Thursday, May 26, 2011

What the mama bird taught me....

So right outside of our kitchen window is the greatest magnolia tree, at least that's what I call it.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed a robin had built a nest right by the window.  For the past couple of weeks I've watched the adorable mama bird snuggle into the nest knowing that she must have some eggs that she was keeping warm on those cool spring nights.  I was desperate to show Beck the nest and eggs, we watched the bird from the kitchen for a couple of weeks and finally convinced Dustin to get out the ladder so we could peek into the nest.  Sure enough there were 2 baby birds in the next with one unhatched perfect blue egg.  What fun!  Such a fun chance to talk to Beck about babies and how different animals take care of their little ones.

But that mama bird really got me thinking.  One night while washing some dishes I watched her fly back to her nest and promptly feed her little ones.  I started thinking about the different phases of "feeding" my babies.  From the endless nights of breast feeding, to the transition to bottles and feeling bad about not making it to a year breast feeding either little one.  To making baby food for cute little chubby babies who screamed in their high chairs.  To really struggling with Harper and how she refused to eat anything but fruit and carbohydrates.  It is ingrained into us as mothers to nourish our little people.  Every creature does it, so no wonder I find myself obsessed with how to feed Beckett and Harper the very best things I can.

This week Harper ate her first meat without it being hidden in something else.  Since she was 9 months old I have been placing meat and veggies on her plate with every meal... and for a year and a half she has not touched a single bite.  I wish I was being dramatic, but really, she doesn't even put a bite in her mouth, she absolutely rejected all meat and veggies.  So imagine my surprise when I turned around this week to see her take three big bites of turkey off of her dinner plate and eat them.  Sweet relief.  I hope this sticks.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

So what does it mean to be building a cathedral?

A sweet friend, Lindsey, sent me a great e-mail a while back that I totally found uplifting.  Here it is...

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from  England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of  Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To  Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.  At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Since receiving this e-mail I have found myself thinking back to how amazing the work of a mother can be.  I am especially reminded of this on the days I am clearly "carving birds" in places no one will see.  Those are the moments that matter the most, the times when I have a teachable moment with Beckett or Harper that no one will see or ever really know about, but those are the moments that I get to help build the parts of them that will matter the most later on in life.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why blog?

So Dustin has been asking me for months why I haven't started my own blog.  It's true that I do enjoy reading other people's blogs I wasn't really all that sure that this was right for me.  But the reality is that I am forgetful... and my mind is full of "important things" all day long.  I spend a ton of time remembering patient details, medical histories, plans of care, medication details, shopping lists, birthday lists, car repairs and other stuff that I forget about the phase of Beckett's life when he would say, "have it", "touch it", "hold it" for everything he wished he could get his little 2 year old hands on.  So this will be my way, my way of remembering those little things that I don't want to loose about the most important people in my life.  This will be my place to remember funny moments between Dustin and I, hiking adventures with Beckett and the trials and tribulations of trying to get Harper to eat something besides carbohydrates, because one day I will forget just how hard I've been working to feed her!

This is the document of how I am building a cathedral that I will never see finished in the lives of my children.