I often fantasized in my childhood about becoming a great, powerful, influential woman. Someone that spoke with authority, and garnered respect. In the past year I have had to resign myself to being at home all day, speaking with very little authority to an audience of one who barely understands english, and when he does, usually pretends he does not. There's not really anyone around to praise me for my accomplishments, so I list them as soon as my husband comes in the door. Perhaps some part of me is convinced if I don't verbalize my works, then they really don't matter after all. I know they do. Jack has a clean house and he has food to eat, toys to play with. He is happy and healthy, and actually, wonderfully joyful most of the time. But no one will write books about this. There will be no headlines, no tv movie. Motherhood is not how one becomes famous. At least not without having record numbers of babies or maybe taking time to write an incredibly successful series of children's books. I will not be famous, or infamous. I will be the wife of John, and the mother of Jack.
I don't take these titles lightly, in fact they weigh on me daily. How can I be better at this job? How can I excel? Without goals one is just free-falling with nothing but an abrupt and painful meeting with the earth to look forward to. I have been haunted for years now by a passage in Proverbs, that actually came up at the services of both of the aforementioned women. It's the Epilogue to the book of Proverbs entitled "The Wife of Noble Character." It speaks of a woman who is dependable, driven, skilled, consistent, and as such is "worth far more than rubies." It is a very inspiring and daunting passage. Traditionally at Shabbat dinner it is read by the patriarch as a blessing over his wife before the meal. It truly shows the great value of a woman who has taken Wife and Mother as an esteemed position. This woman understands how important her contributions are to her family. She is a blessing to all and a servant of all. I have come to discover that when discussing great women these verses come up as frequently as 1 Corinthians 13 comes up at weddings. But I don't think that repetition diminishes it at all. In fact, I may start making my husband read this at dinner once a week as a blessing over me.
Jack has been around for just over a year now, and his taken me almost as long to begin to understand the great honour and high calling that is motherhood, and marriage. It is challenging to be selfless, to sacrifice every moment to another human being. I never used to have to do that when I worked because John and I were in the same boat, and so we had equal responsibility for our household. Now he bears all of the financial responsibility (a hefty burden now with house and a child). I bear his laundry, his comfort, his food, his children! I want to carry it all gracefully, and by the grace of God I may yet. Perhaps I will never achieve renowned among the masses. But I pray that I can be a significant and overflowing blessing to my family.