There's an ebb and flow to mothering -- sometimes it's not so hard and sometimes it kicks my butt. Right now it's high tide, as Pete moves into toddlerhood. He is so busy: there are carpets to write on and magnets to eat and giant dump trucks to propel down the stairs. There are also three erupting molars to kvetch about, and much clinging to Mom that needs to happen in between adventures.
When my oldest was this age I remember being so discouraged. Didn't he know he was supposed to get easier after he turned one? When was I going to be able to get something done? I know, this time, that the tide goes out again. Eventually.
I am working on another birth post, but I am only able to write in five-minute snatches. (So far in this post, Pete has nursed, dumped all the diapers out of their bag, and wandered into the bathroom. Must make sure the toilet brush is not being used for oral hygiene. Back in a minute.) Today here's a quickie instead.
Marty and I just read Charlotte's Web, a book I like better as an adult than I did as a kid. This time through I was musing about its title -- the book's not as much about the web, I thought, as it is about the friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur.
But then White describes the way Wilbur tries to be "some pig," and "terrific," and "radiant," even though he doesn't think he's really any of those things, because Charlotte says that's how she sees him. That's one of the beauties of a good friendship: your friend sees things in you that you can't see yourself. You stretch yourself to be the person your friend sees, and you grow in the process. The web that was woven to trick the humans became something more.
Something else I'd never noticed until this reading is the contrast between Charlotte and Templeton at the fair. She empties herself for her babies and for Wilbur; Templeton stuffs himself. It made me think of Christ's kenosis, and of the generosity that's a hallmark of genuine love.
In the end Charlotte says, "By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."