Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Losing Battle

"Why?" is a question that I have come to dread lately. "Why did you get chicks?" "Why did you buy a new rug for the family room?" "Why did you dry the clothes outside?" "Why are you making that for dinner?" "Why are you making those and what are you going to do with them?" "Why did you make the garden so big?" "Why is there no food in the house?" "Why, why, why, why, why!?" Ad nauseum.
My goodness, you would think that I don't have a single brain cell capable of making a decision on its own without first garnering permission from the masses (ie- mi familia).
So, dear family, allow me to explain the "Whys" of my actions for you, in plain English. Why? Because I want you to be able to understand, that's why.
Here we go:
1. Why did I get chicks?- Easy answer here folks. I got chicks to fulfill two purposes. Well, maybe three. First, we have an incredible insect population in our yard- ticks, ants, spiders, etc. Chickens eat insects. Lots of them. I am exercising natural pest control. Secondly, I would like to be able to feed you, my family, the freshest eggs possible, from healthy, happy chickens.I would rather that than to contribute to the sad life of a battery hen, who's only hope in life is the possibility of death as an escape from the hell in which they live. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Thirdly, yes there is a #3, for the experience of connecting to something other than the television( or the iPod, or Guitar Hero, or even this computer), a living thing that requires our care. We are servants of the natural world we live in, with an obligation to ensure that we tend to it well. More than family pets, these chickens will in turn provide us with food as payment for their care. Well, eggs. They will live long lives in our back yard. I don't think I can fully implement the food chain here. They are symbols of responsibility. Sound familiar?
2. Why did I buy a new rug for the family room? Because I wanted to, that's why. Now take care of it. Pick up the trash off of it, wipe up your spills, and if you see dust on it, sweep it up, please.
3. Why do I hang the clothes outside? Why not? There is a perfectly lovely spot in the yard for hanging clothes. The sun shines upon it, the breezes blow about it and I can see it from the kitchen window. Practically, it reduces the amount of electricity that we use (of which we consume copious amounts), it reduces the amount of heat that builds up in the house, it reduces the amount of wear and tear on our clothes, it disinfects and sanitizes our clothing better than bleach, the list goes on. I know, your clothes are crunchy. Toss them in the dryer for a minute or two (NOT 30!) and they'll be fine. That smell you dislike is fresh air and sunshine combining together in the most heavenly of perfumes. No matter how hard they try, the detergent and dryer sheet companies cannot reproduce it. It is a gift from Nature for our efforts. Now get over it.
4. Are you making that for dinner? Yes, I am making that for dinner. If you don't like it, make your own. You know where the refrigerator is. But, you want to know why I am making that for dinner, don't you? Because I care about your health and well-being, that's why. I am not trying to poison you, make you ill, or otherwise cause you harm. They are fruits and vegetables, not ampules of toxins, for pity sake. They work with your body to build your cells, clean your system, give you energy. No matter how many cans of Mountain Dew you drink, you will never be able to get as much energy that a beautiful green salad, loaded with colorful vegetables, will give you. Your health will be better, your mind clearer and your body will thank you. Trust me. Or don't. I'm only your mother, the woman who gave birth to you. But that isn't one of the questions, is it?
5. Why am I making those? Hmmm. Let's see. If you don't know by now, then you don't know me as well as I thought. All of my life, I have been one to create. From the tiny fish made with a Styrofoam ball and bone circles at my grandmother's house, to taking apart my mom's wedding garter and decorating a RingDing box with it for a Mother's Day gift (well, that might have been a mistake), to buying things that no one else wants and creating something of beauty from them, it all results in the tangible expression of who I am. You don't have to like it. In fact, no one does. What counts is that I like it. When you ask me why I made something, it is as though you are telling me that it, and consequently me, is not of worth. And that is very far from the truth. The things I make are extensions of who your mother is on the inside. You might want to get to know her one day.
6. Why did I make the garden so big? Well, it's not big yet, but it will be. I want to be able to grow food for us to eat. To be able to put some up for the winter and not have to rely on the grocery store for everything we consume. I will know where our food came from, how it was grown and who tended to it. We will be able to share with Grammy and Grandpa, and help them reduce their food bill a bit. So I say "The bigger, the better!"
7. Why is there no food in the house? That is ridiculous! There is food in the house, it is just not what you want to eat. I am reducing the amount of processed foods that we have consumed over the years and replacing it with fresh, healthy foods. For further explanation, please see #4.

There you have it, the answers to the most pressing questions being asked in my house lately. I am sure that my family will not like my answers, but they'll get over it. Like I said, asking me why I do things is like asking me why I am here. It tends to lessen my efforts and, in a way, invalidates me as a person. I am not very keen on being invalidated. In fact, it sounds painful. And it is.
I love caring for my family. Being a mom was the one thing I always wanted to be. (Being an unappreciated mom is not, however.) I want to create a safe place for them, a haven if you will, away from the stress of the world and give them the armloads of love that they deserve. All of the things I do, laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, creating, etc. is for that purpose.
One day that will be clear to them. But it will be when they are in my place, standing in my shoes, trying to do these very things themselves.
I have my list of "Why?" questions all ready for them.


meg said...

Not only does someone else get those questions (20+ years of them!)- you have some great, articulate, & precise responses. Rest assured, I will be quoting you :-)

Maryjane - The Beehive Cottage said...

LOL! You go girl!!!! You are one awesome Mother who LOVES her family! You are an author Karin, write a book! Love your blog! You inspire me! Please keep doing what your doing! What's for dinner?!!! Hugs, Maryjane Lee

Utah Grammie said...

Bravo! Bravo! Well stated - and on the lips of many, many women across America and probably the world - Will you email me your mailing address? I have something for you and I asked Dawn for your addy but I have misplaced it - sorry!

French Rustic Cottage said...

LOL... I just happened upon your blog from MJ forum. I absolutely agree whole-heartedly... I have a soon-to-be 18 year old. I find myself thinking alot like this lately. I thought it was just me!!! When do you think it is a good time for them to GET A JOB???
I am really needing help in this area... HELP!!! Thanks for your inspiration you have given through your words. Blessings 2 you, Pamela
Beehind Thyme at the MJ Forum

whimseycreations said...

Hear, hear, girlfriend! You just keep doing what you're doing and sometime in their life they WILL appreciate it. LOL Wish I had time to do half of what you do. LOVE those air dried clothes!!!

traci said...

just found your blog and love your post. aside from explaining why i want the chicks - all your answers sound like they came out of my mouth, especially the ones pertaining to food. thanks for the chuckle and the confirmation that i am not alone.