Remembering hurts. It hurts in a place that doesn’t have words, only muffled sounds of deep regret.
I look back and see her with different eyes. I was her teenage daughter, self-consumed, reacting in fear and frustration. She was a mother of two grown women and two teenage girls, but now one of her adult daughters had become an infant again through a near-fatal drowning. What was that like for her, to have her motherhood go from one of releasing to coddling and protecting once more?
My mommie’s voice was seldom shrill. When it was, we had pushed her too far, and that day, I was the one to push her over the edge. I don’t remember the chore, I can still feel the shrug climbing up my shoulders as the mask of apathy freezes my features in defiance. It wasn’t my task, no one had asked me to do it. So I shrugged and gave my excuse for why I hadn’t helped out.
My mother, this godly woman, crumbled before my eyes, “I don’t know what we did or said wrong, but you act like just because we didn’t tell you to do something, you don’t have to. You are a part of this family, please act like it.” Her suffering was apparent.
I have thought over and over about what she said to me. Family meant team to her, but I was looking at it as a group of individuals enjoying the provision and protection of the head unit, my parents. I figured because I obeyed my parents, following what they said they wanted from me, I was good. I wasn’t interested in doing extra unless I enjoyed the task. Cooking for the family from new recipes, sure! Dusting and vacuuming? No, thank you. I was busy trying to get my life where I wanted it to be, and that did not include being stuck inside all day helping my mother with chores that were hers because she was the mom.
But now I’m the mom, and I want to raise children who view this house as their home. I want them to recognize as it as a place to practice hospitality, as a place to grow kindness, to nurture patience. I want them to know the cost of living in a family that functions together so that when they move forward beyond the borders of our abode, they will understand time-management, they will understand the benefits of teamwork, they will recognize companions that will urge them on to do great things in God’s name.
My mother taught me a great deal when she broke down and honestly revealed what my selfish attitude was costing our family. I don’t think she recognized the cost until our family was running on fumes from time-consuming trips back and forth to hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Like most kids, my sisters and I had often taken my mother for granted. She was a homemaker in the truest sense of the word, but it took a crisis to help me realize I had picked up from her only the skills that I wanted to learn, not the essence of truly making a house a home. I don’t know if I ever got my act together while I was still in high school, but I did make a start, and now my husband and I are working with the diligent aim of creating strong children who can take care of themselves, but work as vital members of a team.
Recently, I posted some fun ideas on FaceBook about delegating chores and such. The response I received was overwhelming. I have created pins to be shared across social media that may inspire some ideas on how to help family’s work together so that the hard work of keeping a home running smoothly is shared. One of the best things my oldest daughter told me shows we might be on the right track. “I’m glad I can help. I’m proud that we can do this together.”
I miss my mommie. I know she would have been thrilled to know that we are working on this as a team.
For further meditation:
Here are things to consider and modify, not things to be overwhelmed by! Use and them if they work, toss them if they don’t! Also, remember that this addresses the outer appearance of the home, what we see with our eyes. More about the inner home later 🙂
Let me know, what does work for you? What is your most helpful homemaking tip?