next to godly living, the biggest priority and most valued achievements in my family life have been centered around education. i've said to friends before that religion and education (and religious education) are the family businesses. not that we have loads of family members infiltrating the public education system, or that we have a large percentage of hebrew scholars discussing open theology and what have you's at reunions (though that would all be very cool)... but that after or right under the central theme - god-focused life - we all have been taught (ha!) to revere learning in any state.

i told mom the other day that she has a didactic personality.

this is equal parts nature and nurture in my opinion. if you take my mother as an example, she gets her habit of constant instruction (in her wonderful, gentle nature) from her genes (thank you Loy and Donna) and from her parenting and life experiences (oh, thanks again Loy and Donna ;). and she's passed it down, with the equal participation of my father, one of the best teachers i know.

and i see it in myself - a self-described know it all with too much "trivia" in my head. i may not be constantly constructing a lesson with my daily dialogue like some of my esteemed relatives (uncle stan is one of the best in finding a way to sum up every convo - i love it), but my eyes are open and my ears pricked to any useful piece of daily info - you never know when someone might need to know about the history of crisco (did you know it was originally intended to be marketed as SOAP?) or how to get in touch with the local chamber of commerce to promote your charity of the month. i know the most random things, and they are the most remarkably useful things sometimes. i can tell you all about how to relocate to henderson tn by the way.

since "imparting wisdom" seems to be a biblical kind of thing to do, i suppose i shouldn't be surprised that it's ingrained in my life patterns. perhaps every preacher's kid and teacher's kid feels this way too.

lately, i've thought a lot about what we will teach ezri. i can see eric telling her all about world history, video games, how the us government works, and challenging her to think critically about everything she encounters, how to laugh at the slapstick of animaniacs and wit of cs lewis - he will have so many gifts to share with our little girl. the images i have in mind are of a relationship that is forged over time, like the ones i value between myself and my parents and so many of those educator-relatives (like my granma Wheat and her wonderful insights)

she'll probably get used to my political rants, my musings on being a woman in our culture and belief system, and learn to roll her eyes at my inconsistencies. i hope some of it will make sense. i hope that she learns to do what her grandma Donna always said to do when listening to someone else - to find the meat and spit out the bones.

education is part of a lifelong pursuit, a romance with knowledge and a thirst for growth. it is not a period in your life that revolves around class periods, dry tests, popularity contests and competition. it's a daily curiosity and a passion for what you have faith in. the best teachers in my life will always be mentoring me and urging me to push further... they remain with me. some of them are called instructors, by vocation, others are simply repositories of love and wisdom who have inspired me (ron and judy warpole, julie osburn, becky youngblood, chara watson... it's a long list)

and their characteristics that i will arm myself with as i forge this new relationship with the little ball of energy kicking and squirming under my ribs? patience. humility. love. honesty. fearlessness. hope. discernment. an open and listening heart.

so keep on teaching me, teachers.


unearthing an image

i know what kind of little girl i was. my mother probably wouldn't let me forget. i loved my dolls, i read, i played house and dress up incessantly. my brothers were forced to play church and house and who knows what else with me - they were pretty good sports. my imagination was endless, but like so many small children, it also centered on mimicry of daily life. so, i played the mommy. i loved on my babies and bossed my brothers like they were my babies too. fortunately, they survived just fine and now treat me with great indulgence and understanding. see, i trained them right.

there's no denying i was a "girly" (ah, stereotyping) girl. i had barbies (something i wish to avoid with ezri), i loved pink and to this day i love dressing up and dressing other people up. sure, i also played outside and loved to swim and even get messy at times, i was also pretty geeky and after a certain age went nowhere without a book. so, wanting to be a "mommy" is, or should be, a naturally deeply ingrained desire that i cannot fully articulate, right?

sure. yeah... i guess.

but there are times when i feel like i'm having to dig through layers and layers of memory, old games, toys, tea sets, books... like alice falling through the rabbit hole actually... in order to find the pictures i held so close to my heart, the ones of when i'd grow up to be a mother.

on days like the ones i've had this week, i have really searched for that image for comfort. when i feel like a ping pong ball being bounced between clinics and hospital and all the (great) staff and docs involved and i come home exhausted with less answers and more misery... i need to remember that the end result will be wonderful and deeply desired. it is.

i had a good cry on my husband's shoulder when he got home last night. i feel like everything i thought or expected of this pregnancy is screwy. my heart rate and such is off and wears me out something fierce and ridiculous, turns out it's something genetic that's been there all along... they sent me for another glucose test. i was fine with the screening, no big, but this test came at a bad time in the middle of a week where i've already had enough of medical stuff. it's just not how i expected to be pregnant.

and really, it's not all that bad. it's nothing on some experiences i know of, and nothing on the experiences of those who deal with life changing illness. it's just me, whining about a couple of simple tests. new to me, but not that bad. i know i'm in good hands and that something will be sorted... i just hate that there is something to be sorted...

when all i'd like to do is have the energy to tidy our room, and plan and dream and think of what it will be like to have this little one. and as i sit here and watch "rudy" with eric, i think about the possibility of a little boy someday too... wow. wow.

i have a lot of dear friends who made this passage what seems like ages ago... my life has been on its own timetable for a while... a little "behind the curve" from some of the girls i went to college with... and they are blossoming into these earth mothers, these incredible talents that are making art filled lives for themselves and their families.

it's an intimidating act to follow. and, i'll confess, there are just times when the idea of being absorbed by potty training, terrible twos, speech development, school choices... yeah. absorbed is the word.

i know what we want for our child... or at least, some of it... that image is getting clearer... but i don't want to lose who i am, or who we are, i want it to be the picture she holds close to her heart like we've held sweet pictures of our mothers and dads close to ours. those pictures are of whole and vibrant people that we wanted to be like. i am so glad we have them.

the reason i played "mommy" all those years ago, and loved on my sweet brothers and bossed them, and read books that filled my heart with dreams of women who had full lives, adventure and family - was i wanted to be like my mom. god provided me with the inspiration in my mother, my grandmothers, and countless others to do this.

and so, between naps and exhausting spells, my heart whispers, "i think i can... i know i can... i am... i will be little donna ezri's mother."

but just know, the mommy club is scary... anyone want to hold my hand?