* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Will we have rainbows, day after day?*

*Quote from Que Sera Sera

For those who are wondering, there are at least a couple more Ireland posts coming- most notably one about the Cliffs of Moher.

Today is my 36th birthday and my 13th Anniversary.

Allen and I got married on a very sunny, rather hot day in a truly lovely morning garden wedding.  It was my 23rd birthday and we do indeed have a picture of me blowing out my candles on my wedding day but it's in a cabinet in America so, no dice on seeing it today.

Today, my life is likely about a 1/3 completed and, with any luck, I still have a whopping 2/3rds to look forward to.  Now that the children are getting a little older (that being 2, 5, and 6- ancient, really!), I get asked somewhat frequently what I plan to do with myself.  This question always takes me slightly aback.

First, I think what I am doing actually is a career of it's own.  It takes time and energy and skill to keep a home and keep it well.  I know some families manage to make it all come together (oftentimes, well) with all the bits and pieces crammed into their lives every which way but I just can't pull it off.  There was a facebook discussion that sprung up and I shared that I thought the end goal of feminism should be that you could get a degree in the home arts; that it would be considered just as rigorous as any other; and that men and women completed it in fairly equal numbers.  Keeping a home will never be of great monetary value, it simply won't work that way but it could be given intellectual worth.  My thought is that when the traditional tasks of a woman are as valued as the traditional tasks that were the realm of men, and, perhaps, most notably, the realm of wealth, then I will consider myself and my ambitions to have equal value in our culture.  I should however note, that over time, I've drifted away from self-identifying as a feminist, instead advocating a new paradigm where people are simply valued as a part of a larger unit- a familiest is the closest I can get to a label.  Feminism tends to be too adversarial for my taste with the functional result being that women are either left identifying themselves relative to men and/or in direct opposition to men.  I'd rather look at a family as a unit with an option for men or women who strike out on a different path to still have value, as well.  It takes all sorts...

Leila puts it well in this post when she says:
I don't know why being the manager of the home (leaving aside being its heart, and just purely looking at things job-wise) is considered... nothing.
Have you been to a hotel recently? Maybe to stay, or for a reception? Can you imagine even thinking, "This hotel is great. It's comfortable, welcoming, clean, and refreshing. The food tastes homemade. It's wonderful that this hotel has no manager." 
Laura says it even better:
Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women's work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Second, there is the fact that my main career goal was really always to be a wife and mother and keeper of the home. (Try saying that on career day!)  I went to college to get a degree, not to find a husband, but, those degrees are in Social Studies, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, and, the capper, a Master's in Early Childhood Special Education. (taking a moment to toot my own horn- I completed all 4 courses of study within 5 years- it can be done!)  It's not like they are "wasted" while I'm raising and educating and socializing these children.  A typical day leaves me feeling more as if I wish I had gotten even more education.

Mothers must know an impossibly much.  I must know the difference between a toad and a frog and a tortoise and a turtle.  I need to know what is sleet and what is freezing rain and why they aren't hail.  I must know what color shirt the planet Mars would wear and which planet would float in a bathtub (Saturn).  I must know how to count to 10 and then 20 and then 100 and then to infinity and beyond and within all that I must find a good spot for eleventeen.

I need to know why "know" has that pesky k and looks nothing like it sounds and offer up the reassurance that no other word will be quite that contrary.  I need to know why the sky is blue and why it's the dark clouds that make the rain.  I need to know where the puddles go and where streams end.

I need to know where fairies live and what leprechauns like to eat.  I need to who Wee Willy Winky is and why he cares if Jon is asleep.  I need to know why the moon is out when the sun is still up and why we sometimes go to bed when it's bright outside and sometimes wake when the sky is dark.  I need to know just the right mix of frown and hug.  I must know how to cross a street and count the stars and make a very long wait not quite so bad.

Most of all, I must know we haven't even gotten to the hard questions.

Someday I might go to Divinity School or get a therapy licence or even write a few children's books in which the Princess of Books and Princess of Geometry consult with the Princess of Botany, but, for now, my dreams have indeed come true and I am, in fact, doing the very work I once aspired to.


  1. I enjoyed this one. While that's not hard to do as you write well, this is a current struggle of mine so it hit home.

    1. Thank you so much, Patricia! That means a lot to me. :-)

  2. Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary Becky! Amen, we haven't gotten to the hard questions with our littles but it is being present in these early years answering the fairy questions and being together that will matter. I love this post...the old Stephanie might not have...but this one would like to give you a virtual "you rock" fist bump. Pow!