Sunday, September 02, 2007

hurried moms...

I began a sweet little book today. It was written by Katrina Kenison, an author I really didn't recognize the name of at first. It is called: Mitten Strings For God: reflections for mothers in a hurry. Reading the first chapter, I discovered something interesting about her--she was friends with Olive Ann Burns. Do you recognize that author's name? I sure did as she was the author of one of my favorite southern novels, Cold Sassy Tree. She died of cancer before she could finish the sequel and Kenison was asked by Burn's family to pull the notes together and give the sequel some closure for all the fans of Sassy Tree.

As Katrina mulled over the notes and remembered her conversations with Olive Ann she discovered a little nugget of something that pulled at her heartstrings, and it really began to solidify for her when she came across this note Olive had written to herself:

"I have learned to quit speeding through life, always trying to do too many things too quickly, without taking the time to enjoy each day's doings. I think I always thought of real living as being high. I don't mean on drugs--I mean real living was falling in love, or when I got my first job, or when I was able to help somebody, or watch my baby get born, or have a good morning of really good writing. In between the highs I was impatient--you know how it is--life seemed so Daily. Now I love the dailiness. I enjoy washing dishes. I enjoy cooking, I see my father's roses out the kitchen window, I like picking beans. I notice everything--bird songs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain. These things I took for granted before."

For me I ask: How do we slow down--and really understand how short our time with our kid's at home with us will be--or even our time on earth??? How can we get the most out of these years of mothering? How do we slow down--do we even want to slow down?

Katrina says, " ...Ours is a society that places high value on achievement and acquisitions. the subtle rewards of contemplation, quiet and deep connection with another human being are held in low esteem.... Can we keep our sights on what is important in any given moment? Do we know how to shut the door, stop the noise, and tune in to our own inner lives?"

Oh boy--can I relate to this last phrase. I feel like our life in suburbia is too much! Too much noise, too much trying to keep up with the Jone's (often times rationalized that we do it for our children so they don't feel inferior) Sometimes I simply want to scream, "Stop the ride I want to get off!!" I want to appreciate and find joy in the dailiness.

" We provide our children with so much that the extraordinary isn't special anymore, and the subtle rhythms of daily life elude us altogether. We do too much and savor too little. We mistake activity for happiness, and so we stuff our children's days with activities and their heads with information, when we ought to be feeding their souls instead. I know a mother who came upon her two-year old sitting alone , lost in a daydream, and worried that he was 'wasting time.' "

What a nugget of truth--something that speaks to my heart--when I manage to slow down long enough to even think about the meaning of her words and how they apply to my life, my family, my mothering.... I think I will enjoy pondering thoughts from this book and journaling about them on my blog....until next is a little picture of putting some of this in action in our own family--instead of turning on the t.v. or retreating to our little corners with our current books, (both things I have no problem with, within reason) we played a game with the boys.
Mexican Train Dominoes: We had a great time, full of laughter and jokes and reminicsing over a camping trip we took 2 years ago where we played this game each night on the picnic table next to our campfire--a slow moving relaxing trip which I hope to do again next summer with our two youngest.

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Joyful Days said...


This post has blessed me so much. It speaks about what is going on in my heart right now. My prayer is that my children won't think I am "too busy" for their "little things." The big things are easier, but it is those tiny moments--playing a game, a little snuggle--I want to be there for those too.

I will be looking at those authors.
Thanks for this.


annie said...

You are so right Kim, this post was very timely for me too. We are enjoying a quiet, slow, lazy day today together as a family and it is nice to slow down!

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Wonderful post Kim, and I so agree. Life is so short and these days, everyone is so busy. I hate missing time with family and friends because we're so busy with stuff and keeping up with the Jones's, as you put it :) I'm totally and thoroughly for jumping off the fast track (which is what I'm doing my best to do). :)

We LOVE Mexican Train Dominoes. We used to play all the time with my husband's family, but haven't in a long while. We need to all get together and play sometime again soon. :)

Have a wonderful day!

Karen said...

This is a great post, Kim. I really want to relish the ordinary moments, instead of waiting impatiently for all the highs. It's funny, but I bought the Mitten Strings for God book for our parish library. I held onto it to read first, and just never got to it (you know, that big ole stack of books). I'll have to check it out from the library now!

Thanks for tagging me for the meme! I'll get to it soon:)