Thursday, January 13, 2011

the sparkling Mother

what is it that makes a Mother?

it's waking up earlier than you want to wake up. every. single. morning. sometimes you get a cuddle in bed, but it never looks like the commercials -- all smiles and shiny hair and white duvets and eye-gazing talk (think about it... kids get morning breath, too). it's more likely a knee-to-bladder, elbow-to-eye-socket, boogers-on-twisted-sheets knot that ends with mom exploding out of bed, gasping for air and a bathroom.

it's finding poop before breakfast, egg-yolk hair during breakfast, and stuck-on breakfast after breakfast.

it's spending one hour in the grocery store finding ingredients for baked goods, one hour baking, one hour cleaning up from baking, ten minutes adding baked goods to lunch sacks in the morning, one minute removing uneaten baked goods from lunch sacks in the evening, and one hour in the gym working off the calories from those baked goods no one else would eat.

it's learning about anatomy in the most startling, unflattering ways. beginning with your own (you are spared details about the "P" word here -- ask your sister-in-law about her Pregnancy, if you must), right on down to the Circumcision question. high school biology had nothing on motherhood.

it's wrecking your back securing boots and mitts, wrecking your back skidding across icy driveways chasing airborne boots and mitts, and wrecking your back re-securing boots and mitts. and that's only winter. the rest of the year, there are umbrellas and yard toys to trip over, and mud slicks to -- you know, slick through.

it's after Bath Time, Laundry Time, Dishes Time -- finding there's no hot water left at Me Time.

it's waving good-bye to half of your social life as friends realize it's no fun having you and your kids to their place, and almost wishing you could wave good-bye to the other half, which entails keeping your kids from wrecking the places of friends who still have you over.

finally, it's receiving carnations every Mother's Day. i don't know why this happens. carnations require nurturing. we dig out the old vase, prepare a sugar solution, snip off the stem ends and arrange our carnations. we place them on the table and protect them from table-knocks and petal-pluckers. we do this until the carnations wilt, knowing that somewhere, another mother is more adept at keeping cut flowers fresh and has a newer, funkier vase that doesn't tip over to table-knocks. maybe a gift that doesn't require nurturing would be more appropriate for a mother. like aromatherapy socks. or a new vase.

for all this, and more, you will be rewarded with the sparkling title, "Mother". you will never know, until you own it, how much pressure it takes to create this kind of diamond.

but oh, it shines.

offering this roughly-hewn gem to Imperfect Prose for a chuckle and a nod.


  1. from me, you got the chuckle and emphatic nod with a sprinkling of tears on the side for good measure.

    i could add a paragraph about the nutritious, delicious meal you slaved over only to be met with massive meltdowns centring on how disgusting said meal is...before they even get to the table. *sigh* but still, i wouldn't, couldn't trade this.

  2. Oh, how I loved reading this! You captured the truth so beautifully. No hot water left was what always did me in; reduced me to tears, in fact. I'm so glad I visited here; your writing is charming.

  3. it's more likely a knee-to-bladder, elbow-to-eye-socket, boogers-on-twisted-sheets knot that ends with mom exploding out of bed, gasping for air and a bathroom.

    bethany!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is my favorite yet! oh wow. so, so good. so good. how i love you.

  4. you have cured me of ever wanting to experience motherhood.

  5. The social aspect does not define life, and is often overrated except where Christian fellowship is concerned. One's family is all that one needs. It starts with one's spouse and ends with one's spouse, typically adding some children along the way who eventually grow up, leave, and start families of their own.

    Ultimately, the family consists primarily of husband and wife. It starts with you before the children are welcomed in, and it ends with you long after they have left. If you have that one person you can confide in, trust in, share everything with, then your "social" life is full and complete. You have a life of events to share with your best friend, your spouse. Everyone outside of that will come and go, fading out of the picture more and more for whatever reasons... mostly "life" taking place.

