Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” (from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)
What your figure will be January 12, 2012
“What your figure will be, goodness knows,” Ma warned her. “When I was married, your Pa could span my waist with his two hands.”
“He can’t now,” Laura answered, a little saucily. “And he seems to like you.” (from Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
This one made me smile. I’m glad my husband still seems to like me despite my greatly increased waistline. The bigger challenge for me is to still like myself (I mean, my physical self). It’s hard at times to accept a body that changes, even harder at a time when the public ideal is either skeletal thinness or body builder type muscle. It leaves the rest of us working incredibly hard to maintain something that at least looks okay when fully clothed.
I remember going to a museum a few years ago and seeing plaster castes of Renaissance era Greek statues–beautiful nudes of full-figured women lounging or standing. I couldn’t see any of their ribs, nor did a single one have defined abdominal muscles, but they were beautiful. At the time they were sculpted, they were the ideal of womanly beauty. In fact, many of them were the artists’ depictions of goddesses. It occurred to me then that the modern ideal of womanly beauty would look almost grotesque on a sculpture of that style. But that doesn’t keep me from yearning for a thinner, leaner figure.
I struggle to see the beauty in what my body has become–a heck of a lot closer to a Greek statue woman than a modern swimsuit model. I read a question the other day that made me laugh and sigh: If you could go back to your childhood or teenage years what is one thing you would do? My answer: I would wear shorts every warm day and appreciate my darling, thin, gorgeous legs. But I actually can’t go back to the summers when I had darling legs and wasted them, so what do I do with where I am now?
I take an honest look and force myself to be appreciative. My body has been good to me. It has done some incredible work. It grew up. It carried a baby (quite a good-sized one) and endured surgery to give him a safe entrance into the world. It provided his nourishment for the better part of his first two years. Now it is carrying another baby. It will endure another surgery in a few months. It is nurturing and growing an entire human who is growing at a remarkable rate. Once again it will produce milk to sustain the life of my child. My body is tired, but it keeps on giving to the baby. It is preparing for the next phase even as it does the good work of the phase we are in. It has a scar. It has more padding than it used to. But it’s a good body. It’s the body of a woman, not the body of a child. I’m actually pretty proud of it…even if I can’t wear shorts with much confidence anymore.
(Seriously, if you are sixteen years old, WEAR SHORTS every day that is warm enough!!!)
Grown-ups never understand January 10, 2012
Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them. (from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
I didn’t understand that being the best mom possible would mean learning the truth that there is no such thing as a perfect mom.
I didn’t understand that it wouldn’t be my job to teach him patience; it would be my job to learn it by being his mom.
I didn’t understand that trains are more important than schedules, that dinosaurs will never be extinct in the minds of little boys, or that bacon is the real magic word.
I didn’t understand that the first tucking-in doesn’t always take. I didn’t know that sometimes you just have to say goodnight five more times with kisses and prayers.
It seems I rarely understand anything for myself and Benjamin is always and forever explaining things to me.
Untangled January 3, 2012
Laura’s thoughts untangled from their ugly snarls and became smooth and peaceful. She thought, “I will be good. It doesn’t matter how hateful Nellie Oleson is, I will be good.” (from Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
This has been such a struggle for me lately–untangling my thoughts from their ugly snarls when other people are misbehaving. It is hard. My sister is going through a really hard time with a person who is just making her life more and more miserable with every interaction. For me, to find it in my heart to forgive the person who hurts my loved ones is so much harder than forgiving the person who hurts me.
But as much as I despise this person (and I really, really do), I hate more the way it feels to be filled with hatred. I want my thoughts to smooth out, to untangle and be peaceful and calm. It was hard for Laura Ingalls and it’s hard for me–it’s probably hard for everybody–but I will decide to think about things that are uplifting, pure, noble, and good no matter what others may do or say.
That was Santa Claus December 21, 2011
Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus. (from On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
The Most Beautiful Place December 15, 2011
Where you love somebody a whole lot, and you know that person loves you, that’s the most beautiful place in the world. (from The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron)
My husband went out of town for three days, which nearly did me in (I really don’t know how military spouses handle the separation). He returned yesterday afternoon to a messy house but a happy family. I wish I could have had the house clean and glowing and smelling of freshly baked cookies when he walked in. I wish I had been dressed up and with nothing more on my schedule for the day. But we were in survival mode, so his homecoming just was what it was. Our house in its normal state of disarray and love.
