Monday, December 17, 2007

Confessions of an Ogre

You might imagine that Odd, like other lands, has its monsters. We do. But instead of the Ogre from fairytales Odd has something called a Mother.

The older girls learned about Santa Lucia in Sunday School yesterday and were struck by the beautiful service the tradition of Santa Lucia describes. The story goes that Lucy was a young girl in Rome during the Christian persecution of the early church after Christ's crucifixion. She brought food to the Christians hiding in the catacombs. On December 13, the longest night of the year, she was carrying so much food that she had nowhere to hold her candle, so she placed in a wreath which she wore on her head. To this day a very popular tradition in much of Scandinavia is for a young girl of the house to dress in a white gown with a red sash around her waist and a wreath of candles on her head and go throughout the house in the early morning serving baked goods to each member of the family.

So Hannah and Bethany thought they would surprise our family by performing this tradition in our home. They asked the ugly Mother if they could be allowed to wake early the following morning to perform their surprise. Mother agreed, and all thought the day would be fine. But everyone should know that a Mother is never to be trusted!

The girls were intending on waking at 7:30am to get about their "plan" but alas they did not rise until nearly 8:15. This threw a wrench in the timing of their production, but as still relatively young children their concept of improvising was limited and they just plugged right along oblivious to any conflicts their lateness might cause. Mother was taking a much needed nap after Josiah's early morning feed, and the rest of the children were sleeping. Bethany was fixing everyone's cereal bowl complete with their own personal pitcher of milk for pouring, and arranging them on a pancake griddle (using it as a platter for carrying), while Hannah was making a crown for Bethany to wear. The girls had even picked out their clothes the night before - Bethany wore her white flower girl dress from her Aunnie C's wedding with a red long-sleeved shirt tied around her waist for a sash. All was going well, until...

At 8:30 Mary decided to start seriously squawking. We installed the tent on her crib last night and she was not pleased that she no longer had unrestricted access out of her bed. Simultaneous to that Josiah decided to start crying after a measly hour+ nap, and Mother's anticipated rest was going down the drain. Josiah quieted with a pacifier, but the girls were nowhere to be found to take the other children down for breakfast. Mother went looking for them. When she arrived downstairs Bethany was heartbroken that her surprise was ruined. Hannah was trying to finish the crown, and the only thing Mother could think of was how tired she was, and how much she wanted Mary to stop squawking. Mother ordered one of the girls to go up and tell the other children that it was time to get up and eat breakfast (they had instructed their younger siblings to stay in bed for a surprise, and miraculously they obeyed). Hannah did so, but in the meantime Mary got her hackles up and needed to be disciplined by the now thoroughly agitated Mother. Finally all the children (save Josiah who was finally sleeping again) were downstairs but Mary was still in a funk. Mother had to come down to discipline her again, and noticed that Hannah was more concerned about the surprise than the very real hunger of her siblings. This is where the volatile nature of Mothers comes into play, and why they are the equivalent of the Ogre.

Mother exclaimed that she was sorry their surprise was ruined but since they got up later than intended they were going to need to deal with the reality of serving breakfast without all the details. Bethany even poured Mother cereal but all Mother wanted to do was go back upstairs and take a NAP! Mother snapped at Hannah who was trying to help, snapped at Mary who was not trying to help, and snapped at Bethany who was simply hurt.


Mother realized that she was ruining this precious moment her children had tried to orchestrate for her. And she apologized for hurting their feelings. Of course she still only wanted to go upstairs and sleep for a hundred years, but that is another fairytale creature not a Mother. Her children forgave her, but Mother is afraid she has ruined their hearts forever, and they will never initiate this kind of surprise again.

To any other Mother out there that lives like an Ogre sometimes...

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he [the Lord] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

We are not superhuman in Odd. We are very ordinary, with very ordinary ups and downs. If there is anything unique about us, let it be our very extraordinary God.

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