Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Chesterton describes the great gift of motherhood: “It is not difficult to see why … the female became the emblem of the universal … Nature …. surrounded her with very young children, who require being taught not so much anything as everything. Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment … is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. … How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”
Friday night I asked my bride what she wanted for Mother’s Day. She told me, "To work in the garden, not to cook and some alone time.”
Today I took our youngest to the park for several hours and while there I ran into a buddy of mine. He was there with his children too.
As we were chatting we noticed that there were many men there with their kids and only one or two moms. We laughed as we came to realize that many moms wanted a Mother’s Day where they could pretend that they weren’t mothers. Sometimes the task is so ginormous that even these super heroes need, not so much as a break but the illusion of a break, to regroup before Monday when she will continue again to unfold the universe for little hands and big eyes.

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