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China Shepherdess

29 Dec

Ever since I was a little girl listening to my mother read “Little House in the Big Woods” I’ve wanted to have a china shepherdess like Ma had.

The little shepherdess represented grace and culture in the wilderness, and later came to symbolize the kind of mother I wanted to be.

Every time I was in a thrift store or flea market, I looked for my shepherdess. Shepherdesses seem to be rare, and none of the few I saw seemed quite what I was searching for.

But this month, I found her. She is me and I am she, and for $1 she came home with me from Cross-lines, my gift from the Universe.

Tiny Pigtails

25 Jul


Things that make me happy.

Trophy Days

8 Jun

Twelve years ago, I was a brand new mother, sitting at church, with my new baby boy in my arms. Somebody said gloomily from the pulpit, “They don’t give out trophies for being a mother.”

I think the gist of what they meant was that being a mom and raising children right is important, even though the world doesn’t recognize it as a prestigious job/occupation/career.

But as I sat there, I thought to myself, Maybe they don’t hand out trophies, but there will be some “trophy days.” The day my child turns 8 and is baptized a member of the church, that will be a trophy day. The day my son turns 12 and helps to pass the sacrament for the first time, that will be a trophy day.

I don’t mean trophy in the sense that everyone would recognize my “achievements” and heap praise on me as the winner of something. But trophy in the sense that the happiness I would feel on those days would be like the happiness you feel when you finish a race and you feel that all that hard work and sweat and days of running in the rain and running in the heat were all worth it. Or when you receive highest marks on your piano solo at Music Festival and all those hours of practicing until your back ached and your fingers were too stiff to move are *nearly* forgotten/forgiven in the glow of those highest marks.

As I decided what days my trophy days would be, I admitted to myself that they would be few and far between–an allowance for that person who thought there weren’t any trophies at all.

Now 12 years have passed. I am mother of not 1 but 6 children. I have a new baby. My little baby that was is now a 12 year old boy and will be ordained a deacon on Sunday. In another month a daughter will turn 8 and be baptized.

Those trophy days aren’t few and far between at all.

And there have been many more trophy days that I never dreamed of twelve years ago.

Days of finding little scraps of wrinkled paper love notes on my pillow.

Days when a child comes home from school with a poem they had to write about the color brown, and they wrote about brown hair waving in the wind.

Days when I ask the kids to clean up and they actually do it without complaining or fighting.

Days when I’m sick and my 3 year old curls up in the bed next to me and pats my neck with her little hand because that is the best kind of comfort she knows how to give.

Days like last Sunday, when the DH was gone to guard drill and I had an early morning church meeting. I set breakfast on the table, woke up the children, and asked them to eat and dress themselves for church, promising to be back in one hour. When I returned home, they were dressed with shoes on and even hair brushed, ready to get in the van. (p.s. I did take the baby with me)

On Sunday, when I shared these thoughts, I said at the end, “Every day is a trophy day when you are a mom.” That was just nerves, realizing I’d said what I’d thought and didn’t know quite how to end and get away from the microphone… and maybe a bit of the emotion of the moment making me feel like that if I were a perfect human, I would find those trophy moments every day. I know that every day isn’t a trophy day.
But they are there, generously sprinkled in, and they are what remind me to be happy when the struggle of life has made me forget.

Jeremiah 31:3

15 Feb

I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee to me.

It’s his cheek wrinkles- the ones like parenthesis around his mouth. Sometimes they are there when he smiles. But usually they only appear when he is feeling deep emotion. Like the day we married. And the day he held his child for the first time.

I’ve heard other women talking about checking out a guy’s backside or his abs or whatever. Whatever.

Give me parenthesis.