Thursday, June 30, 2005

Forehead tattoo lunacy

deseretnews.com | Forehead ad will be with mom — forever

The sub-headline of this article was "For $10,000 and a brighter future for her son, Kari Smith on Wednesday became a real life pop-up ad for a virtual casino."

My first thought was that this woman's son needed a life-saving operation, and the only way it was going to happen was if she could raise $10,000. So she auctioned off her forehead.

Tattoo artist Don Brouse — in permanent black block letters — branded her forehead with the Web site domain GoldenPalace.com.

She plans to use the $10,000 to send her son Brady...to a private school.

So I'm glad that the boy isn't sick and doesn't need an operation. But...whoa. I really don't get it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I Want to Be Like Donna

Melissa at T&S had a wonderful post that reminded me and urged me to be a better person. She told the story of a stranger named Donna who helped her during a medical emergency when she had no one else to call. I'm most impressed with Donna knowing that she had children she had to neglect for a few hours to help Melissa in her need. It is very easy to rationalize our way out of service when we can think of other things we could (and should) be doing. Everything in its proper time. And sometimes the proper time is now--even if it is not convenient.

Also notable was the tenth comment on the thread by Travis Anderson. He said,
"That is perhaps the aspect of missionary work I missed most acutely when I returned home; that nametag, white shirt and tie–at least among members–established a relationship in which people weren’t afraid or hesitant to ask for your help, trust you with confidences, allow you to make sacrifices on their behalf, or to just be friendly. And that unspoken invitation to be helpful and worth something dissipated almost completely upon returning home–especially in the church, where I now occupied a kind of no-man’s land between having a legitimate place in the youth programs of the church and being married with children."

Friday, June 17, 2005

Beta Moms

Beta Moms and Gamma Dads
Susan Konig describes her current existence as the mom of a 10-year-old, 8-year-old, 5-year-old, and 4.5-week-old.
The other day, I was trying to read the cover story of this week's New York magazine about a woman who is starting a TV network for Alpha Moms. I wanted to know who these Alpha Moms were. But my 41/2-week-old baby needed attention. So I cradled him in one arm, turned on the ceiling fan in the living room and stood there reading while he watched the blades slowly turning. He likes that.

Whew! Sometimes I wonder guiltily if I was the only one who did something like that. Like, well, right now--as my 20-month-old son is watching "Baby Beethoven" for the fourth time in 24 hours, thus giving me time to blog. (Actually, we only checked it out of the library yesterday afternoon. So it's been less time than that.) My 3-month-old daughter is swinging in the baby swing, occasionally glancing blankly at the TV screen across the room. If my son isn't busy with something truly fascinating, he prefers to type on the computer. Even if Mommy is trying to do something else.
The article suggested that Alpha Moms can do it all, but by the second page I found out how — they have help. "It takes a village," the mom in the article actually said. And she apparently hired a village to watch her kid so she could work 100 hours a week on starting a TV network. Not just a nanny or a babysitter as many parents do, but a nanny and a babysitter and a night nurse. The more she learned about successful motherhood, the more people she hired to achieve it for her, the article said.

How sad.
Me, I'm a Beta Mom. Beta Moms fall short of Alpha Moms in terms of doing it all. But we do raise our kids. Oh, we can work at home or in an office, but we generally care for our own offspring...Our house is kind of messy. The living room and dining room are littered with burping cloths, toys, shoes, comic books, baseball gloves. The kitchen counter has 14 cans of formula on it. Baby bottles are drying on a towel. Dinner has been sandwiches more times than I'd like to admit these past few weeks...The woman in the article said she wanted to maintain a sense of self. I can understand that. We sometimes get overwhelmed with the day-to-day stuff but we know who we are...we're parents.

Yay! I'm a Beta Mom too! I've been going through a bit of a crisis about life lately. I don't know if it has to do with the birth of my daughter three months ago, or the realization that my first-born isn't a baby anymore, or the cancer diagnosis of my father, or the ceiling of my bathroom crashing down (with all the loose filler-type insulation) in my newly-purchased house. Maybe it's all of the above.

