Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ode to Pinterest (in prose form)

I love Pinterest. In my mind there is no better time-wasting site on all the interwebs. Never mind the fact that I will never attempt those lattice-style pie crust cookies. I am well aware that that picture of the DIY burlap lamp shade is just electronic hoarding. And the clothes? Not gonna happen.

But I love it all the same. And no, it's not because I take the Pinterest high road and fill my boards with political activism pins. Mine are full of recipes, clothes, crafts, and cleaning tips; they're no different from the much-maligned prototypical Mormon housewife boards.

Yes they are just fantasy. But is that really so bad? Have you ever dreamed of going to Paris? Maybe imagined seeing the stunning rose window of the Notre Dame cathedral or tasting a Nutella crepe as you stroll along the Seine, the Eiffel Tower in the background? No one says that only those who are going to someday go to Paris should dream of going there. Studies have suggested that people get as much pleasure out of planning and reminiscing about a trip as they do out of acting on those plans. I think that even if you don't go, you still get a benefit from the thought exercise.

It's only a problem if you ignore your kids pleas for food because you're too busy fantasizing about the Lourve, or if you conclude that you're a failure because you won't be strolling down the Champs-Elysees anytime soon. It's bad if you end your yearly donation to your favorite charity so you can get on that plane, or if you dream about your neighbor's untimely demise because she got to go to Paris last year. It's not a good idea to forgo your plans to volunteer at the local women's shelter because you're too busy deciding which Parisian hotel you want to stay in.

So I say go ahead and indulge in a little Pinterest-style fantasy, if that's what you want to do. Just keep it in perspective. Don't let it take over your life. Don't get disappointed that your real life will never resemble your Pinterest life.

So, if you'll allow me, I'd to fantasize about my life, Pinterestified.

I'm thinking of sitting down at a table that I refinished myself with an ebony stain, my hair done in a french braid that wraps around my head. I'm thinking of making perfect little paper flowers to adorn the boxes of homemade strawberry jam I've already wrapped for Christmas gifts. I'm thinking of admiring my work as I take a sip of hot chocolate garnished with marshmallows I made and shaped like hearts. I catch a glimpse of my nails adorned with a teal and black houndstooth pattern manicure, and sigh in contentment.

Ah, I feel better. And now back to reality.


Thursday, October 4, 2012


It was cold last night. Nathaniel put an extra blanket on me as he left this morning. Breakfast was hot chocolate and toast. Henry is napping. Summer has spent the day coloring with markers and begging me to play doctor, a request I granted. It's 2:40 in the afternoon and the only one here not wearing pajamas is the baby. I made a big pot of tomato soup that we'll eat tonight along with brie grilled cheese sandwiches.

I'm being mindful. I'm not thinking of the chill of past winters or how we'll get through another one. I'm thinking of pretty leaves in reds and yellows, pumpkins, and indoor preschooler entertainment. And soup. Definitely soup.


Monday, October 1, 2012

A Name and a Blessing (updated)

Henry was blessed yesterday. He received a beautiful, heartfelt blessing, pronounced by his father and the love of my life, surrounded by good men who hold the priesthood. We did it at my brother-in-law’s house so it was very comfortable, I prepared most of the food and it tasted good, and my mom and most of Nathaniel’s family was able to come. So by most standards it was a lovely Mormon ritual.

But for me it was just awful. I fought back tears much of the time, and they wouldn’t have been tears of joy.

Once I was watching an episode of a TV show that centered on a baby’s christening. I admit I am pretty ignorant of the practices of other religions, so when the mother held the baby as the baby was sprinkled with water, I was intrigued. I loved the image of the mother and father standing together with their baby.

I admit, I wanted to have that experience. If I couldn’t bless Henry, I wanted to hold him while he was being blessed. I wanted to be more than an afterthought in special ritual. I wanted a bigger part in communing with God and showering blessings upon this special new being.

Because Henry and I – we have a connection. Many of my feelings about this are too personal to share here, but suffice it to say that he is a little miracle. Yes, this is true for all babies, but that doesn’t make it any less profound. He transformed me. He somehow changed everything for the better.

And I know him. I know that after I bathe him the little hair that he has gets fuzzy like a peach. I know about that one eyelash he has that is twice as long as the others. I know when he just needs to be held. I know he loves me and my touch. Of course I know him, because he is my child. I wake up at all hours to nurse him. I deal with his spit-up and his diapers. I comfort him when he is upset. Like all mothers do.

And once, my church was a church that encouraged women to bless their children. It encouraged women to give other women blessings in preparation for childbirth. It recognized “the privilege of a mother to have faith and to administer to her child.”

So Nathaniel asked the bishop if I could just hold Henry while he was being blessed.

No, he said. I couldn’t. Melchizedek priesthood holders only.

So I sat to the side. This bishop who had never seen Henry before, and who said I could not hold my baby while he was blessed, was among the men who stood in the circle. I fought back tears the entire time.

I wish I could write a happy blog post about Henry’s baby blessing, one with lots of happy pictures and stories of happy people. But I can’t. I’m sorry, I just can’t.

I wanted to hold my son while he was being blessed and I couldn't. And it breaks my heart.

UPDATE: I put this in the comments, but I think I should also put it here: The bishop in question, although I don't know him, is by all accounts a very good man. He is well-liked and with good reason. However, the church handbook of instructions does not specifically forbid a mother holding her child while the child receives a baby blessing. I wish the instruction was given a broad interpretation of inclusion rather than a narrow interpretation of exclusion.