"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Diary Dust

Remember keeping a diary?  Well, maybe you weren't the type, but I was.  In ANOTHER LIFE!

Yeah, I have five full cute flowery books called "journals" written in a beautifully scripted hand, of all my thoughts, impressions, memories, and chronicled special events... from when I was single.  And after I was married? Well, there's about half of one cute flowery journal filled up with thoughts from the first few months.  And after that?  Well, then came babies, and I switched over to "baby books."  My firstborn, a son, has a beautiful old fashioned large hardback journal with entire pages written up on his first words, first teeth, first roll-over, first toy, first attempt at crawling, at walking, first tumble down the stairs, and even a cute little Ziploc bag with an adorable little lock of curly blond hair from his first haircut.  Oh, and taped in portraits of him at six months, nine months, a year, and eighteen months, taken at the local Sears portrait studio.  He was a pretty cute lad, I must say.  I know because I just found his "book" in a large bin of keepsakes while organizing my closet last week.

It was like finding a time capsule from another universe, another woman, who lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

In this bin my second child has a baby book too, only without the lock of hair.  My third has maybe half a book filled out. No details, just facts.  My fourth has a book alright.  It's got his name on the cover... and not a single jot or tittle inside.  My two daughters after him? I didn't even try to fool myself.

Life has changed. I have changed. Or rather, God, by the simple yet complicated organic process of the changing needs and demands of this spread of growing children given to my husband and me, is changing me and my plans. 

My children receive love and care, just not in the same romantic way I used to dream of giving them, and tried to give them.  Certain romantic ideals are wonderful in their season, and what would life be without them, I ask you?  But God grows us up.  In his way. And I for one, am at the point where I've got to move with the seasons just to stay alive now.  Necessity has programmed my priorities into different avenues than they once were.  I didn't try to make changes.  They just happened to me.

Now, all you lovely mothers out there faithfully keeping baby books, don't get me wrong.  If I wasn't clutching for survival to accomplish the basics of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, instructing, training, and forcing piano practice times in various stages to a range of six (going on seven) children, I could totally see myself up in my daughters' well dusted room carefully taping her last work of art into her fourth book... instead of secretly throwing it in the trash when she wasn't looking, only to realize that the trash is full and needs to be emptied, and that tomorrow's trash pick up day, and that my son better remember to take them to the road without my telling him this time, and while we're at it..... Oh, sorry.  I'm getting carried away.  See why I don't have time to write in the baby's book

Or at least get some kind of a decent blog post up on some kind of a regular basis right? 

Yeah, all I need is a housekeeper, a maid, a tutor, a governess, and a nurse, and I could do all the things I really want to do.  Right?

"Woman and Children," by Elizabeth Boott Duveneck

Wait a minute.  I am.
Doing what I really want to do.
Things have taken on different levels of importance in my life now, especially as I have learned, and am learning, to take in stride the losing of my time for some things and the re-diverting of it into other things, and by daily surrender to the revealed will of God in my day to day life, I can now have a different kind of diary.
I can just tell my children this, when they ask about their baby book (not that they even care) -

"You yourselves are [my] letter, written on [my] heart, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Corinthians 3: 2, 3 

Yeah, I think they'll like that even better.  So do I.

(Not to say that my reading through those 2 1/2 baby books last week wasn't fun. And precious. And it probably will be to the future wife of my son.  It's just, well, you know.  Sigh.)


  1. Ah yes, I had a baby book for my oldest, only. But back then we had film cameras and every time I had them developed, I did doubles and each child has an envelope of pics to hand down. But that ended when we turned to video and now digital. I don't get these printed. But as you said ( or Paul that is). They are letters written in my heart and are read by everyone. I thank The Lord for his grace.

  2. Oh, how I enjoyed reading Daniel's baby book and my, oh, my was Kathy Hicks diligent! "to take in stride the losing of my time for some things and the re-diverting of it into other things, and by daily surrender to the revealed will of God in my day to day life..." Reminds me of "Nobody can take my life away from me because I gave my life to you." What a sweet relief to have Someone else in control.

  3. This was so edifying because it reminds us what is important as far as our children taking up all our time and energy. That's exactly what our time and energy is for. I never even tried to do baby books. Ha! Sometimes I wish I had at least saved those little cards they tape to the bassinet that say your baby's weight and time of birth though. I'm starting to forget who weighed what--but then again, what does it matter. They are my living letters.