Sunday, November 1, 2009


November 1, All Saints Day.

For all the saints who from their labours rest
Who thee, by faith, before the world confessed
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed,
Allelujah, Allelujah

I can't help it - as soon as I hear "All Saints Day", I hear that hymn in my head, a relic of childhood. Sometimes I think every memory I have from birth to 20 years was molded by my church life.

And since? Well, it's a little different. Perhaps every memory since is molded by my reaction to church. And I'm not sorry for that, either the first twenty or the second (almost) twenty. Sometimes I'm wistful on behalf of my children, who haven't grown up terrified by an immanent Rapture, frantically learning Bible verses to keep sin at bay lest the Day come and they be Left Behind. It was certainly high on the anxiety scale, but boy, it added all these layers of meaning and complexity to my life and my understanding. But Poppy and Patch will have their own layers, I suppose.

Parenting is a tricky business. Stupidly, I allowed the first thing I read this morning to be a local online magazine on birthing issues and attachment parenting. I tell you, there's nothing that makes me feel more incompetent, insufficient, oafish, and insensitive than those kinds of articles. All the Granola Mamas, preaching the gospel of slings and quiet voices and contemplative parenting... who ARE these people? Here am I, the outspoken, loud-spoken, bellowing at my kids as they bellow back at me, who longs for a chance to be truly alone, figuring that my kids are usually left best to their own devices (and me to mine, hint-hint), hugging, rassling, cooking, running a little business that does NOT include my children, eagerly waiting the day when they take up on their own and leave me a little more space, hoping that they'll be okay, secretly longing to make quilts for grandchildren... I love my kids, and I'm on the last lap of parenting, and I've got all these plans for when I grow up. Where's a voice like that in those magazines? They don't publish them. Surely I'm not the only one picking and choosing the best bits out of the granola. (Give me the nuts...)

Do you know what I'm saying? I'm not sure I do. I can't live up to it, whatever it is. It's just as much an illusion as the Real Simple magazine. It's not real. I choose this, I choose that, I choose on the spur of the moment, and I choose it all! I choose to keep them home, and I choose to keep planning for the day when they leave and this chapter is done. And I'm not going to apologize for that.... no more fundamentalism, not for God, not for Granola. It's not all one way or the other.

Ask and ye shall recieve. I'm asking! I don't know what I'm asking for, or who I'm asking, but I've decided that I'm going to live life with my hands out, waiting for the windfalls of providence. Don't know how I'm going to get my homework done, or the motivation therefor? I'm asking. Don't think I've got enough customers to cover expenses? I'm asking. Too tired to work? Asking for enthusiasm and energy. Body in pain and falling apart? I'm asking for repairs. Find myself hating everything and everyone? I'm asking for an open heart. I'll ask for anything. Everything. Even if it doesn't make sense, and I'm asking madly off in all directions. Somehow it'll all come together, like the picture in a kaleidescope.

Er... that's all. Got a little carried away, but I think I'm done now.


CG said...

So wonderful to hear that VOICE!

Madcap said...

Good morning, CG! A little rusty, I fear... lots of ahem-ahem and false starts, but I'll try to keep it rolling.

Deb said...

I used to participate in an online message board devoted to "natural family living". While I learned a lot, I was annoyed at how self righteous many of these crunchy mamas were, and how intolerant these supposedly open minded people were of those who did not make the same choices. I yell frequently, and my kids aren't suffering from it!