Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sacred Heart of Mary

If there was a better way to go,

then it would find me.

I can’t help it

the road just rolls out behind me.

Be kind to me, or treat me mean

I’ll make the most of it

I’m an extraordinary machine.

-Fiona Apple

First of all, if you are reading this, I would just like to say HI! Thank you for being invested in my kids, my adventures, rants, side notes, weight loss, my FACE. I like your face too :) Sometimes it surprises me to hear who has visited me, and sometimes I’m not surprised, but I am ALWAYS encouraged.

Also, this post refers to mothers in a specific mother/child way, but so we are clear, any woman who nurtures her friends, her family, her nieces and nephews… well, my life is filled with ‘mothers’ who were wise enough to get a pet instead! Just FYI :)

So I feel like I can tell you, this last week sucked. And was totally awesome. And then sucked some more. And I don’t use that word lightly, but OH! sometimes it’s the best word. Good news first:

My little sister, Lois Lane, Moonface, Opal, low-to-the-ground-curb-hiking-little-runt (Lorraine) is getting HITCHED. And not to just anyone, but to DAN! I know!! It’s kind of awesome.

I also just got four days with my bff4ever2cute+2be=4gotten friend Brooke, and that is always a welcome face around these parts (although she is so freaking adorable I was kind of glad to see her drive away so I could finally stop sucking in my gut and put on my dirty and comfy (never get used for) yoga pants).

(Oh, I just reread that! Poor Jon!)

Anyway, between that awesomeness was some very NOT awesomeness. Parts of last week left me reeling in wonder and sadness and faith that I forgot I had. Trying to organize my thoughts, I will share what I can.

My beautiful and constant friend Margaret is more than halfway through her pregnancy with her 4th son, and last week she shared with me that all is not well, and it won’t be getting well. At first it feels sort of like a car accident, but as the day went on and I reflected on our conversation and the months ahead, a car accident suddenly seemed sort of preferable.

Let’s see, I need to take a step back, we LOVE this boy already!! Whatever shape his time here takes, we are grateful! And if you knew Margaret you would not be surprised that I found her comforting me with hope and faith when I should have been trying to find the right words to comfort her.

That’s not to say we aren’t going to spend a lot time crying our faces off together. Like I said, it sucks. But here’s the thing, what would you risk? What things are you willing to suffer and sacrifice to be a mom to your perfect and imperfect children? And the answer to that is a lot. We are all willing to or we wouldn’t even be here to wonder about it because women would have stopped having children when, for the majority of our history, you were more likely to die in childbirth or lose a child to the common cold than you were to live a long happy life surrounded by all your offspring.

And then there is the part where we are young and stupid and feel invincible, which might be more responsible for the survival of humanity than wise and far seeing mothers. In fact, I don’t think I have ever been wiser than AFTER I had kids and realized that I actually know nothing.

And, as anyone who has passed by my blog in the last year has already guessed, my faith and spirit have been undergoing some growing pains lately. Being a liberal Mormon with hippie notions may seem like a cop out, but I think it’s actually harder than just picking one thing and sticking to it! And there may have been moments when I threw the whole notion of religion out the window. Have you SEEN the history channel? Nothing will make you feel more like a fool for letting religious leaders dictate your life than the history channel. What? You think your leaders are different? Special? So did the Greeks when they thought Zeus was out to impregnate their daughters dressed up like a bird. And by the way, and maybe against my better judgment, I do think my leaders are different and special so I’m not sure why I even bother watching the history channel...

Um, I derailed. See ADD Pages above for more information on why… ha! That’s convenient!

Okay, somber, somber… I’m back. Do you think the tone of this post is inappropriate for some of it’s content? Well, then let me tell you some of the single greatest, bravest, most important words I have ever heard in my life. While Margaret and I are on the phone, having gone through serious mommy medical mode getting all the important facts, what has happened, what is next, what we know for sure, what we are waiting to know… well when we have exhausted that we arrive at the place where our hearts shatter into a million pieces and you cry with your beloved friend, and you are SO GLAD you are there to do it. And then, if you are us, you start to laugh because, who knows? I don’t remember, maybe it was that we were trying to talk and cry while keeping our respective wild boys from eating anyone ELSES boogers (oh I wish that wasn’t actually a possibility), and then because we are laughing and crying we just laugh and cry some more, and I try to apologize to Margaret for, well, being me probably, when she says “People think I’m crazy when I laugh right now but being around my boys, I can’t help but laugh. And I have to laugh. This might be the only time this baby knows me, and if I’m not laughing then he won’t really know who I am.”

Oh. My. God.

