Working for My Father
Recently, a column I authored drew surprising attention. And not in a good way. Certain naysayers negated, opposed and generally, not having walked a mile in my shoes, as the saying goes, bashed.
As is my custom when presented with confrontation: Step 1, I crumble. Step 2, I complain to my husband. He, of course, eagerly spouted the whole “pen is mightier than the sword” thing. Well, I came face to ugly face with this might. Words in all their power. Combined with cyberspace’s immediate, censor-less and ego feeding pull.
The tongue has the power of life and death. 1 Corinthians 12:10
The cause célèbre?
My opinion on the US government’s handling of Osama bin Laden’s extermination? No. I’m no military expert. Not even close. My Dad, who served in the US Army Infantry during the Great War, held, oh, vehement, is a pretty good word, opinions on all things War. You know what I mean if you, too, are the daughter of a military man. However indelible the effect this has had on developing my own rather strong thoughts, my opinion is certainly not worthy of public viewing.
My pro- or anti- take on The Royal Wedding? No. As a typical 16 year old girl in 1981, I tuned in and devoured every detail of the Charles and Di spectacle. However, as a middle aged Mom of boys in 2011, the Wedding of the Year did not even begin to peak my curiosity.
What’s my focus now? Not tulle, lace, horse drawn carriages, lengthy bridal processions.
Life is lived around here between slicing apples into turtle sized bites, one just rescued from certain death crossing a busy road bordering our development. And the supplying of a desperately needed Tupperware for grubby, muddy little boy hands to house a beetle, cricket or worm. (And where DID those dollar store bug houses go? You know, the ones stashed before the endless winter from which the northeast is finally emerging? The ones designed for just this very purpose?)
And generally coasting through our brimming and busy days around my older son’s (aka Hamlet) restlessness and indecision in Act IV and my younger son’s (aka Egeus) egotistical tirade in Act I of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Throw in ratios, circumference, Earth science reference tables, Paul Revere’s midnight ride, CYO division coordinating paperwork, self imposed writing deadlines, cleats, mitts, a bottomless laundry basket, always-dueling John Wayne impressions and inexplicably multiplying piles of legos and it’s clear why being absorbed in a soon-to-be-princess’s glide down the aisle of Westminster Abbey didn’t quite make it onto the schedule last week.
If I had girls, I am convinced we’d have tuned in. Pass the tea and scones, princesses. And would that not be squealingly, giddily delightful?
What of the smashing references to “Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior,” during the unavoidable blurbs of royal wedding oversaturation on The Big Day? What Catholic didn’t feel proud ownership to this awesome Truth broadcast the world over?
And, well, could it be my thoughts on the beatification of our beloved Papa on Divine Mercy Sunday? Too-soon or perfectly-timely? No, again. This man who shepherded my generation to adulthood? This savvy, brilliant wordsmith and scholar who is the personification of charity, mercy and tolerance? Who tirelessly evangelized millions in his travels to 29 countries in two and half decades as Pontiff? Argue? Why? He’s already a saint in my book.
Nope. None of the above.
The issue at hand is one which I naively thought had been beaten, tortured and put to rest. Sarcasm and sanctimony permanently wrung out of the now ragged and tattered white flag. Silly me.
The issue? Motherhood.
A stay at home, homeschooling Mom (yes, me) revels in the blessings bestowed upon her. Realizes and is humbled that this is her calling. Looks to Our Lady for guidance. Prays for a modicum, even a morsel, of the patience and tolerance that Our Lady effortlessly epitomizes. Just a glimmer of her grace to be bestowed upon me.
Did this stay at home Mom offer an opinion on Moms who work outside their homes? Debase? Undermine? No. Not unless one interprets the statement that my husband and I value our lives and the being there-ness of parenthood more than we value a second income. Not unless one assumes that I purposefully did not include, as was suggested by several readers, a shout out to “Mothers who manage it all,” who “work outside the home.”
This was intended to be a reflection on Mother’s Day. My reflection. Musings on the journey of Motherhood. My musings.
Here’s the thing though: I don’t miss it. Working. For pay. I don’t want it back. I don’t seek to be fulfilled by looking beyond my home and my family. Is this too provincial? Too June Cleaver-backwards? That I choose to stay home and not only like, I love, revel in, am passionate about, feel blessed by, what I do? That I am called to tend my home, and not part time? That I maintain that the best living and learning happens in the heart of my home? Despite the strides for “equality,” I say, “Take THAT, twenty-first century! You can keep the norms and expectations of our times. Leave me out of it.”
Judge not and you will not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Luke 6:37
I could provide percentages of children who are raised by day care providers versus children who are raised by a parent as their full time care giver. I could enumerate studies which claim children who are raised in day care are at a disadvantage spiritually, academically and emotionally. Are these studies slanted toward one “side” or the other? However the facts stack up, it is not an option for my husband and me. The life we give our children has inspired them to unfold gradually into the people the Lord is calling them to be. Thankfully, God is not done with us either.
The family is the first school of living and the influence received inside the family is decisive for the future development of the individual. Blessed John Paul II
- Message for World Day of Peace, 1998
The feminist agenda is harmful to women. It’s harmful to children and families. It’s harmful to the future of our country. I work for Him. This is my calling.
Are my family and my homeschool brimming with charity, energy and momentum? Waves of productivity and swells of creativity? How about Thoreau-like jaunts into the woods to immerse in our art? Picture perfect? No way. It is not all sunshine and song.
No, my life is real. It’s unkempt and cluttered, disheveled, sometimes undone, burnt, unvacuumed, late, unmet, unwashed, wounded, weeds-poking-up-through-patio-cracks, and just plain, lacking something, sometimes. But what it doesn’t lack is the love. The purpose. The rhythm. The certainty that this is my choice. It is where I prefer to be. And not part time.
Stepping off a ladder to the top of one’s career or tipping a pay scale not in one’s favor may seem anonymous, unrewarding. To many, an affliction. But it is not. It is not a disease that many feel causes them to be erased. Ironically, it is the cure.
Whatever your task, work heartily as serving the Lord and not men. Colossians 3:23
Copyright 2011 Christine Capolino