Monday, November 27, 2006

The Advent of Advent

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! I am being absolutely ridiculous about it. I should be stopped before I hurt someone. My radio is tuned to Christmas music. I find myself humming carols. My freezer will be filled with cookie dough in about 3 more days. And and and I'm going to make a tree skirt! And a flag that says "JOY TO YOU!" And an advent wreath! And patchwork stockings for the entire family! And handmade wrapping paper to enclose the handmade gifts that are under construction every night from the time I tuck my kids into bed until the time that my body screams for tea and television (in other words, from 8 - 9pm CST). If I continue down this path of merriment, I will likely find myself at the bottom of a wassail pot wearing reindeer antlers on or about Christmas Eve.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I have Thanksgiving on my mind. My son has been asking questions - hard questions, perceptive questions, five-year-old questions - that set my imagination spinning. We have been discussing religious freedom a lot because it's something that he can understand. "Pilgrims came here because they wanted to worship God in their own way. They were tired of being told exactly how to pray. So they left and made something new." And somehow, at this time in my life, I find myself in a spiritual renaissance. I don't know what happened anymore than I know what happened to set off my spiritual dark ages. Sometimes, I think the light just changes and suddenly what used to be sure and real becomes shadowy and uncertain. And you can look right at a thing and see its outline and see what it used to be, what it ought to be, what it still is and somehow wonder what it has become. And then the light changes again and whabam! It's the thing! It's so clear and you wonder why on earth you ever even wondered because it's right there for any fool to see. I remember many years ago during a particularly charismatic phase in my spiritual life, I took a walk with a friend. He told me in the kind/cruel manner of truly good friends that my faith was too much. He poked fun at me, "Thank you for the glorious leaves! Thank you for that glorious song!" I was all wrapped up in the glorious wondrous joyful JOY of it all. It must have been hilarious from the outside looking in. For that matter, it was fairly amusing from the inside looking out. I'm not so charismatic now, thank goodness. I no longer have the energy for all that unadulterated bliss. Instead, I am finding a happy certainty. I like it. I'm thankful for it. I am glad that we're heading into advent because I think this will be a fruitful season for me. For the first time in a long time, my faith is carrying me along instead of me lugging it on my back like a cross.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I apologize in advance for the schmaltz. Wait, no I don't. I warn in advance of the schmaltz. Having children has done this to me - they have turned me from a woman who throws away greeting cards moments after receipt into a weeping mess of schmaltz. And for that, I am both grateful and disturbed. A few weeks ago, I was driving in the car with my children. I told them that I loved them. Five minutes later, I did it again. And then again another three minutes after that. My son was annoyed. "Why do you keep saying that? I know you love me. You don't have to say it all the time." I laughed and told him that moms just do that, that we can't help ourselves. I've been letting that conversation percolate for a while now, wondering why I do feel compelled to tell my children that I love them so often - too often really. (Although perhaps too often is just a myth. Perhaps there is never a too often when it comes to this.) Is it really because I love them that much? I do, but I don't think that's it. I think it's a verbal talisman. I think that in the primal-fire-dancing region of my brain, I'm protecting them from ever feeling unloved or unwanted or uncherished or unalive. I'm making love into their totem, I suppose. And why not? We name our children after great people or give them names with great meaning: Victor, Faith, Christian, Ming, etc. That's as much magical thinking as my love chant, I suppose. So I just keep repeating myself in the hopes that on some bad night in the future, my children will know that I love them. And I hope that it will be enough.

My Solid Best

So there you have it. I am a wife, mother, friend, worker bee, human being and I am doing my solid best in all (or most) of those roles.