Monday, September 15, 2008

Martyrdom Is Not for Wimps

My sister gifted me with a pillow embroidered with the words, "Motherhood Is Not for Wimps."
And, I might add, neither is martyrdom.
Lest anyone think I am a saint (anyone? anyone?), let me assure you that I do my fair share of foot-stomping, whining, and all-out boo-hooing when life seems to be "unfair" (whatever that means). I sometimes feel that the world has gone to the dogs, and I am the last piece of bacon.
I OFTEN feel that way.
In fact, I feel that way so frequently that my husband has teased he is going to teach our children to call me "martyr" instead of "mother." (But then I remind him that if "mother" turns to "martyr," then "father" must turn to . . . and he stops teasing. Because I WOULD have them call him that.)
But I have been GROOMED for this kind of life -- the kind of life that makes people say things like, "You get more opportunities to trust God's providence than most people I know!" (, Kendra!) Theologically, isn't every single second an opportunity to trust God's providence? What I'm trying to say is, I would like to practice trusting God when I have it all together! But I grew up hearing phrases like, "God's mercies are new every morning. Tomorrow will be better" and "We're making a memory!" Even then, I wondered why people never made GOOD memories.
For instance...

  • On one of my first skiing trips, in middle school, I was taking the "How to Ski" class on the bunny slope with a bunch of 5-yr. olds, and I started sliding backwards down the hill. I landed on my face, and the instructor used this opportunity to instruct a giggly group of sippy-cuppers on how to stick your rear end in the air to get up on skies. Trust me, it sounds a lot easier than it is. Especially when 5-yr. olds are chortling at every synonym the teacher gives for "big ol' ski-panted bottom."

  • On the very same trip, my ski tag got caught on the ski lift chair as I was trying to jump off. They had to stop the lift and disengage my dangling self.

  • Growing up, we had a bronze van. Enough said.

  • Well, not really enough said. This bronze van actually LOST A SIDE WINDOW as we were driving down I-95. It fell off the van.

  • This same van broke down in inner-city Washington, D.C. My mother called AAA and Dominoes. The pizza guy got there first ("We're a broken-down bronze van on the corner of Gang and Delinquent").

  • My grandmother lived with us. Her slow senility quickly drove us batty.

"I just can't finish my milk tonight."
"Grandma, that's Ranch dressing."
"Even so..."

"I just can't swallow this pill tonight."
"Grandma, that's your denture tablet."
"Even so..."

  • And, most tellingly, my mother made me suit up ALL THE WAY whenever it snowed. This meant moon boots. In Virginia. Not mountainous Virginia, but Just-North-of-Richmond, Virginia. Where the forecast of an inch of snow meant the A&P sold out of bread in an hour.

I had visions of grandeur back then. I knew I would outgrow this crazy family and all of its inconveniences and live a life others would envy.
If anyone would have told me that I would have six perfectly normal children (which means there is never a time when there is not someone whining), even worse, HOMESCHOOL six perfectly normal children (which means I get to try to creatively categorize the day's worth of whining into some kind of educational jargon so that I can feel that I'm being a successful teacher), and that before leaving to go anywhere, I would actually resort to COUNTING to make sure everyone was here because I honestly couldn't recall all of their names, or that at random moments during the day I would again resort to COUNTING because I thought they were all here and yet still I hear someone crying in the distance, only to find that they are all indeed here so who on earth is crying in the distance or is that just phantom crying...
Well. I would have just labeled that prophet as another "crazy" and forgotten the whole business.
Pass the Ranch, please. I need something to wash down this Polident.


  1. That was very entertaining to read. I hope you take that as a good thing. ;0) I know what you mean about trusting God during the good times. Why is it that we are more likely to run to Him and trust Him when something goes terribly wrong? I'm going through the Beth Moore study on the fruits of the Spirit. I so desperately want to be able to love without fail, have joy in every day and peace that passes all understanding all the time. I guess I'm a work in progress like everyone else. Thanks for sharing this post. It was really good.

  2. Very very funny. Especially the part about counting your children and still hearing someone cry! It happens to me a lot, but I "only" have 5.

    Lisa G

  3. You are way toooooo funny to not go into to stand up comedy!!!! Thanks for the wonderful, refreshing humor!!! I laughed so hard, my cheeks hurt!!! Thank you!!!! Patti


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