The Heart of a Mother

I’m going to tell you a story that causes me shame whenever I think of it. I’m reminded of it, because today is Mother’s Day, it involves my mother, and I recently told it to my siblings when we met to spend time with my mother in February. I’ll begin by giving you some backstory.

My dad was a busy pastor when I was growing up and my mom was as involved in ministry at the church as he was. I remember practically living at the church. I’m pretty sure there was no one save church-g739d330aa_1280the janitor that spent as much time at the church as we did. My dad had to prepare two different sermons a week, one for Sunday morning and one for Sunday evening, plus a mid-week Bible study and adult Sunday school class. He was also the youth pastor and sang in the choir, which my mother directed. And, of course, there were lots of meetings, hospital and home visits, potlucks, weddings, and funerals. It was the 60s and early 70s. Dad provided for the family and Mom was responsible for our home and the care and feeding of the children. She also worked as a school teacher, a successful Avon Lady, and a college fundraiser, over the years, to supplement the family income. She was probably as busy or busier than he was, especially when we were young.

The backstory continues. I remember it being an issue that we, their three children, balked at picking up our toys. My dad liked things tidy. Mess was a source of stress for him. I remember my parents fighting about this and Dad telling Mom she needed to discipline us. If you know mybaby-g3a8630712_1920 mother, you know she’s a big, ole marshmallow, as sweet as sugar. She was on the permissive side of things, as far as parenting goes. She was too busy to argue with us and she didn’t like confrontation, either. She was a pushover because she was a peacemaker, always trying to smooth things. I don’t remember doing much around the house ever. Unlike my husband’s family, where the children were required every Saturday to do set chores before they were allowed to play or leave the house, we did very little. I emptied the dishwasher, set the table, and did my own laundry as I got older, but nothing more involved than that. Onward to the cringe-fest.

When I was in high school, my mother was planning a party. My parents were hospitable people and we had groups in regularly. She was busy preparing the food and cleaning the house and she img_2881told me to clean the downstairs bathroom, the one my sister and I used. I had never cleaned a bathroom before. I flatly refused. An argument ensued, but I was, at the time, a rebellious, depressed teenager and I knew there was no way she could make me do it. I won the argument and stormed out of the house, leaving her dumbfounded, I’m sure. I came back later and headed downstairs to my room only to find her stooped over in the bathroom, weeping, as she cleaned the toilet I’d refused to clean. I turned away, went into my room, and shut the door.

I did this. I was disobedient, I disrespected her, and then ignored her pain. I can’t recall if I ever said I was sorry. I can think of other instances like this, as well. I had a rather rocky adolescence. In other homes, this kind of ongoing, rude behaviour may have caused permanent harm to the relationship, but not in our home. You see, my mother is probably the most Christ-like person I’ve ever known. She met surliness with gentleness, meanness with kindness, and offensiveness with grace. She lived outimg_2882 the two greatest commandments. She loved God and loved people with all her heart. My dad’s success in ministry was due in no small part to her. I was a fortunate recipient of her love and grace and she lavished it on me through all my crying, whining, arguing, general messiness, mood swings, friend troubles, school skipping, and growing pains. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow me as I follow the example of Christ.” My mother could say this, though she never would because she’s far too humble and, while I’m still not much of a bathroom cleaner, I do my best to draw near to God every day in the hopes I’ll become more like Jesus and, yes, more like my mother.

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Unearth the Bowl

We bought a bowl once. It’s a shiny gold with vibrant splashes of red, green, blue and orange and we thought it would make a striking centerpiece for our table. We did not, at the time, consider what, if anything, we would put in it. Nor did we consider how much an empty bowl might beckon us to fill it. I’m ashamed to say this beautiful bowl has become a bowl for bills; piles of important papers now cascade from it completely blotting out the original reason for which it was purchased. Now instead of looking at the beautiful bowl and experiencing joy, I look at a bowl of bills and feel frustrated, worried, and depressed.
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Hit the Suds, Kids!

I recently experienced the death of a loved one. My dishwasher bit the suds. I knew it was coming. It started to hesitate, buzzing and stalling. For awhile, I was able to coax it to continue on. Then, one sad day, there was no response. I was devastated. She was so disheswashing-machine-1772579_12802dependable, always willing to take on whatever messes I stacked in her. A real wash horse, that one. She was quiet. She kept to herself while she worked. She was even willing to store that food-encrusted stink until she had a full load. No complaints, no rank belching. I loved her. I was thankful for her everyday. I was thankful when I loaded her and thankful when I unloaded her. You’d think all the thankfulness I lavished on her would have had a life-giving effect. I know plenty of people who take their dishwashers for granted. They don’t give them a thought until they break down and then they pelt them with verbal abuse. I was good to my dishwasher. Why me?
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Polly Does Dopey : A Chronological List of the Dopey Things I’ve Done that Amuse Me

  1. When I was 16, my youth group held a wet n’ wild event where I proceeded to get wildly wet. At the close of the evening, I climbed into the back seat of my friend’s dopeyrefreshment-438399_12802car, my shorts drenched, and I was immediately sitting in a puddle. I did have a semi-dry towel which I used as a screen to remove my Sham Wows. I wrapped the towel around my waist covering my near nakedness. We stopped at a light and my most supportive friend yelled, “Chinese Fire Drill”. Do I have to continue?
  2. Continue reading “Polly Does Dopey : A Chronological List of the Dopey Things I’ve Done that Amuse Me”

