I was pregnant with my first child and in graduate school when I read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. As I listened to my classmates, mostly older mothers, talk at length about the sense of malaise they’d felt when their kids were young, I thought it would never happen to me. I would never fall prey to “the problem that has no name.” I was educated. I had chosen to become a mother, so certainly I would not be one of those women who ferried cub scouts all day and lay in bed at night wondering, “‘Is this all?’”
Fifteen years later, it’s my preoccupying worry.
A few years ago, I won a writing contest, and got a check for $50 in the mail. I didn’t want to cash it; I wanted to frame it. It’s the only time I’ve ever made money for my writing. It was both incredibly gratifying to be paid and a little bit depressing to see that the sum total of years of my work is less than my husband could make in an hour. Marriage isn’t a competition– I know that. But it still rankles. Continue reading
In the world of Harry Potter, a boggart is a shape-shifting creature that hides in enclosed spaces like closets or cabinets. When released, the boggart takes on the shape of its victim’s worst fear. At school, Harry and his friends battle boggarts that look like giant spiders, disappointed teachers, or bloody mummies; in one particularly poignant scene towards the end of the series, Molly Weasley confronts a boggart that keeps turning into each of her family members dying, in turn. I’ve got a boggart in my closet, and it seems to change shape too. Sometimes it looks like the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons, spouting gibberish and flinging cats at anyone who tries to approach her. Other days I think it might be Eponine, patron saint of lonely third-wheels perpetually stuck in the friend zone. Perhaps it’s Miss Havisham, moldering away in her wedding dress. Continue reading
Lapis Lazuli ring of love
I am a proponent of having friends and family of all ages, faiths and “worthiness-es” join to support and celebrate marriages on the wedding day. There is something moving and profound in answering “We will!” when an officiator asks the gathered crowd, “Will all of you witnessing these vows do all in your power to support these two and their marriage?” Regardless of what you send the couple off their registry, this communal commitment to support and sustain their marriage with them is the best wedding present of all.
That feels absolutely right to me.
A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune mentioned the prospect that soon LDS couples in North America may not have to wait a year between having a civil wedding and their temple sealing. This is standard in most other areas of the international church.
Hallelujah, I say. This adds a dimension of honor to the couple’s promises for this life – and their covenants beyond time.
So with all this joy, hope and love in the air, I offer you a little literary frolic. It’s a non-rhyming poetic puzzle which provides the answer to the question:
When Did Vincent Finally Commit?
Vincent vanished into the vault, vowing to return with valuables.
Amanda, annoyed at his absence, altered her attitude when, at
Last, laden with lapis lazuli, he lavishly locked lip to lip with her.
Encircling his enamorata with embraces, he exclaimed while
Nestling a nice nugget over her knuckle, “En-
Twine with me th’eternal tendrils of your timelessness,
In integrity, ingenuity and imagination – both in illness and inoculation – in perpetuity
Never to nick off to nether lands, nor nag nor niggle nor canoodle with another.
Sighing, she said,
“Darling, I DO!”
“Yes! Yes! Yes!”
“Well, the break up takes place in parts. The brain, the heart, the body, mutual things, shared things. The mind leaves but the heart is still there. The heart has left but the body wants to stay. The body leaves but the things are still at the apartment. You must come back. You move everything out of the apartment. You must come back. You move everything out of the apartment but the mind stays behind. Memory lingers in the place. Seven years later, perhaps seven years later, it doesn’t matter anymore. Perhaps it takes longer. Perhaps it never ends.”
- Paula from Fefu and her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes
One of the most interesting plays I ever performed in was Fefu and her Friends. It’s a feminist play that’s pretty prickly around the edges. The characters (all female) muse on different topics: relationships, evil, genitals, charity skits, etc. I found it confusing, yet exhilarating at the same time, with poetic passages that have stuck with me long after the performance.
The quote above is given by the character, Paula, speaking of human connections and the process of breaking up. It’s a convoluted monologue, but the statements resonate. I’ve never had a clean break up—the separation occurs in stages, often erratically, with one part of the psyche alternately hanging on, and then letting go when another part kicks in. Continue reading
Today’s guest post comes from Bonnie, a working mom of five kids who just celebrated her 15th anniversary with her soul mate. You will always find a book nearby and at least two on her night stand. She loves discussing all life has to offer with her book club friends, and staying up to all hours in the morning playing games with as many of her seven brothers as possible. Her current goal is to achieve balance spiritually and temporally.
I love new beginnings. To the point, that I create them even when not necessary. It drives my husband mad! But there is one new beginning that I share often because it was so powerful and so……defining.
The one that stands out to me is after the birth of our fifth child, a girl. We had a hard time accepting that we were pregnant, yet again. The timing was all wrong and we were just starting to get our feet under us. Our job situation was bleak – working opposite shifts and four boys under age six to keep us busy. We never saw each other. Our marriage was on the rocks, our activity in the church was almost nil, and our home was ripped up because we thought we could remodel during this time. Then to find out we were bringing another child into this chaotic life.
During this pregnancy, after several nights of crying, and lots of thoughts of “how in the world are we going to do this”, I had a quiet moment of peace. And the Spirit whispered to me, “When this child comes, she will touch your lives and they will change for the better.” Such a sweet peace came over me and allowed me to continue my pregnancy without fear and worry about the effect a fifth child will have on our lives. Continue reading