Thursday, March 12, 2009

Progress

Sometimes I'm really quiet for a long time, because I just can't think of anything to write, or writing what I want takes too much time/effort/thought when I finally get around to it. I like to think of all you readers waiting on the edges of your seats, but I actually hope that isn't the case because I sometimes have these long stretches of silence! I'm working on it. I am. I have a busy couple of weeks coming up here, but I promise I'll make this an interesting piece of internet space soon enough.

Phill was talking about a university that will give him credit for his military service. I think that makes perfect sense. But then I joked, "Oh! Do you think that they give credit for moms, too? Because, I mean, that's....that's a lot of experience, too...." Which started me thinking. Can you imagine a phone call like that?

"Hello, Rachel! This is Life University calling. We just took a look at our records and we'd like to give you some information regarding our school and the way your current education could be put to use here! Do you have a moment?"

"Not really. But I'm intrigued; go on."

"Well, the system goes something like this: Each year of your child's life counts as one school year. And each time they were incredibly sick and you held them and comforted them when you felt like falling over counts as one completed class. We also shave a little off the price of tuition for each time you have to buy food for your family, buy new shoes for each child, get hair cuts for each child, or have to make a doctors' visit co-pay. Furthermore, Mrs. DeVault, we award credit for each stretch mark, each pound gained during pregnancy, each hour of labor, and every time you woke up in the night to feed your baby. And if you were very sick with any of these pregnancies, we'd like to offer you a lifetime supply of gift cards from your favorite restaurant--the one you couldn't go to until you were all better."

What would I be?! Professor Parent? Doctor DeVault? Master Mama?

All of my joking is really leading up to what I'm trying to say, which isn't a joke at all: I am starting to see how progress works. Just a tiny bit at a time, we learn and we expand and our comfort zones enlarge....suddenly a few years have gone by and we're startled to realize that *GASP!* we have progressed!

Some of the things that used to seem so daunting to me now feel like a breeze. A lot of things that intimidated me I have overcome or at least can manage. Although I doubt myself and my strength more as a mother than I ever did, with those daily tests come daily confidence as I conquer. (And daily chances to improve my faith when I fall short.)

I'm not saying that I'm perfect or professional or that I have "arrived".....on the contrary, I am saying that we don't arrive! We learn. We inch along. We take little bites and find in time that we have eaten the whole.....enchilada? My sister told me (from something she read) that progress is meant to be gradual, and that we are wired for progress (Mommy Mantras, Abby? What was it?). That the brain can only handle so much at one time or we simply implode.

When I have an hour or two (or day, week, month) that feels overwhelming and crushing and I am full of thoughts of failure or needed improvement, it helps me to have a little perspective, and realize that all these experiences are good for me. Over a long period of time, I am learning, I am changing, and I pray that I am progressing. These experiences are all credits, and I am very slowly gaining an education.

12 comments:

Kate said...

Wouldn't that be great if we could gain credit for being moms and for all the experiences that come with it. I guess in the real important education, we are learning wonders for the time ahead of us. Great post. Hope you are doing great.

Heidi said...

Not to pressure you, but I do miss you when you are quiet for awhile. Though I'm happy if that means you are enjoying having all your family under one roof again.

I loved what you wrote and it made me think of a quote from another blog - "Lord, give me the wisdom to not waste all of this."

If you want to read the beautiful story behind that, here is the blog:

http://thestanfieldjourney.blogspot.com/2008/01/lord-give-me-wisdom-not-to-waste-all-of.html

And as always, I appreciate your insights and willingness to share them with us... :)

Kelly said...

You are spot on about the "gradual progression."
And what is life but one big test?
By the way, you're acing! And I have to admit to cheating off your paper. Thanks for the help Rae! (recipes, hand-me-downs, making me realize the beauty in everyday things)
Dinner at my house next time... I'll get my act together soon, I promise!

Emnacnud said...

so do you get a higher degree for the more kids you have? so if i have 3 i have a bachelor 6 i have a masters and 9 or more a doctorate?
i like your insight on progression, life is a journey not a destination.
thanks for all the great blogging you do.

MAG said...

I'm definitely one of the many who misses you when you're gone, but I understand! Great post. I love everything you write.

Oh, and I'm glad you guys got the hats! I hope Savvy's fits. Let me know if it doesn't.

chucknorris said...

wow, rae. very profound and uplifting. just the type of thing i love to read from you. :D
i love you!
maddie

Lara said...

I often think of progress like this. Sometimes it makes me feel like I haven't made any progress, but when I step back and look at the bigger picture, I can see just how far I've come.

However, regression happens just as gradually sometimes, and we have to watch out for that.

Kendra said...

I have had much time to reflect on my progression lately. I have understood that you can't focused on all the things you didn't do or the things you did, but did them wrong. You have to let go and let Your Father pick up were you left off. He is the only one who can see beyond what we know and only through him can we grow. thanks for the reminder.

leslie the licorice stick lady said...

So true Rae!

I've been having the same problem--not writing! I don't know what to write about.

Thanks for the little bit of insight today. :)

carajean said...

Amen. Thank you for this post.

Bridget said...

Oh gosh! This post made me laugh! What a great idea!

Abby Hanson said...

I loved this. It reminds me of how we've joked about the many different ways we could answer when people ask, "And where do you work?" or "What do you do?" or "Do you work?".

Progress really is like this. It helps me SO much to think this way. Makes it a lot easier to not be so hard on myself.

The quote you were thinking of WAS from Mommy Mantras. It's long, but it's really good! It goes like this:

"I am always struck by the fact that we as human beings are, in a sense, hardwired for health. We have a natural tendency to develop along a healthy continuum. There are all types of interferences that can thwart or derail healthy functioning. But almost always there is the equally powerful inclination to heal, mend, and right ourselves. When we are spiritually or emotionally wounded, we often achieve a measure of equilibrium just through time. Knowing that we are predisposed toward health always makes me feel that no matter what type of blow motherhood or life deals out, chances are once I've gone through the initial stages of shock, grieving, desperation, or madness, I'm bound to be realigned with more tempered feelings as time goes on."