Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Quiet Life

These days, I'm working on toe-up Vineyard sock #2. It continues to be a pleasure. Have you visited Lolly's site, home of Socktoberfest 2005? It's not a KAL, but just a group of volks who are knitting socks this month. Join along if you heart socks!

I've also been working on J's Weasley and opted not to frog. Alison said that she thought my initial looked great. Probably she's just being nice, but that was enough for me. (I feel as though I've just been awarded house points from Professor MacGonagall!) The initial may be a little wonky, but I am pretty proud of these sleeve decreases.

In other news, Monday night I went to see The Constant Gardener with some of my girlfriends. (If you don't know, it's about a relief worker in Africa who uncovers nasty doings by Big Pharma.) A couple of us (myself included) left feeling, shall we say, insignificant. Well, I feel like a waste of oxygen. I mean, there is suffering and corruption and All Manner of Bad Stuff going on. And I'm knitting socks. And blogging about it. Sigh.

In my religious tradition (I'm Catholic), there are nuns and there are sisters (male counterparts are monks and brothers). Many people use these terms interchangeably, but that's inaccurate. Nuns and monks are kept away from the public, and lead a contemplative life of prayer and work in the cloister. Sisters and brothers are considered in the active life, and work in the world, often as missionaries, nurses and doctors, teachers, and so forth. It's often debated which is the better way to serve God, but of course, the "official answer" is that both are important and necessary.

Nonetheless, I tend to side with those who say it is better to serve God in the world. It's not enough to pray for the poor, you need to feed them. And then ask why they are hungry. While watching the movie the other night, I thought, boy did I shamefully waste my time when I was single with no kids -- I should have been in the Peace Corps/teaching in the inner city/fighting corporate evildoers.

Thinking about it today, I realize that my life as a stay-at-home-mom has more than passing similarity to being a cloistered nun. It can be very, very isolating. (That's one of the reasons I love this knitblog community, but that's another post.) There is much hard work involved. I am often tempted to write off what I am doing as not important because I am not out in the world. Not to get too self-congratulatory here, but maybe the "official answer" is right. The cloistered nuns and the stay-at-home parents are working for the greater good, in their way. When I'm knitting, I may not be deep in prayer. I might be working on something for myself. But I also think I'm being a little bit of the peace that I'd like to see in the world. It's not fighting world poverty, but it's something.

10 Comments:

Blogger Lolly said...

Yes, it is something. You are raising your own little human. That is a big something. Great post, Laura. Very thought-provoking.

I am glad that you joined my Socktoberfest. Thanks for talking it up here too :)

8:47 AM  
Blogger Glaistig said...

I so enjoyed reading your post! The raising of a single child affects the entire World and should not be devalued.

Ironically, although I am not Catholic, I DESPERATELY wanted to become a cloistered/contemplative Benedictine nun when I was younger (around puberty . . . .)

12:56 PM  
Blogger Beak-Knits said...

It is so much more than something. I am also home with short people (2 and 5). It is a recent change for us, I was a high school teacher until this last spring. Believe me, I have seen the social havoc created by unglued mothers.

I have been very surprised by how isolating it is being home. Knitting has been my way of keeping sane. And a sane mom is much better equipped to handle the wacky kids.

For instance, my youngest just ran by with her underwear on her head yelling “follow me chickens!” A stressed mom might be tempted to start yelling or worse. Me, I just think “I’ll catch her at the end of this row….”

(Great blog by the way!!)

6:38 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

I agree, you are not doing nothing. You are raising little people, as opposed to me, raising little "weiners." I think that all of us (meaning those of us in this blogosphere) are isolated in some way, and that we have found the most wonderful way to connect to others, with whom we share something........thanks for a very thoughtful post.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Catherine Kerth said...

not a waste of oxygen! movies and books like that should inspire, but intead they do make me feel pretty insignifigant too:) Just remember how much of a solid rock you are for your family.... it's not saving "The World", but it's saving you! And i love the knitting community too ;)

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Erica said...

I went to see The Constant Gardener, and came away feeling much as you did. Such a sobering film. You summed up my feelings about being a stay-at-home mother perfectly -- thank you for articulating it so well.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

About the Weasley sweater - could you frog down past the J, take out those stitches, and then latch up the stitches with just the blue. Then do the J with duplicate stitch. Since you will be missing two stitches, you would have to frog a few stitches to each side of the J as well, and latch the stitches up a bit tighter than they were. Depending on the yarn, it might not be very noticible. Just a thought!

12:22 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

I felt the same way after seeing "Hotel Rwanda". To be honest, I felt pretty ashamed. :(

As another stay-at-home mom, I agree with what you have said. How isolating it can be, but how we also get to enjoy watching these children blossom before our eyes and how amazing that is. (and my 2 cents of support for Christine--raising weiner dogs isn't easy, either! We've got a 11-year old who is as precocious as the day she was born!)

2:46 PM  
Blogger Marisa said...

I had the same reaction after seeing "The Constant Gardener" - even with my public interest law job. I think the reaction you had shows that you are already doing something -- and the most admirable something at that! Being a mom is a huge responsibility, and, when done well, a benefit to the world at large.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Clearly a bit late boarding this train, but thank you very much for the thoughtful post. I too find comfort in the company of others through blogging, and it has been an enormous aid in feeling a bit less lonely being home all day (though I'm supposed to be working). Nice work on the Vineyard socks also!

3:37 PM  

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