Sunday, May 11, 2008

It's after 1:00 am and the house is quiet. A single bulb in the lamp across the room pulls shadows across the wall, bathing the tidy room in a soft, almost reluctant glow that seems to know the world should be sleeping. Her sewing machine is resting in the corner. It's been on the kitchen table for the past few days, running stitches through new fabric and old clothes, turning holed jeans and slacks into summer shorts, fixing a suit, sewing scraps into clothes for Mr. Baseball's doggy, and in just a few hours one evening, producing a striking gift to send to her own mom for mother's day. "I like to sew," she tells me when I come home from running errands. "It's satisfying."

The kitchen sink is empty except for a few drink cups and the crock pot. This morning, while I was at school studying, she stirred together some Split Pea Soup, and it cooked all day--She made a big batch, enough for three, maybe four meals. We used to tease her, when she was pregnant with the Monkey, about over cooking. "Why make a double batch, when you can quadruple it?" She would say. And she was always right. We ate it all, and what we didn't eat, we froze, and ate after the baby came. She keeps a binder with menus and recipe ideas, and when she's on top of her game, Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, and The Iron chef would have trouble keeping up with her. She laughs, actually, when she reads some of Rachael's and Martha's recipes: "35 ingredients? three hours to prepare? Serves two? You obviously don't have kids to take care of," she says. And still, inside somewhere she actually feels guilty that she can't do everything she wants to for her boys, the apartment, her church assignments, me.

By the door, on the shoe hutch, sits a large paper and cardboard beehive she made this morning, after she put in the soup. She'll use it tomorrow at church as part of a game to help her primary children learn a new song. She's had us singing it for weeks. Every morning before I head off to work, we sit on the couch and she coaxes a new song out of Mr. Baseball and me. Even the monkey occasionally waves his arms to the melody. And tonight, after the kids were asleep we sat on the couch and she told me how much she hates Saturday nights because she gets so nervous. Playing the Organ for the entire congregation--a congregations that includes one of the foremost Organists in Church, perhaps the country--is enough to maker her sick sometimes, though she only shows it in her anxious desire to get to church a half-hour early so she can practice before people begin to show up. During the week, when we go to the church so she can practice, she asks me how it sounds, and all I can say from my untrained ears is "sounds great," and I know she thinks I'm supposed to say that, but she really does sound wonderful, and she has no idea what she does for the people who come every week to sing and feel, through the reverberations of her organ, the power, and love, and word of God.

The book shelf is full of library books. Kids books by the dozens of course, but also about a half-dozen books on child birth education. I catch her often with her nose in the binding of one of them, and I know she is as excited as she is nervous about the training, about the business, about the challenge. And I can picture the couples she will teach, and the one-on-one work she will do to help couples prepare for pregnancy and childbirth, and I hope she sees what she has to offer them.

Our apartment is small, and only really gets quiet like this at night, when everyone is, or should be asleep. Here, accompanied by the low hum of the computer, I think about this idea of staying. We are a country on the go. We go to school and to work, we go out, we go up, go in, and go over. Progress, change, expansion. That's what we do. So when a mother chooses to "stay home," she must deal with the social implications of not "going," the implied inaction of "staying at home." That could not be further from the truth, but she deals with the question of validity every day. Should she be working? Isn't she already?

Happy Mother's Day Queen Bee. You keep the hive humming, and make life sweet. we love you.


Alex said...

Yay! I love you too Queen Bee! So fun to read about you. Let's talk soon!

cari said...

What a beautiful tribute Joey! She really is something special!

Ma Fitz said...

Of course you would be a fabulous mother to my grandsons. I just couldn't see it any other way.

Happy (belated) Mother's Day, and thank you for the lovely home-sewn apron. It is perfect!

Shiloh said...

Beautiful, and well deserved.

Shalae said...

Awesome Post!