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The years teach much which the days never knew.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson


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mothering from the sidelines

It’s a quiet day here in our home – not much different than any other day.  Oatmeal, dishes, laundry, scrubbing potties, sweeping, mopping and thinking.  I mull over the topics discussed at the monthly “Titus 2” meeting last night.  Like the blast of cold air that makes you gasp when you open the back door on a blustery winter day, I recognize over and over that I’m living in the margin. It’s wide, uncharted territory for me. Out of the game, I watch from the side lines – my mantra over and over:  I can’t believe how fast it all went.  I feel sort of like the Fabio commercial clip Samuel showed me on the computer following last year’s Superbowl game.  “Life comes at ya fast…” and you instantly see a startling image on the screen.  The once dashing man… scary. So, life in the margin.  Life on the sideline.

Women were sharing the benefits of cloth diapering — showing and demonstrating the types of covers and diaper wraps.  And I realized yet another area where if you’re not in the game — if you’re not doing/using/needing it, then, man, are you “Sooooo last year.”  It’s sort of like talking about your favourite record or tape.  If you share what you used to do… You see the youngers sort of glaze over… squinch their eyes and look at you like you’ve just said the moon is made of swiss cheese.  Somehow, last night I mustered up the resolve to keep smiling, keep interested and enthused about the diapers.  I really was fascinated and interested.  Really… I *am* a gramma (and happy to be so, I might add)!
But weird… it was from the sideline.  I felt like I wanted to say… I know about diapering… I do, I do… I think I’ve changed something like a million of them.  Well, it probably seemed like millions at the time.  I can’t really remember being there with the cloth diapers… hands immersed in the toilet wringing out poopy diapers each day.  It wasn’t a problem to me and I didn’t make a big deal about the job or draw attention to the messes of each baby.  And so I guess that’s the difference I saw… I just got the diapers and the gerber plastic pants and the pins… ran them through my hair… pinned the diapers, pulled up the pants and off we went.  It wasn’t a big deal.  Clearly it was the only way I did things—I didn’t know there was another way and clearly didn’t know to wonder if there was one.

So I used the “chinese prefolds” for all the babies – gerber plastic pants for all the babies. Then I had a cast on my left arm when Hannah was a baby—I couldn’t maneuver the pinning (safely).  So, my first paper diapers.  I thought at the time:  Omygoodness, where have I been?  What was I thinking: cloth only… tsk, tsk.   I recall thinking: freedom!  what freedom!  I think I cloth diapered  for the next babies only for the first several months and then back to paper for each of them.  I know, I know… who cares?  Well, if you were to have been there last night and had you seen the sweet mothers discussing the benefits of one type over another and were you to have seen the sweet little babies theses young mothers were nursing and diapering—well, you’d see who cares and why it all mattered.

I know, I was there and saw all that from the sideline.

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  • There is a lot in what you say. Enough to keep me pondering for the rest of the week and relating. I remember once I had a Bible study for young mothers at my house and I had out a book table with all the books that had shaped my mothering. Only one girl looked at the books and I felt like a failure really. Months later at a meeting several of the girls starting talking about how much that Bible study meant to them and I was dumbfounded. Beautiful post.

  • But, you know, you are exactly where you are supposed to be!! These women, I am sure, recognize you for the gifted, talented, skilled older woman God intended to teach them the ways of loving their husbands and their children. It’s a weird position, really, when there are still young children in your own (and my) home…..and I completely understand that side lined feeling….had it last week, in fact, while a couple of young moms were discussing phonics After all, what could *I* possible know about phonics, right? 😉 Still, you’ll be there for them when their youthful exuberance runs its course and they need some good, solid time-tested answers.

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.