Monday, May 10, 2010

Unpacking in Denver

Good to see you again, Anteaters. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but the end result is that I'm sitting in bed in Denver while Viking plays video games and Kid is snuggled up beside me eating pizza in bed (and totally getting crumbs in it. That's what the little attachment on your vacuum is for people.)

The important point is that during the packing and unpacking mayhem (details which will follow in an upcoming post,) I stumbled across one of Kid's batpism gifts (as well as the certificate.) It's a book called "Prayers for My Child" with prayers and (super creepy) paintings by Ron DiCianni, although to be honest the majority of the book is blank spaces for parents to write in their own special prayers (because God needs things written down?) and quotes of *other* people about religion or prayer (or family life.)

Here's one that made me sorta queesy, attributed to Andrew Carnegie.
Give me the life of the boy whose mother is nurse, seamstress, washerwoman, cook, teacher; angel and saint, all in one, and whose father is guide, exemplar, and friend. No servants to come between. These are the boys who are born to the best fortune.
Whether or not these boys really are the most fortunate is debateable (and debated still today, in the ranks of the media-concocted "mommy wars.") My question is whether or not this is a good fortune for the mother. The mother's role described in this sentence has almost nothing to do with how I see myself as a mother. Teacher, yes, and friend, and role-model, and advocate. Also, notice how mom gets stuck with all the grunt work while dad gets to be the one who's admired? Yeah, it bugged me, too.

In a five paragraph long prayer (by the book's author) on "Childhood" are some of the most chilling phrases I've stumbled across in a children's book in ages. In a prayer to "Gracious Father" our parent asks,
Please help me to filter out all the negative stories I hear of what happens when children grow. It disturbs me to be assaulted by the fear of what could happen. I want to stay confident that your grace will be sufficient for each new day.
This is like a cross between FOX News style paranoia inducement and the Word of Faith teaching on "negative confessions" (simply saying or hearing a bad thing gives it power to manifest.) The combination of fear and no preperation is painfully remniscent of my childhood. As a parent, it's not pleasant to think of pedophiles, drunk driving accidents, or teen pregnancy, but it is my JOB. Surely it matters more that I teach my son no one is allowed to abuse his body, than it matters if we tend to eat sandwhiches, pizza, and frozen dinners. So what solution to the upsetting problems does our praying parent prefer? Why, more prayer of course!
I ask that You would watch out for my child in the running, playing, and learning of everyday. (Hell, it's gotta be easier to let God watch out for your kid than to do it yourself!) Be Guardian, Protector, and dearest Friend. I ask that You cover this child with Your wings. May this bew the beginning of the realization, for both of us, that you are our real parent.
Wha-at? Lady, God is imaginary and even if you do abdicate your role as guardian, protector, and friend to your child, that doesn't mean "He's" going to jump in to take over. I wish someone had told my mom that.

Four years ago when I got this book, I thought it was pretty. I never filled it out because, uh, premade scrapbooks are kind of horribly cheesy and just not my thing. (I won't devote the effort to make it look good, so it just looks like a C+ art project, from back when elementary schools could still afford art programs.) Still, it's kind of amazing how far I've shifted from slavish maternity to ... wanting to be a complete person for my son, not just a role of duties and responsibilities and (yuck) housework.

Speaking of housework... Lots to do! I promise a more coherent post soon.