    Christian fellowship is good, allowing us to invest in others, but our greatest investment is in and to our spouse first and our children second (not saying anything of the primary need to be invested in Christ). When we're younger, we seem to think that the social spectrum is the end-all be-all of life, but when we grow and mature we see reality. Friends come and go. Extremely close friends eventually fade to once-a-year friends. You're close with your family until everyone has their own family and moves away and the connection between you fades, too. Same with children growing and leaving, starting their own family. It all fades eventually. The only constant in one's life, apart from Christ, is one's spouse (until they're taken home). Cherish them, honour them, treat them as they ought to be treated. Love them, look out for them, forgive them, apologize to them, cherish the little moments with each other and make memories that will last a life time. When you're old and gray, sitting on that front porch holding each other's hand, you'll be able to reflect on those memories and smile, having an infinitely greater love for each other than when you first began.

    Marriage is a partnership of love, and loving another person requires hard work. It is work that you are never allowed a vacation from. Same is true about being a decent parent. You can never "clock out" on your children.

    People instinctively think that unmarried or childless individuals know absolutely nothing, but fail to check the source and weigh the words. If the source is God and His Word, the weight of the wisdom of those words is true regardless of their "experience." Singleness is about preparation. If you can't prepare for marriage or parenthood, then the concept of singleness being about preparation is flawed. You can prepare your heart for ALL circumstances so that you act right and respond right IF and WHEN such circumstances ever come up in your own life. Months and years before you ever get married, you can prepare your heart as to how you will react and respond if 8 minutes, 8 days, 8 months, or 8 years after you are married God takes your spouse away from you. Months and years before you ever have a child, you can prepare your heart as to how you will react and respond if 8 minutes, 8 days, 8 months, or 8 years after that child is born God takes it away from you. Remember, Noah built the ark and had no experience. Professionals with much experience built the Titanic.

    "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). The same principle applies with words from the unmarried and childless. Find out where the heart is and what the source is. Truth and wisdom are true and wise regardless of whether a married parent speaks them or a childless single speaks them.

  6. Oh! Great entry, by the way, Bethany. Makes me consider all the things I see father's experience (the knee to the groin when the child jumps in your lap, the head-butt to the nose, the pounce on the stomach when you're least expecting it, etc.). I have great and eager anxieties with regard to being married and having children, yet am filled with great fear, too. I know the kind of husband/father I want to be, and strive daily to put such practices into place, yet still fear falling short and failing. It is a plethora of mixed emotion.

    God willing, I shall be able to go to Peru this April so that I can propose to Maria. It will be 5 1/2 years of getting to know each other at that point. Although the wait has been long and difficult (probably more so on her), I have constantly told her that perhaps the reason God has not brought us together sooner is because there are preparations He is working in both of us to grow us and make us ready. I think she finally understands what I have been saying because only recently she told me that if I had come earlier, she doesn't think she would have been as sure as she is now. Like Isaac and Rebecca who never met, and like Jacob and Rachel who had to wait, such is the relationship Maria and I have shared, walking toward marriage by faith in God.

    Love is not an emotion, it is a decision and a decision can last a lifetime. God did not feel like loving us, He chose to love us. When Paul tells husbands to "love their wives," the Greek word there means to love her in spite of whether or not she deserves that love. That is the same love that God shows us.

    Anyone who knows me well knows that I am passionate about love and marriage. In Bible college, my speech was on marriage: The Three-fold Cord. 90% of the class, being ignorant, back-bit about me and said I only spoke on it to "try and get a wife" (despite 99% of them being 10 years younger than me, which I have no interest in). One couple split because of my speech and thanked me in person because of the words I had to share. Another friend took them to heart and applied them to his life for when he got a girlfriend (he is now happily married). Those who missed what I was saying because they thought it was "cooler" to accuse me of nonsense will inevitably become part of statistics for divorce because they know NOTHING about marriage and did not prepare themselves beforehand for it. For a logical and scholarly dealing with the subject, please see this link: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

    I sent a copy of this entry to Maria for her to read. Thanks for sharing it, Bethany. God bless, my sister in Christ!

  7. so i got you the right Christmas present?!?! YAY!!! :)
    Beh, i really love what you wrote there. it's really wonderful and makes me really proud to be yo sista. loveyoo!

  8. WOW!!!! Oh how I have experienced all of this!! I wouldn't change it for the world! I agree with the 1st comment about making a healthy meal only to have it stay on your childs plate completely untouched!! I think this is one of your best yet!! I'm going to have to share this! Thank you! I love you!