When Life is Stripped Down to The Basics


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One afternoon before a special occasion, I was ironing cotton dresses and shirts for church the next day. Six year old Mara watched for a while and then pointed to the iron and asked,

“What is that mummy?”

I laughed because I realized that this little girl had never seen me iron; I usually used the clothes dryer as my wrinkle smoother when I wasn’t looking for perfection but rather efficiency. Actually it was not just the iron that seldom received attention as I mothered a large family, something that I considered essential was eliminated from my life with the birth of every child.mary-cassatt-1844-1926-motherhood-278x300

Painting portraits went with Matthew. Other births gave the boot to crafts, dusting, bread making, interesting meals and laundry folding ( each child dressed out of their own personal laundry basket). As every mother knows, a newborn takes at least eight hours a day to nurse, burp, rock and comfort, bath, change clothes and diapers( at least ten times a day), and to wash diapers, clothes, receiving blankets, sheets and baby blankets as well as your clothes which tend to get covered in vomit, and other nasty surprises1 crop Hamilton_Falling_Apple_Blossoms

Guess what?The lack of sleep leads to a rather narrow existence where the best days are when you can sneak in a nap or shower and dress before noon. Oh, those were the days when life was reduced to the basics.

Those basics were actually miraculous when I relaxed and allowed myself to live in the moment, enjoying my newborn rather than bemoaning all the important activities that I couldn’t seem to even start. The very fact that everything that my little one required to grow and thrive was inexpensive and near at hand was amazing. My baby didn’t need a lot of money spent on him, he simply needed arms to hold him, mother’s milk to drink and warm clothes and blankets.

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A friend who had five children, couldn’t quite grasp my peaceful demeanour as I sat nursing a newborn with family life whirling about me. She finally surmised that I was content to enjoy the present experience of mothering a tiny, dependent newborn.

I think that I was given the gift of understanding that although I strove to run the household well, ultimately I trusted that my failings would be covered and hidden by Love.

6 thoughts on “When Life is Stripped Down to The Basics

  1. Timely. As I looked overwhelmingly at the many posts with which to choose from my inbox, I picked this one. I am there, and I pray for the understanding that you were graced with. I fret so over the house as our latest gift (Joey), who will be one year old on the 15th, is growing rapidly. I pray for the trust that things will get done ~ if I put His kingdom first. Thanks Melanie.

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