This morning, our son woke up at five o’clock and wanted to come to our bed. And as I lay there, listening to both my husband and my son breathing deeply in their sleep and feeling the baby kick and roll, I couldn’t help but think this is the most beautiful place in the world.
Better December 6, 2011
“Every Christmas is better than the Christmas before,” Laura thought. “I guess it must be because I’m growing up.” (from By The Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
When I was a child, Christmas was looking forward to early release from school, going to Mumsie and Pops’s house an hour and a half away, and spending the week in the coziness that was their home. We would help Mumsie bake and she would let us eat the extra pie crust, lick the icing beaters, and other sweet priveleges. Pops would joke that he was going to try to catch Santa coming down the chimney. Christmas Eve, we would hear my dad read the Christmas story from the book of Luke, then open our gifts from each other. Then the four cousins would head upstairs to bed while the grown-ups stayed up making merry sounds we could hear below. All night long, my cousin Adam would wake us up each hour to tell us how many hours we had left until morning. When we woke up, we would gather on the stairs for a sleepy, messy-haired picture before heading down to see what Santa left in and around our stockings. Afterward we would have an amazing breakfast prepared by our dads and everyone would spend the day just enjoying each other and eating leftovers, sneaking out to the porch to raid the pie table pretty regularly. I probably couldn’t have imagined anything better.
But now…oh my word. Now I have a sweet boy. My son, who hangs all of the Christmas ornaments on the lowest branch of the tree…who begs and pleads with big blue eyes for one more cookie, and then one more…who loves to sing the “rum-pa-pum-pum” part of The Little Drummer Boy…who asked me if he could have a Christmas pinata (???)…who wants to pray for not only our family members and their dogs each night, but also the drummers in the Christmas parade…who finds delight in absolutely everything…who today said to me, “I want to watch Charlie Brown while I snuggle wif you, mama.”
Maybe the only thing better than being a child at Christmas is having a child at Christmas time. We are having so much fun. It just gets better and better.
One little seam after another November 30, 2011
It’s just one little seam after another and you never seem to be getting anywhere. But of course I’d rather be Anne of Green Gables sewing patchwork than Anne of any other place with nothing to do but play. (from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)
I am, once again, infected by dangerously high piles of laundry. It’s gotten so bad that I can no longer ignore it. We went camping a week and a half ago and I just put the laundry from that trip in the washing machine. That’s how behind I am. We went to Ft. Worth for a wedding three weeks ago and the dresses I took and didn’t wear are still hanging in the garment bag I packed them in. I really don’t know how I let it get this bad except that I honestly never knew a person could feel this tired. The next person who asks me to do anything, be they child or adult, can expect to see some tears. I am completely overwhelmed. And while I am working my way through the laundry piles, I can hear the children making toy piles elsewhere in the house. So piles are everywhere and it seems I never get anywhere.
But, Anne of Green Gables is a good reminder for me today. I would still rather be Kristi of this home and this family with piles of work and a baby in my womb sapping my energy than Kristi of any other place with nothing to do and no one to need me.
Plus my husband just brought me a Dr. Pepper (God bless that man) and I just successfully bribed my two-year-old with a caramel apple sucker so he is picking up the toy pile.
Now and then November 23, 2011
One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live for ever and ever and ever. (from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett)
When my son is snuggled up with his soft, blonde head on my chest, breathing in and out in that deep infant-like sleep, I am quite sure.
When I can rest my head on the strong shoulder of my husband at the end of a difficult day and know that he knows me, that he knows where the knots in my back are to massage away, which kind of humor will cheer me, where to get the right french fries, I am quite sure.
When I walk outside and hear the fall leaves rustle across the lawn, still green beneath their golden hues, and feel the fresh air on my face and breathe in the scent of dozens of homes preparing for a holiday feast, i am quite sure.
When I think of the baby growing in my womb, the miracle that is the formation of fingerprints and eyelids and organs that will serve him all his life, and when I consider the wonder that I was formed the same way, I am quite sure.
One of the strange things about living in the world is that one sees so many temporal things. All things within my vision will change. It is hard to often remember that I will outlive it all. I believe the world in its glory will pass away like a season, and yet I shall live for ever and ever and ever.
A habit October 19, 2011
“You’ve tackled every job that ever came your way,” Pa said. “You never shirked, and you always stuck to it till you did what you set out to do. Success gets to be a habit, like anything else a fellow keeps on doing.” (from These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder)