Thursday, April 1, 2010
I’m gearing up for a week of mixed blessings. Sunday is Easter, of course, and it’s the most important holy day in my faith. I love Easter services—the lilies, the music, the meaning. I especially love the Easter Sunrise service. My rural church has its own service, overlooking the church’s century-old cemetery. After the service, the men cook breakfast--great food and fellowship. But I have to get up at 5:30, and I am a morning grump who wakes up one eyelash at a time. That’s the mix in the blessings of the day.
Next week is spring break for all the grands’ schools. They are overjoyed! Since the various mommies and daddies involved don’t have breaks from their jobs, the grands will be spending part of their break with us. The invas—uh—the visits begin Friday when the two out-of-towners, ages 9 and 18 months, arrive for a four-day stay. This will be the longest visit the little one has paid without the parents, and we’ve been baby-proofing the house. I’m sure we’ll forget something. Monday through Friday, we will have the terrific twosome (brothers 6 and 8) from 7:30 to 5:30. Three more will join them Friday, and next Saturday the whole family will be here. I adore them all: our princess bookends—the oldest, who is 10 going on 19, and the youngest, our 18-month-old who seems to learn something new every minute—and the five mostly rough-and-tumble, video-game-obsessed boys who fall between them. I marvel at their beauty, wisdom, and energy. I delight in their laughter and their hugs. I am thrilled by their stories of awkward princesses who can’t dance, taller-than-trees dinosaurs who befriend robins and mocking birds, and the invisible bear who inhabits the woods behind our house. Walking with one of them along a familiar path always allows me to see some part of my world in a new way. But there must be some law that the volume of noise multiplies by ten for each child added. The quiet moments I cherish to create and contemplate will be nonexistent for a while. Their loss will be the mix in the blessings of the week.
I’m currently on deadline, writing 25 essays on women of the 21st century, individually or in groups. I made the mistake of writing the easy ones first, the ones I know something about, the ones who have names I can pronounce. The articles I still have to write are about women politicians in small countries, aboriginal artists, and female clergy. I love the research--the mining of sources, the unexpected discoveries, the startling facts. I really would have been happy to have remained a student throughout my life (so long as I was excused from math). But the writing itself will be hard. I will struggle to find words to do justice to achievements in fields where my knowledge is shallow and contexts mere shadows. I will feel inept and inadequate. These feelings are the mix in the blessings of my work.
But on balance, I count myself fortunate indeed. Perhaps the blessings would seem less wondrous and dear if I lacked the contrast of the small losses and sacrifices and concerns. I’m grateful to be gearing up for my week of blessings, mixes and all.
What are you looking forward to—or dreading a bit—this first week in April. Are your blessings mixed?