Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The mother of all mothers

I've been thinking a lot recently about how relentless mothering is. Of course it has its rewards, yes, but the 24/7 nature of caring and providing is tiring. I'm sure it's the same with other types of constant care-giving as well.

You've heard me mention how much I like our new neighborhood, and one of the features of our new community is a lovely church, All Saints. This past Sunday we could not manage to get Blake to agree to get dressed to come along with me, so Noah and I went on our own. Although Blake's insistence on remaining in the house meant that Matt did not get his child-free hour to paint Blake's bedroom, I did find it nice to be at church and able to participate in the service, as opposed to going down to children's church and then having to shush Blake, watch in horror as he heads toward the altar while the vicar is trying to bless the bread and wine, or tell him to use his inside voice when he shouts out, "What's that funny smelly?" in reference to the incense (and no, that isn't a typo, for some reason it's "smelly" and not just "smell").

As well, there is so little going on in my brain at the moment (milk, sleep and diapers seem to be what I think about most) that I was able to listen to the sermon; in other times when I had a life and got more sleep, I would use that 10 or 15 minutes to make plans, do some mental filing, daydream, etc - sadly I wasn't good at focusing on the sermon for the full time. This Sunday, however, the church was celebrating the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and part of the sermon touched on the fact that Mary was a typical mother, with worries, concerns, and love for her son. I concluded that of course her situation was even more heavy-going, given that she didn't undergo the normal route to have him in the first place (at least many of us mothers had a plan in mind that involved a baby 9 months later), and then add the complicated nature of Jesus's existence into her role. I did then wonder later in the day about Jesus the infant - did he produce those same mustard-colored diapers that stain even after 3 washes? Did Joseph come home late from work to find Mary frazzled and desperate to go lie down in the hay for a rest? And Jesus the toddler, did he refuse to get dressed in the morning, or deny vehemently that the smell filling the room did not emanate from his backside? Did she break down and shout at him, "Jesus Christ!" and was it just his mother's telling off that led us to think of "Jesus Christ!" as an expletive?!

I have a feeling that the points being made on Sunday were not to make me think of Mary's role as a mother in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek way. And indeed, I couldn't help getting slightly teary during the hymn which followed, which touched on Mary's role of nurturer and carer, as I contemplated how hard and how wonderful it is to be a mother.

My final religious thought for the day occurred that evening while I was doing dishes: in that Jesus was able to turn water to wine, I wondered if he got the idea from lost and abandoned sippy cups. The ones in our house that once held juice, which left several days under a stack of coloring books and drawing paper to ferment, takes on wine-like attributes. Unfortunately that's no miracle, that's just poor housekeeping.

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