But last night as I was driving to the store at 8:45 pm for more diapers, I had an epiphany. It's okay not to like everything about being a stay-at-home mom. I didn't like everything about college, either (tests, math classes, and those two semesters I worked early morning custodial), and yet I loved my college experience. And while in college (unlike high school), I didn't beat myself up for not having all A's, or the highest scores of all my friends. I just did the best I could. So maybe it's also okay that somedays my son doesn't ever get dressed, or food goes bad in the fridge because I never did get around to making that salad, or that dinner is cereal (again). Or that my son is watching Baby Beethoven now for the fifth time. (Yes, I just rewound it and pushed play. Again.)

I'm a Beta mom and proud of it!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Pre-mortal memories

How much (or how little) does an infant “remember” about her pre-mortal existence? I’ve heard many opinions on the subject, from no memories at all to memories that fade as the child grows. With a new baby in the house, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately. My daughter is a perfectly beautiful two-month old, and as such she is very dependent upon her parents. She responds to our care with long, intense stares, cuddles, and the sweetest smiles and grins you’ll ever hope to see. As I am the primary caregiver (and source of all nutrition!), I get the lion’s share of this love and trust—at least when compared to her father, grandmothers, aunts, etc.

All that makes perfect sense to me. But it is when I observe the relationship between my daughter and her older brother that I start to wonder about pre-mortal memory. My son is 19 months old—still pretty much a baby himself. It took about two weeks for him to accept his little sister and stop trying to push her off Mommy’s lap. And now he loves her—gives her kisses, pats her head (and stomach and back), gets up right next to her face and stares at her. He covers her face with the burp cloth and stops her baby swing from swinging, and generally does big brother type things. The amazing thing is that she loves it. My son gets more smiles and stares, more gape-mouthed grins, and more of this “love” than anyone.

My son doesn’t care for the baby’s needs, he doesn’t bounce her on his knee, he doesn’t sing to her or change her diaper or smooth lotion on her skin. So why does she have this intense fascination with him? I like to think it is because she remembers him, from before, and she is just so happy to be with him again. She just really, really loves him.

Easy Ticket to Heaven

My friend Rachel sent me a link to a question and answer from Answers to Gospel Questions. The question posed is, "Is One More Fortunate Who Dies in Infancy?" The basis for this question is the understanding that those who die as little children, according to the revelations, will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. Joseph Fielding Smith answers with several paragraphs. His first statement in response to the questions is, "Is it not a little presumptive on our part to question the wisdom of our Eternal Father?" He goes on to point out that there are a lot of things that we don't understand. Just because we don't understand doesn't make it unfair.

This is a good answer, but not totally complete for me. I believe (and I claim no originality of thought here) that a good deal of our test must have occurred in the pre-mortal world. Abraham saw, even in that day, that there were gradations of spirits. How could there be "noble and great" absent the ability to choose? It would be hard to believe that the only choice we were permitted to make in the pre-mortal realm was whether to choose the devil's plan or God's. More likely we were making choices all the time, just as we do here. Some made better choices than others. The culmination of our choices there molded our characters and led us to choose one of the two options vying for our attention. All those who came to this earth as mortals passed the test of their first estate.

Given an environment of pre-mortal choosing (and repenting), it doesn't seem like little children who die before the age of accountability get off easy. We just don't remember the part of the test where they were with us. Joseph Smith once said (forgive me for paraphrasing from memory) that we learn more rapidly in this life than we can as spirits. If this is true, then those little children may be at a long term disadvantage in terms of their progression, to those who merit the Celestial Kindgom in mortality. By disadvantage, I only mean that they will not have learned as much or progessed as far. They will, like all of us, have a very long way to go after they are resurrected before they are perfected.

As a little child I sometimes longed, in an innocent way, to die so that I might more easily make my way to heaven. I no longer see as a child. I'm grateful for my life and hope I stick around for a good long while to enjoy and learn and weep with my family.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Religion of Strings

The title link on this post points to a comment in a thread at Times and Seasons. The commenter, Travis, points out that some science, like string theory, is based on principles so complex that they elude all but the most mentally gifted among us. We take their word for it because they are smart. Travis concludes his comment with the obvious parallel to religious faith.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.