My Father's Daughter

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In praise of Mom

When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes (I don’t think I’m generalizing here – I’m pretty sure it happened more than once) ‘make me into my bed’. She would put the bottom sheet on the bed then I would lie there and she’d put the top sheet and blankets on me. There was something so neat and comforting about lying there while crisp, clean, laundry-fresh (sometimes warm) sheets and blankets fluttered down over me. I loved it. I still remember it as a fond memory.

As an adult I’ve come to realize that Mom made this “game” up because she hadn’t gotten to making up the beds that laundry day. As a kid the game was so special it never occurred to me that it only happened because Mom had “failed” to get her to-do list done. But I think that good mothering isn’t perfection. A good mother isn’t someone who always completes her to-do list on time. A good mother is someone who is focused on her children – on their needs, on their positive physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth, on teaching them how to fly and then giving them the space to do so.

During my childhood my mom had returned to work full-time so that her oldest two kids could attend a Christian high school (while still being an active preacher’s wife). I don’t remember the state of our house. I don’t know how clean or messy it was (I do remember that Saturday morning chores were always a requirement – and would have been even if Mom didn’t work – so the cleanliness/not-so-cleanliness was a burden we all shared; and that we learned the value of work and contributing to the family). I do know that everything my Mom did was for her husband and her kids. I know that she was committed to us in a way that went beyond how clean the house was, or how often the beds were made before bedtime.

I think my mom sometimes still feels guilty for not being the consummate housewife. But that’s not what was important about my upbringing. What was important for my upbringing was there; and any of her “short-comings” only enriched that. I have learned as much from the failures of my parents (both as parents and as people) as I have from their successes. I have known them as flawed and real people and that was as essential to my development as the food they put on the table.

Thanks Mom, I think you’ve been a “perfect” Mom.



You know you’re a woman when…

Phil and I had a disagreement this morning — and I’m not just trying to soften what was really a fight, it was actually only a disagreement. I thought I looked fat in everything I tried on this morning and he disagreed. Poor man. What could he do? And in his defence, he’s been instructed by Brad Paisley to lie in those situations.

Our disagreement this morning leads me to why I hate about half the women I work with. No, I don’t really hate them, I was just going for impact. I know, I know, I should be careful with that word and be like my friend who is very cognizant of only using that word in extreme cases (i.e. to describe his feelings for the Sens — then, and only then). But here is why I tend towards disliking them. They are all younger than I am, skinnier than I am, prettier than I am, and better dressed than I am. (Phil also said something this morning about comparing myself to others and that it was HIS opinion of me that mattered, blah, blah, blah, but I just tuned him out :)). When I started working here I was young enough and cool enough to rub elbows and make friends with the university students we had working for us. Now, I am old and fat and frumpy. There are entire fashion trends that are just plain inadequate for my girth.

Here, I think, is the true rite of passage into adulthood. Getting your drivers license, the right to vote, the ability to purchase alcohol – pshaw, kiddie stuff. It’s mourning the loss of those days before back fat and yogurt cheese thighs when a bikini was an actual possibility instead of something that just made your stomach rolls slap together as the mere thought sends you into uncontrollable laughter. That’s what makes you a true woman. (Or maybe it’s accepting the back fat, cellulite thighs, belly rolls, etc. as making you a mature woman – no, let’s not go there…)

I think it’s also being able to disagree with someone and not fighting. Sigh. I’m all growed up.


Can’t we all just get along?

Last week I was following the story of a church of Christ minister in Tennessee who was killed by his wife. My morbid fascination was fueled by the fact that this couple met at Freed Hardman College — the college my Dad attended, and that one of their daughters is named Mary Alice. But other aspects of the story interested me as well — I felt the congregation’s reaction to the trauma was very admirable, and I just wanted to know why this woman, who members of the congregation described as “lovely” and “precious” did this horrible thing.

Because of my interest, a friend of mine showed me part of a transcript from a CNN program. It seems they had a Baptist pastor on to discuss the shooting death of this minister and the church of Christ in particular. His comments were, from what I read, very slanderous, and, from my experience, inaccurate (I was going to include the link or some direct quotes here in my blog, but I feel no need to spread the slander). He made claims that the church of Christ is cult-like, closed-minded, and legalistic. Some of the things he said may have been true of some members at some time, but from ALL my experience with churches of Christ in Ontario and the United States it is NOT TRUE of the majority.

After I got over my initial feelings of ire, my questions were, WHY? WHY? WHY? Why use this as a platform for hate propaganda against one church? Why, in a world where a man was nearly executed in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity can’t those of us living under the umbrella of “Christian” in North America find some common ground? Why can’t we see that this kind of division hurts the Kingdom? Why can’t we see our similarities instead of our differences? We are not that different.

I guess my last question was, How can you say that? How can you say that about a congregation that has rallied around this wife who confessed to killing her husband? They have responded in love and support. They have been there at her court dates. They have stated they will get her what she needs. All without knowing her motive. In fact, they have discouraged speculation and gossip about the details and motive for the murder. They have posted pictures of the entire family on a bulletin board. They have come together to support the three daughters of this couple. They have come together to get through this. That just doesn’t seem like a congregation that belongs to the church described in such a hateful way on CNN.