Monday, February 22, 2010

Life is like a mop

I remember when I was a kid, and my mom made meatloaf once a week... I could. not. wait. to grow up and get to make meatloaf.  Don't ask me why.  Maybe it was something about getting my hands into the mooshy mess of raw meat; it seemed like a forbidden and grown-up thing, I guess.  Or maybe I was just attracted to the grossness of it. I was a weird child.  But the years did pass and I did  grow up. And somewhere along the line I got initiated into the world of meatloaf making.  I don't actually remember the first time I got to knead slippery raw eggs into gooey  raw meat, but I'm sure it was a thrill.  I might even have gotten a kick out of it the first few times, even.  But, um, well... While I don't especially mind getting my hands into ground beef these days, I gotta say, it doesn't do much for me anymore. 
But now it's the same for Gabe and mopping that it was for me and meatloaf when I was his age.  There's something about getting  that ole string mop dripping wet and swirling it around the floor that just gets Gabey going....  He's been bugging me to let him "help"  with the mopping for quite some time. Please, Mommy.  He just had to do it.  He had to get his hands on that mop.  So today I let him have at it. I helped him fill the bucket, dip in the mop, and wring it out in the little wringer-thingy. I warned him not to slip, and gave him a demonstration run-through on one side of the living room.  Then I handed him the mop.  And he was after it.  Slow and careful at first...

 Then, confident and free-spirited, he took off, mopping like a ballroom dancer or an Olympic figure skater with a prop.  He had the time of his life out there.  Gabe finally had his hands on a mop.

That kind of joy should be bottled.

It really should, shouldn't it?  Why is it that we lose our excitement for little things like this?  Is it something we have to lose when we grow tall and burdened?  Heaven knows, with the trials that weigh down us grown-ups, we need the joy more than than the children do.  But where does it go?  Does it dissipate with our childish innocence? Does it have to be lost forever, replaced with our maturity and knowlege?  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed or feeling low or anything.  I consider myself a generally happy person, in fact. My life is perty darn good.  I have a loving husband, and more than a quiver full of happy, healthy, wonderful children.  And those are just the big things.  Life is full of little happinesses that surprise me all the time when they land on my shoulder and blow in my ear.  I love me a good sunset.  A good meal.  Baby toes and dimpled elbows...  

But it's Lent.  And I guess because it's Lent I'm rebelling against a joyless state.  We're warned to smile through our penances if we want to gain merit from them.  But, jezelouise that's hard to do!  I'd like to be better about taking the little penances and chores and humdrumness of  the daily daily and find joy in it -- like I did when I was a kid. Like Gabe did today, turning a chore into fun. I want to be happy about mopping!  I want to get a kick out of making meatloaf!   And I want to smile through Lent.

Is that asking too much? 

St. Philip Neri, the laughing saint, pray for me!
(Are you laughing at me, St. Philip?)


MightyMom said...

a) my kids are that way about sweeping.

b) I'll bet you had one CLEAN floor!

c) I think somewhere it goes from being a thrill to being a the difference in being told to read The Great Gatsby and picking it up 10 years later to read it for yourself.

d) we love meatloaf! wanna trade recipies?

e) mostly I use the spoon to mix my meatloaf.......but sometimes you just have to doff the rings and dig in yaknow?? ;-)

Annemary said...

Reading your post made me smile. Thanks

GrandmaK said...

What a wonderful analogy! As I reflected on what you said about the joylessness of Lent, it came to mine that the Lord taught us to carry ourselves without somberness and sadness in our penance, but carrying it with a smile, looking "good" so no one would know. So after I thought about it, you're right, Lent makes us feel joyless, not necessarily because we are supposed to be, but because everyone expected it. I think in our humanity we want to be sure that others see us "joyless." If we are happy we must not be suffering enough...Hum! Will work on the smile today. And when someone offers me a chocolate I will simply say "No, thank you," not "No, thank you, it's Lent and I GAVE it up! I need to stop the PITY PARTY!!Really a very good post!! Thank YOU!!!

Heather said...

Cool! I actually let my 5 & 6 year old girls make meatballs with me. If they seriously wash their hands before and after, that is!

Sarah - Kala said...

Love this kind of joy.
Ah, I shall smile as I fold more towels!

Diana said...

It looks like he did a great job mopping Lisa! I still like to mop. I still like to clean but I hate doing the dishes and I don't enjoy cooking AT ALL anymore. And meatloaf, I don't like it at all. But I still will make it for my husband!
Love Di