December 26, 2010

A message to my children...

Hi beans. I ran across this in my saved documents, and you all know how much I loved, love, Erma Bombeck. She had a wonderfully witty way of netting it out. This article is for you, now parents and soon to be parents. My youngest boys, listen up...your time will come!
I love you all so very much.

From her column, "At Wit's End" by Erma Bombeck:
On a rainy day last week I met my past.
It was a chance meeting. As I rolled over in bed and listened to the thunder outside, I declared for myself a day off from the typewriter. To do what? What was it I used to do before the deadlines, the travels and the mail? How did I spend my time before I became a "fulfilled woman," before my worth measured by a credit line, before I got my black belt in goal setting?
I sat at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee. It was 8 a.m. By this time in my first life I would have had three kids who smelled of spray starch and vitamin breath off to school with a lunch box and thermos of soup which they wouldn't bother to open.
I would promise myself that I would knit until 9 and then I would absolutely get dressed and bring the house up to minimal health standards.
During the years, I would remember birthdays with appropriate celebrations, clothes that were in the cleaners, pets to be fed, doctor and dental appointments for everyone, homework that was due, science projects to be started, bills to be paid, overdue books returned, deposits made at the bank, and five bags of fertilizer for the lawn.
I would remove spots, add water, scrub toilets, write letters, polish shoes, clean ears, plant trees, knot shoestrings, mend wading pools, and blow up balloons.
I would hustle food, keep laundry moving, volunteer in the community, decorate the house, keep staples in supply, dispense chores, counsel, discipline, mediate arguments, hand down decisions and listen. I would listen a lot.
As I showered I wondered if I could go "home" again. Home to that domestic treadmill that I had fought to escape. I called my mother "just to talk." I called my best girlfriend and we dumped on one another. I called our kids and invited them to dinner and proceeded to fry chicken, bake biscuits and snap fresh green beans. We ate laughed, argued, talked and disagreed.
By present-day standards, it had been a non-productive day. I hadn't earned a dime. Hadn't made an impact on anyone or put down anything on paper for posterity. 
Then why did I feel at peace with myself? Like I had done something special that day that no one else could do? It was the way I used to feel when I bedded down three kids between clean sheets and they all had clean feet and no one's nose was running. It was my turf and I knew it. 
Lying in bed I thought about that person of the past and her day. What had she done that made her feel so important, so vital, when she herself had categorized it all as crud detail. 
Then it hit me. My turf. Wouldn't it be ironic if my turf yielded the most important commodity being grown today...a family. A crop of children, seeded by two people, nourished with values, protected form disease and emotional storms and in 18-20 years harvested into worthwhile human being to go through the entire process again.
Nothing else I would do would equal it in importance. 
Wouldn't you have thought someone would have told us?

Food fight in Mom's kitchen!


  1. I LOVE this!

    I was thinking something similar on Christmas day as we sat down to eat. I looked around and thought to myself "look at all these people we made!" It was a moment of such quiet joy.

  2. Lovely. I think Erma is my soul-sister. Thanks for this.


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