What can you do?

For book time today, Grant picked the picture book "Granite Baby," by Lynne Bertrand. A tall tale, of the tallest sort, "Granite Baby" tells the story of five amazing and gigantic sisters whose talents are beyond the beyondest beyond. The sisters, however, meet their match when one of them carves a real live baby from the granite who - of course - sets himself to wailing. They each employ their talents to the fullest trying to calm this baby down, but he screams himself hoarse to Canada and back, no matter what they do. Finally, a young girl looking on all the hustle and bustle of the women takes the baby herself, gives him a little love, a little blanket, a little milk, and a little rock, and off he goes to sleep. The next time the baby starts screaming himself to the pieces the women know that they don't need the biggest and the bestest, and instead produce the small and simple things the baby really desires. The last lines of the picture book sum it up well:

"But as the bright sun eased down between the White Mountains and shone right into Lil Fella's eyes, it caused one last fuss. Sister Ruby, who could move mountains and drag the moon across the north sky when she need to, just smiled at that baby - and gently turned his cradle around."

While I started out reading time in a rush because we'd gotten behind schedule and I wanted to get to naps (and writing time for myself) this book gave me pause. I loved the imagery of these women - so capable, so able - realizing that the greatest use of their talents was so small, so ordinary, and so unimpressive. And yet, what they were doing for the baby was much more meaningful than the great feats they had achieved in the first half of the book.

How often do we as mothers think of all the things we could be accomplishing, when we are instead making peanut butter sandwiches for the eighty-seventh time (or zillionth)? How often do we suppose that we are wasting ourselves and our efforts on the pointless drudgery of a regular, unspectacular day? But no matter how often these women insisted on breaking the scales, it was their ability to pull back and do what was actually needed that made the difference to the baby. Their ability to contain their egos and produce the necessary was their greatest success.

And it brought them the greatest happiness as well.

Comments

  1. I just had this very conversation with my chiropractor today. Haha! He asked me what's new, and being that I had just seen him two days ago, I felt like saying, "What could possibly be new?" I've only had two more days of trying to clean my house and get my two-year-old to nap, both unsuccessfully, and most of the other stuff that I would have told you about two days ago, I could tell you again today. He said his wife feels the same way--it's like to have a "productive" day as a mom, you must accomplish something above and beyond the routine needs of the family--something pinterest-worthy. ;-) So thanks for sharing this. I will try to remember it.

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    Replies
    1. You're right Jennie! I absolutely hate that question. That and "what did you do today?" Boo. I hope you are not having any bad back problems!!!

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