Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meatfare Week - Part Two (Resolutions)

I've been trying to think, all this week (as I put meat in recipes where it wasn't before, trying to remove temptation from the freezer), what precisely do I "resolve to solve" this Lent? All that's come to mind is a vague "Becoming a better wife and mother". Time to break down the vague into specifics.
What would I do if I were a better wife and mother?
To be a better mother:
As the one at home with Kittyboy for 9 hours a day, I should be instructing him more consistently in matters of faith. Two is not at all too young to learn about God and praying - he can make the sign of the cross, after all. And that is the simplest "prayer" that is. So I need to start actually scheduling prayer into our days - time to read a Bible story, look at and talk about some icons, and pick one of the many short, simple, memorable prayers I know to teach him. Shorter than the Lord's Prayer, more like "My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit - O Holy Trinity, glory to You." Not that Kittyboy can say ANY of those words yet, but as he hears it repeated, he will one day. Apart from the Jesus Prayer (Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me), that's about as basic as it gets. He's got a preschool Bible, but he keeps bringing me the grownup ones, because they have crosses on them, so if he'll sit for an abbreviated and skimmed-over first chapter of Genesis, I'll read from the grownup one. Some of the Psalms are really short, too. Psalm 117 - "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!" TWO VERSES. I wouldn't even need to find it, I could memorize that in a few minutes (and will, this evening).
And I need to work on getting him to recognize and sign JESUS. He gets Mary - he TOTALLY gets Mary. During Advent I sat down with him, the Nativity figures, the icon of the Nativity, and an icon of the Theotokos and Christ, to discuss who these People were and what Christmas was, and he figured out lickety-split that the beautiful woman with the baby was a MOMMY. And oh, what a Mommy she is, she's so beautiful and looks so loving, and she always has a Baby in her arms, and he likes babies too, and she must be just the most wonderful Mommy ever. He loves her. So... yeah. He has the concept of the Mother of God down pat. After all, it's the most basic relationship any baby understands - that of child and Mother. Now we start on GOD.
To be a better wife:
When I read Proverbs 31, I feel woefully inadequate. It's not that the wife described there is Superwoman - she does have servants, handmaids, to help her in her work. But that woman KNOWS what she is doing, and is mistress of her domain. She is fully capable of running her household, and knows it, and so she doesn't hesitate to ask, "Which should I do first, the dishes or the laundry? Should I pick up the toys or put away the clean clothes? Should I clean this room as it is, or rearrange it first so that it's more efficient, then clean it when I know where I want to keep everything? And how am I ever going to get all this flax spun and woven?" My mind is incredibly disorganized and my house reflects that - yet inwardly, I am a perfectionist. The combination of those two things basically guarantees that anything ever really gets done - I know that I want everything just so, but I can't decide what to do when or how or in what order, and so I end up doing NOTHING. I don't consider myself capable of doing what is really MY JOB, and so I don't try. It's not an excuse, but there you have it.
I just thought of something else - she takes pride in what she does. Housework is not what she does while staying home with the children in lieu of a job. Her family is her life's work, and her household - in which the children grow and are nurtured, to which the husband comes home at night to rest - is by extension also her life's work.
I have thought of my household as something of which I would be proud, if only it were clean and well-run and in order. Perhaps it would be cleaner, better run, and in better order if I took greater pride in MY life's work.

No comments: