A friend recently forwarded an email to me titled "The Invisible Mother," a short essay comparing the tireless and often thankless job of a mother to the builders of Europe's great cathedrals. Both give their whole lives for a work they will never see finished, both make sacrifices and expect no credit, and both are fueled in their passion by the faith that the eyes of God see every detail. The writer of the essay was inspired by the thought that our endless efforts in motherhood, invisible as they may seem, are worth it and can make an enriching life.
For many of us, the way we choose to hold our invisibility at bay is by creating something tangible. For me, my days often end with knitting - my love of fiber and the need to do something relaxing end up producing something I can hold and look at. Nobody will know how many times I swept under the high chair that day, or how many toys I picked up, or how many times I tried to coax a "please" or "more" or "sorry" out of my 5 year old. But a darling, handmade infant hat? That you can see.
I start new projects every day, and my 10 year old does the same. In this process of creating (and yes, often not finishing our projects!) we connect with each other and a bigger picture of ourselves in the process. My plan for this blog is to share the projects that excite me and bring some accessible proof of my existence in this invisible world of mothering!
So, this blog is dedicated to the mothers out there whose days are filled with the minutia of tasks that build our children and our families. I often tell people that I haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up. But for now, I am the builder of a great cathedral. With every shoelace tied, lunch packed, and forehead kissed, I build.
And I can hardly wait to create something new...
Sunday, August 28, 2011
To the Death of a Single Wasp
I carefully removed the few dishes that were around it and then got the wasp spray from under the sink. I sprayed him, and Rowan asked, "Did you get it? Can it still fly up and sting us?" I told her it was dying and before I had a second to think about it, she walked over and looked in the sink.
The wasp was in the agonizing throws of its frantic, cling-to-life last moments. As soon as Rowan saw it, she cried out and started sobbing. She cried and cried and I held her and cried a little too. I had told the wasp I was sorry before I sprayed it, but seeing the horror in Rowan's face in that second she watched it struggle made me feel like a heartless murderer. Her empathy for an insect she is deathly afraid of was heartbreaking.
She has had a hard time since that moment. The tears are still coming here and there as the picture of the wasp dying replays in her mind. As we were talking it through afterward she wished there was some way we could have safely gotten it back outside, but I had to explain that we don't mess with wasps. If it's in the house, it has to die. She understands and agrees, but hates it.
Rowan is very good about using her creativity to express her emotions, either in writing or through pictures. It didn't take her long to get her paper and crayons out of the desk drawer and start a picture of homage to the dead wasp. She titled it "To the death of a single wasp - Freedom!" She drew the little guy amid a sunny sky and pretty flowers - alive and darling with little blue wings. I asked her if it helped her feel better, but she just got teary again and said, "maybe a little." One of the things I love most about my dear daughter is her natural compassion and today was a classic example of how devastating that can be sometimes.
So sorry, little wasp. And so sorry, my little girl, that life lessons can be so hard.