Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why does the early bird get the worm

There are two completely contradictory old sayings, and I am frustrated by the opposing "wisdom." The first saying is, "The early bird gets the worm." The second (and apparently opposing perspective) is that good things come to those who wait.

I have rarely been the early bird getting the worm. Waiting, however, has proven to be very beneficial in many cases, until now.

Saturday, I visited a friend's open house. She has sold a variety of products for home-based businesses and was clearing some of her excess inventory. In addition to a couple practical items and a Christmas gift, I found a beautiful white tea set, with two cups. Though the price was very reasonable, I am generally hesitant to make such a frivolous purchase quickly or without consulting my husband. So, I walked away, content to contemplate the pros and cons of such an investment in extravagance.

Several hours and conversations later, I reached a conclusion; I wanted that tea set. So I called my friend to see if I could go pick it up. Shock and disappointment filled my heart; the set had just been sold! After stammering my disappointment, I said goodbye. A short time later, I called back to see if perhaps I could purchase a couple of books about tea, as a consulation. Wouldn't you know it; those books were sold too!

Still suffering from the sting of disappointment, I am turning my frustration into a blog. And posing a question. Which is it? Do good things come to those who wait, or do early birds get worms? Can the two bits of wisdom both be true? If so, how, and if not, why not? Which do you see as more valuable? Why? Have you ever been disappointed?

I am really curious about what you think. Thanks for leaving your comments.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Caroling with Murphy...

Christmas caroling is a long-treasured family tradition. Some years we are more successful than others, but we almost always have fun. This year, however, will most definitely go down in the books as one of the craziest ever. After getting a late start (for lots of reasons), we headed off intothe night. It quickly became obvious that this experience was going to be unique. It also became very clear we had brought an uninvited guest; Murphy (of Murphy's Law fame) along with us.

Arrival at our first destination, 20 minutes away on foggy, unfamiliar roads, was reached successfully enough. Arriving with any measure of subtlty, however, was completely unsuccessful. Traveling, by necessity (due to the size of our group), in two cars, horns blarred as our cars almost collided. Then, Christmas cheer was greatly dampened as we backed into the car of our intended "carolee." Thankfully no damage was done, at least to the car. Our pride was a little tattered.

Proceeding to our next stop, the two vehicles became seperated. That wasn't nearly as memorable as getting lost along the way. Remember, we were driving on foggy, unfamiliar streets. To top it off, no one was home when we arrived. At least most of the kids can buckle themselves now!

Our next stop was, by far, the most entertaining. Arriving with little more stealth than our first unwitting victim, I mean recipient, though without the horns or crashing into cars, our presence was detected early.

Unfortunately, it didn't seem well received. Lights were on and people were obviously home, but no one came to the door. We sang anyway. And knocked, and rang the door bell, and sang some more. Our serenade drew the attention of the dog of the house (picture Carl, the rottweiler), who barked menacingly, for a moment. Then he diappeared. And, we caught a glimpse of someone.

We knew they were home. So we sang (the same song, of course) louder, with more enthusiasm, while ringing the door, again.

No joke; it was probably ten minutes before anyone opened the door! I really think they were not interested in being caroled to. Unfortunately for them, we didn't get the hint. In the end, I think they were blessed.

Things ended on a positive note. The final house we caroled to enjoyed our visit very much. And no one cried until the very end.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christ-free Christmas

What is the reason for Christmas? Why do we celebrate this winter holiday, with such a hodge podge of traditions, anyway? Retailers love it because somehow gift giving became part of the celebration, along with decorating and having parties, so people spend LOTS of money this time of year. It is a great excuse to get together with family and friends, eat yummy food, and take a break. But what is the point? Why?

Have you attended a public school Christmas program recently? Awash with political correctness, the program I attended earlier this week tried to address the questions posed here. The answers, sadly, were empty; Christmas is about food, gifts, decorations, spending time with family and friends, and love. But why? The darling elementary-aged children didn't really have an answer.

Why do you celebrate Christmas? Is it something you grew up with, a tradition you are passing on to your children? Is it because everyone else does it and you don't want to be a Scrouge? Why do you celebrate Christmas? Do you even really enjoy Christmas?

Consider; why do you celebrate this particular holiday? If it has nothing to do with the historical reasons (you know, a baby in a manger, shepherds, stars, wise men and angels, that sort of thing), why not? Do you know about the historical background for Christmas? Do you want to know?

Just some thoughts...

Babies DON'T keep!!

Many mamas are familiar with the poem, "Song for a Fifth Child" by Ruth Hubert Hamilton, but I've pasted it in below because I needed the reminder. Babies can not and do not wait. Days may be long, with diapers to change, laundry to wash (and dry, fold, And put away), meals to cook (and clean up), and much, much more. But the years are very, VERY short. One day you are holding a tiny baby. The next, you are staring in the face of an adult! What is the more important investment; your house or the future adult in your arms?!

Social pressures weigh heavy. We think everyone else keeps an immaculate home, and if we are good mamas, we will, too. Medical wisdom pushes us to parent for convenience, with the goal to as quickly as possible have our babies sleep through the night, on their own.

After 16 years of parenting, and lots of baby rocking (with eight kids, I've had plenty of opportunity), I know that dust and dishes will definitely keep; mine have! Babies don't. Even if you rock them all the time (like I have with my youngest, due to severe reflux and sensory issues), babies don't stay babies. It is hard, because the tasks are so obvious and absolutely necessary, but Ruth Hubert Hamilton was right, babies do not keep. Here is the poem, in its entirety. Enjoy...

"Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

Hang out the washing and butter the bread,

Sew on a button and make up the bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,

(Lullaby, Rockaby, lullaby, loo.)

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,

(Pat-a-Cake, darling and peek, peekaboo).

And out in the yard there is hullabaloo.

But I'm playing kanga and this is my Roo.

Look aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?

(Lullaby, Rockaby, lullaby loo)

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."