No, really. God? If you are listening could you tell me how I found myself with this kind of woman in my circle, on my team, on the other end of this phone call? And could you please take away this pain for her and make it all better?

Ouch ouch ouch.

How do we bear this?


When God asked Mary to be the mother of His Only Begotten Son, I don’t usually hear anyone talk about how much he was asking her to suffer (though, it’s possible I just wasn’t paying attention). The more I suffer as a mother, the more I find comfort in the idea of The Sacred Heart of Mary. Whatever you may believe, no one debates Jesus existed, or his mother, Mary, who by some accounts was largely responsible for keeping the Christian movement alive after his death. What I know is that she was a mother. And for myself, I like the idea that she hovers near us with compassion to give and courage to lend when our own hands tremble at the tasks we have been asked to endure.


And even celebrate. Because isn’t that why my phone is weary from calls from Utah about catering and wedding dresses and baby showers? And the birthday’s of Margaret three other glorious, wild, stinky, hysterical boys? Not to mention mario parties and fat pink babies? …. we cry hard and play hard and work hard and Die Hard! Yes. I’m talking about that dumb hero/action movie from the 90’s... yes it’s seemed relevant and, yes! I know I’m getting old.

But who needs to see an action movie or special effects and comic book hero’s when I see a hero in every mother I meet? Your radioactive spider has nothing on the radioactive diaper I changed this morning, and I fed my kids all the colors of the rainbow today and the only mask I wore was the avocado Alice tried to feed me and smeared on my cheek.

But then I smacked Russell. And I’m so ashamed. He is, wow, he has stretched this house to it’s limits the last couple weeks, and it rends my heart right out of my body to see him behaving in a way that is so unconscious of his behavior, his glazed eyes, and relentless, RELENTLESS, antagonizing of me, of Jon, of Alice, of the CAT. Twitching and going and going, and opening and climbing and sliding and squirming into all the crevasses of this house. Then, when you can take NO MORE, a glimmer of genius that sparks a bonfire of clever charming present conversation and self awareness… sigh! I will do another post on this if I can get up the courage, because Heaven (and Mary!) know I could use the shout out’s of my wise women friends.

It doesn’t help that lately I have been going on the world tour of all medicines ADD, and who can say when something is working or is just making you clean behind the toilet with a toothbrush? If you have a high standard for toilet tank cleanliness then maybe that sounds perfectly reasonable to you, but to me the fine line between life saving and life altering is a VERY tight rope with no net.

And that’s the rub. I can barely fit my butt on the park swings with Russell, but I had enough swinging this week to last me, if not a lifetime, at least through the summer, and it’s just beginning. It’s okay. I am grateful for the joys and the celebrations of my life. And I am grateful for the grief, and friends who share theirs with me. And I am grateful for the chance I have right now to give tomorrow another try.

And I’m grateful to you, and for you (hopefully) skimming this far into a long post. And I’m grateful to Margaret. She makes me a better person, and a better mom.

Now go hug your babies. And yourselves! Bye.


LorraineinSpain said...

Thanks sister. Thanks for pretending like my caterer is important when you have life in front of you.

From the moment I saw that glittering ring in the hand of my wonderful Daniel, I feel like I was sucked through a wormhole from the world of single and independent invincibility and into the heart of pulsing pumping mortality. Overlooking the homestead of his dead ancestors, wearing the ring of my dead ancestor, and cleaning all the Jackson graves in the Kanab cemetery totally centered me in how very tied I am to the flows of life and death again. I am tied to new lives and deaths and stories and am now responsible to make new lives (someday, like, a million days from now).

And someday soon, we're going to go find James's grave in Provo, and pay a proper cleaning and remembrance visit to him too. I'm glad to be tied back into the world where life goes on. I'm glad to be joining that world with my sisters and their families about, because I couldn't do it without you. much love~

Andrea said...

Hi Margaret, I am sorry that you are going through this. I wish that there was something that I could do, that anyone could do. Our prayers are with your beautiful family. I love you!

kateastrophe said...

You of all people know how rare it is for me to be at a loss for words, but I am. You're amazing. Margaret is amazing and I wish I knew her. I love your writing, I love what you have to say and I love how relevant and important it is to ALL women, but especially those of us with a little more . . . I don't even know what the word is. A little more.

Love you with all my heart.

Teddi said...

Hey girl - so sorry for your wonderful friend - it sounds like she has a great perspective and I'm sure you will both weather your storms - all in time...

give me a ring sometime. This week sucks but next week would be great for an afternoon park...

Tara Boschetti said...

Just wanted to let you know how much this post touched me. Thanks Alissa.