Hold it in your hand and if it doesn’t bring you joy, throw it away. Maree Kondo said this and I am definitely a fan.
This whole simplistic movement including capsule wardrobes, simplistic meals, minimalistic rooms, I have bought the apps and gained the emotional muscle as it definitely makes a moms day easier; much easier. And after a few decades of minimalism, I can declare that I reap the benefits of consistent ‘less is more’ living; except in one area. Stories. Books, movies, theatre; any form really. Each are a treasure and plants seeds of truth with prophetic potential. And the collection of stories I have represented by my upstairs library would make Maree Kondo seizure. They are like children to me; though not as treasured as the children who helped fill this library and I have a rather large collection of those too. But my favourite stories are not on my upstairs shelves. They are in my memory and are of my own life with my family, one space Maree is ineffective in decluttering. It is a comfort to tell them; my children humour me in listening.
One story that they know well is a day which starts like any other; a young child catapulting a two litre milk onto my belly whilst I sleep. He is hungry. It is dark. I ignore him as the child I am pregnant with was getting heavy. Yes. Ignoring his hunger was a regrettable choice. The consequences were waiting for me in the kitchen as was my son, sweet and tender hearted having got his own
‘That masterpiece of a child with whom she has poured hours and years and decades of work and love, she will give them away. The ultimate Maree Kondo act but not because they didn’t bring her joy; because their child found joy in another.’
breakfast. A two litre of milk poured into a large packet of rice bubbles. By God’s grace, I stayed calm. Really it was just that I had no energy but it was definitely obvious that we were all having rice bubbles for breakfast. Mentally, I did math. How many hours were there until there were more adults in the room. A good nine I imagined and they would be guests; our connect group. This was just the start of a day not of naughtiness but merely childishness (although a lot of it) and it was going to work me hard.
A good metaphor to explain the retelling of these tales is like a soldier explaining how he is missing a leg. These are my battle stories that I survived and then proceed to have my very own remembrance day; like ANZAC. Although, is this not what Mother’s Day is? The day we get to remember that this gig called motherhood is usually given to a young girl who has not done any official mother training and whose emotional capacity graduated from the university of Disney.
Yet, mother and child will grow together; the child in size and practical skills sets like sitting up, and graduation from a diaper; the mother in absolute self-sacrifice to her child’s needs (which are great). Then momma will spend the next few decades training with the goal to do herself out of a job; practically, but never completely emotionally. And then the final exam, the hardest one. That masterpiece of a child with whom she has poured hours and years and decades of work and love, she will give them away. The ultimate Maree Kondo act but not because they didn’t bring her joy; because their child
found joy in another. We get to remember that mothering isn’t about aiming at a predetermined outcome or manipulating events to produce a cookie cutter to prove we made it. We remember it is about doing all in a love that is unaffected by their behaviour, to leave the outcome to the creator of love and celebrate through the guaranteed mess, that we have remained connected. We get to remember that through our generated history as mother and child, we have the treasure of knowing and being known. And we get to remember that since our belief systems are from the same pot, we get to humbly grow together discovering our God, our worth and our world.
But the opus; on this momma’s remembrance day, Mother’s Day, I am very aware that without my children, I don’t get to mother, so I get to celebrate them and the gift they are as I witness them living their lives from a front row seat. But juxtaposed against this joy is a joy deferred as I need to wait to meet some babies I didn’t get to hold this side of heaven. So this Sunday, I will cook up eggs, (no cereal here anymore), sit on the few remaining chairs left after the joyless chairs were removed, look at the babies that I haven’t yet given away and enjoy them from a contented place whilst anticipating the next battle. That next life problem that will push me beyond myself; but by George, it will tell a great story and it will bring me great joy.
Written by Sandra De Hoogh: Listener of Rhema FM, lover of stories, people, cows, Harleys and the guy who created air.