To Clean or not to Clean

A messy person spends countless hours swearing, searching for her keys, glasses, important papers, etc.cleaningswearing-294391__480
A clean person puts things in the same place every time. Therefore, she always knows where things are and has more free time to color code her sock drawer.
A messy person wears whatever crawls up to her bed in the morning.
A clean person’s clothes are always freshly laundered, pressed, and laid out neatly the night before. A wrinkle or stain can cause psychosis.
A messy person eats fruit over the sink, cold pizza straight from the fridge, and TV dinners in front of the tube.cleaningelegant-tableware-1431790__480
A clean person will only eat at the table with a full place setting, decorative table linens, and music to aid digestion.
A messy person lounges in the living room eating and drinking. Her couch has the equivalent of a bag of chips and three day’s bus fare under the cushions.
A clean person covers her couch with a tasteful throw and no one, and I mean NO ONE, is allowed to sit on it.
A messy person hacks and coughs, as she writes love notes and funny sayings in the dust on her furniture.
A clean person polishes her furniture until it shines and she can stare at her perfectly coiffed reflection from across the room.
A messy person’s bed looks exactly the way it did when she rolled out of it.cleaningunmadebed3330870850_39bd7af674_z
A clean person’s bed looks like a catalogue advertisement
A messy person moves her piles around to accommodate guests.
A clean person has a guestroom complete with scented candles, designer bedding, and travel-sized toiletries, all the comforts of Martha Stewart’s home.
A messy person looks out the window and notices the sunshine, the blue sky, and the birds flitting from tree to tree. She winds up wondering why everything looks so blurry.
A clean person never gets past the smudges and streaks on the window. After conducting IMG_7444_Fotora thorough cleaning, she steps back to survey her handiwork and notices the drapes need to be vacuumed.
A messy person’s pad smells like Parmesan cheese, dirty socks, and flatulence.
A clean person’s living quarter’s smells like fresh lemons, ocean breezes, or country meadows, depending on her mood and chemical preference that day.
A messy person is spontaneous, carefree, and relaxed. She makes the world more fun.
A clean person is organized, careful, and accomplished. She makes the world more beautiful.
Which one are you?
The world needs us both. 🙂

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Here’s to the Great Sorter in the Sky

Take control of me, Jesus. The current management is woefully incompetent.

 

My son, like many other boys his age, loved to play with Lego. His imagination soared as he created all manner of scenes, structures, and creatures. One Mother’s Day, I even received a clever, Lego cake!legocake_Fotor

At one point, he began the daunting task of sorting his Lego. He made this decision, because it took too long to locate the particular piece he needed. Having obtained a load of it at a garage sale, I watched him patiently sorting through it for days.

One afternoon, I was helping him, while his younger sister looked on.

“Why are you helping him sort his Lego, Mummy?” she asked.

Without hesitation, I replied, “Because I love him”.

In the silence that followed, I had a moment of gratitude for the love of God
and His willingness to help me sort out so much more than just my Lego.

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Audrey Assad’s “Good to Me”. 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

A Guilty Daydream

Jesus said to Martha, and I paraphrase, “Mary has chosen the better way, hanging out with me while you cook and clean and fuss.” Do I ever like that guy!

 

broomThere are crumbs on my floor to make a meal

Dust obscures the TV screen

My windows have been licked and gobbed on

My walls are glazed with grubby fingerprints

Little strings and bits of lint languish on the rug

The floor is spattered, scuffed and split

My bathtub proudly displays its ringbubbles

I am the only lonely one in the cycle of chores

I bow down to the pail godpailandsponge

I slop with water

I scrub and scour and wipe away

I bend and contort and laborvacuum-41720_960_720

I say this sucks as I push the stick that sucks up the dust

I get tired and everything gleams

And then I have to do it all again

I think gleaming is over-rated

And in my case, it’s just a guilty daydream

book-157851_960_720Nothing gleams

I sit in the naturalness, the mess

And smile and read a book

 

 

Author’s note: I wrote this poem while running a day home when my children were small. My dislike of cleaning has only grown. I’ve tossed the guilt. I get a lot of reading done. 🙂

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Substance Abuse

We were house hunting a couple of years ago and there was one house in particular that stood out and not because I liked it. On every wall available, there were two to three pigs2pictures. There was no blank space to rest your eyes, only intense stimulation. In another home, every room was littered with piles of knicknacks. I don’t like knickknacks. I know some of you are coo-coo for Cocoa-puffs, I mean, nutty for knickknacks. I challenge you to think about whether or not you even look at them, or if their visual cacophony is something you now ignore. For me, something on every surface is just so much clutter. Your house might as well be messy. Besides, how much of your life do you want to spend moving, dusting, and resetting stuff?
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In Praise of all Things Unusual

I’d rather be weird than boring.

When I was first married, living in Edmonton, I used to ride my bike to work from the spring to the fall. Every day, I would pedal by a house where the occupants decorated their garage in a unique way. From the eaves to the floor on the one side, they had nailed garish flea market finds; brightly colored bric-a-brac, things with moving parts, bells, and chimes. My friend said it was ugly, but I was drawn to it. It was so odd and chaotic, it blared like a trumpet in a sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood. What possessed these people to start such a collection and then display it in such a public way?

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My Mother’s Dog

One of my pet peeves is people who don’t pick up after their pets. A walk in the spring is like tiptoeing through the pooch shit.

I had a dog once. The only reason we had a dog was because one of my mother’s clients offered it to us. It was a toy poodle. It was cute, especially when the groomers didn’t turn it into a topiary tree.
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