2011

Tonight Paul is playing soccer with some of the guys from church. He’s been trying to get this going for weeks and is so excited that it’s finally going to happen. Since one of the guys with whom he’ll be playing has a son in Boy Blue’s sunbeam class, and we want to get to know them better (but don’t know them very well now) I asked him to please explain about the upcoming birthday party so they’ll know what’s going on when the postcard invite arrives instead of toss it with the junk mail.

Then I found the stamped, unmailed postcard in my purse. “Oh look! I still have it. Why don’t you just give it to him tonight?”

“No,” Paul said. “I’d better not. You know how husbands are.”

I love that man! He totally gets it!

So I convinced him to mail it on his way out, secretly happy that I wasn’t wasting that 28 cent stamp.

Do you know where the postcard is? Still on the sideboard.

Because, well … you know how husbands are.

With Regard To Talent

March 4, 2011

I believe that the talents with which we have been given are not the ones that immediately come to mind. I believe that the outward, obvious examples of talents are not themselves talents, but expressions of what we have done with the talents with which we have been blessed.  I believe that the world is not seasoned by a select few people with talent.  I believe that we have completely misunderstood what is meant by a talent, and what it means when a person is particularly successful in one venue or another.

When people refer to my ability to play the piano as a talent they are sorely mistaken. They disregard the hours, days, years of my life I have spent on the bench. They neglect the struggle it was for me to master an instrument bigger than myself. They slight my efforts to convey strong emotions without drowning in them. They negate the lifetime to which I have dedicated myself to my music, and the gallons of tears I have shed when I fell short. I’ll be honest, it’s a little insulting.

When people make reference to my “musical talent” they also write themselves out. They let themselves off the hook, and try to pass it off as though they just haven’t been blessed with the same talent. They assuage their own envy by saying it wouldn’t have been possible for them to achieve the same thing, since they have not been so blessed with that specific talent.

It is true that I have been blessed with talent. It’s just that I haven’t been blessed with the specific talent to play the piano. I was blessed with the opportunity to play the piano. I was blessed with a proclivity toward music. I was blessed with a supportive family. I was blessed to have some really spectacular teachers (to whom I wish I had paid much more attention.)

Talents are not allocated so specifically. The Lord did not dole out a certain number of pianists, a certain number of orators, a certain number of surgeons. The talents He generously distributed are much broader, allowing us to use our own resources and personalities to create something beautiful out of ourselves. As for me, the talent with which I have been blessed is not piano, or even music. It is perserverance. And it is through perserverance that I’ve been able to do so much. We each have the talents we need to make our life’s work, our masterpieces, ourselves.  It is for that I am eternally grateful.

Preschool: P

March 2, 2011

P is for puzzle

As the children entered I had age-appropriate puzzles laid out for them.  I expected us to play for 15-20 minutes.  We played puzzles for more than 30 minutes and they wanted to do them again at the end!  Those with previous puzzle experience happily plugged away and those for whom is was very new enjoyed the challenge.

Reading Time (P is for Pop and Pumpkin and Pebble and Pizza)
but I didn’t have time to read all the “p” books I had on the shelf

“Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss
“The Littlest Pumpkin” by R. A. Herman, ill. by Betina Ogden
“Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins” by Dianne Ochiltree, ill. byAnne-Sophie Lanquetin
“Pizza Counting” by Christina Dobson, ill. by Matthew Holmes
“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” by William Steig
“ABC” by Dr. Seuss

P is for Paint

Using oversized paper the children painted masterpieces.  I think they loved the freedom, no longer confined to a small 8 1/2 x 11.

P is for Pear and Pineapple and Popcorn and Peanuts

No food allergies in the group so we feasted on “p”-only foods.  It was a pretty balanced spread for a themed snack, if I do say so myself.

In a word, today was perfect.  And I didn’t even have time for Piano time, or the Peacock craft I had planned.  We didn’t even have time for Playdoh.

The Errand of Angels is Given to Women

March 1, 2011

In more primitive cultures women were available to communally support each other.  They worked side by side, raising their children and sharing their lives.  These days we are considerably more isolated.  We’re so fiercely independent and we’ve accomplished so much good — it’s a very empowering time to be a woman.  We have so much going on!  But I worry that with all our gains we have lost the best part about being a woman: the sisterhood of women.

Particularly during our most primal moments (here’s looking at you, childbirth) we need each other.  We need to know that we aren’t alone, that others have done it, and that we will be fine.  There’s a very tangible comfort that comes from communing with an empathic woman, it’s a comfort and a bond that no man can replicate.  It is beautiful and it is powerful.

Unfortunately, just as fear governs so much else in our lives, fear is what keeps us from this astounding gift.  We are so afraid: afraid of being wrong, afraid of not being strong enough, afraid that we don’t know how to do what it is we were born to do … We are afraid of the judgements not from the others, but that we create within our own insecurities and project as coming from others.  We are too afraid to ask for help, and too afraid to offer help.

But guess what, ladies?  Childbirth, nursing babies, raising children, dealing with death, these are all part of the natural course of things but they are things we simply cannot do alone.  Yes, they are natural, but they are not intuitive.  We need to learn how to do it, and in the case of breastfeeding, we then have to teach the baby how to do it.  Without proper guidance we are doomed to finally give up, throwing our hands in the air and citing a lengthy list of why nature has failed us.  The truth is, we have failed nature.  We need an army of women surrounding us, supporting us, and teaching us.  Nursing may be nature’s preferred method for feeding young, but young humans don’t come out knowing how to latch perfectly and human mothers need to be taught first and foremost what makes a good latch (and how to achieve it, and how to read the baby’s signals, and how to identify a clogged duct, and fix it before the need of antibiotics, and why you don’t need nipple cream, and that you really do need to get that much rest and drink that much water, … I could go on.)

The change from being a carefree woman to being a mother is huge.  Priorities need to change, perspective is skewed, dreams put on hold, new dreams created … it’s a big job.  Gestation does a good job in laying the foundation but I truly believe that the process of labour plays an equally important part in changing us.  You are not the same person after something like that, which is good because the old you isn’t equipped to handle your new responsibilities and emotions.  Yes, labour hurts (it is called labour after all) but we would do well to accept it as temporary and life-altering instead of worrying so much about how to avoid it.  The pain is eased and the time well-passed when in the company of an experienced and supportive woman.

As for childrearing and mourning the dead, I don’t think I need to belabour the point that those are made easier with good friends.

This is the epitome of feminism: together we are all-powerful.  With all the austerity of success and the sterility of science we’ve lost the power that propagated our species for centuries.  I say not only can we have both the modern and the necessary, but that we must.  Without each other, we are lost.  Without each other we are nothing.  For all we can do for ourselves, for all men can do for us, there are some things that we can only gain from the fellowship of other women.  Reach out, sisters, you don’t know who needs it.  It might even be you.