I recently read through Proverbs 31. This has been the highlight of highlighting the perfect woman. It was read at my Grandmother’s funeral- the one we named my daughter after. It was read at my other Grandmother’s funeral. She was the one who lived to be 100. Two very “perfect” women. I could truly see much of P 31 in them. You may even find a story about them published and on the shelf hopefully in your lifetime- and mine. Being a descendant of both, I would hope that there are some P31 qualities in me.
I look down the list and I see that I need to be able to spin thread, sew fine linen, and know my yarns. There is no way in Helsinki that I could ever attempt such tasks. I knew this since being in the Busy Bee Club- sewing or anything of artistry using a needle and thread is not my talent. Hemming pants? I’d rather staple the hems with a stapler (same one used for paper).
I also need to be able to rise while it is still night and make food for my household. In the middle of the night, if I am awake, I am still trying to figure out WHAT we are having for dinner the next day much less preparing the food. That decision takes at least an hour sometimes.
I need to consider a vineyard and buy it. Sadly my pattern has been too spontaneous for considering. Just recently I went to Walmart to buy one of those “bigger” pools that look like a real pool. I brought it home and began to set it up. My husband the real man of consideration says-
“Did you think about finding a level place in our yard so the pool would not lean to one side and water wouldn’t spill out? Did you think about the maintenance needed?”
No of course not. I just thought it was a perfect real pool enjoyed by all of us. We ended up returning it. And to my husband’s credit – the pool thing needed more consideration.
I need to bring my food from afar. I can make Armenian food that is mighty tasty and considering not too many know that there is a nationality called Armenian- I’d say that is “afar” enough. And occasionally I visit the world foods section at the grocery store. And now that they have done away with online shopping for groceries, I am trying to smell, tap, and squeeze my produce like my Armenian grandma used to do. So I am trying to be “choosy” about the foods available. Plus I am still contemplating the “afar” foods part when I am serving the pickiest of eaters.
Then there’s a part about my husband not having any lack of gain. Did I mention the part about not having dinner ready sometimes… like one time basically said- “Whatever is in the fridge- you can eat – I already ate the leftover French Onion soup.” He ends up making himself a grilled cheese sandwich. Not too good on the gain part that time.
I need to laugh at the days to come. I am trying not to be a worry wart. But I have subtracted so many hours worrying. Life did not change drastically because of my worrying. It accomplished nothing. I do have Greek in me too and basically I need the beads.
Let me compare this also to being a mom of an autistic child. Many a time, I not only think P31 but also the qualities of a perfect mom of an autistic child. I will call her the #1 ASD mom. I met a teacher recently who will be my daughter’s ASD teacher. I could just tell that SHE would be the perfect candidate. Years of training, a degree in the field, warm, loving, roll up her hands and dig in kind of gal is she. And I haven’t even seen her in action. I just know my daughter is going to love her. Then there’s me. There is so much more I should be doing because of her autism. Three years into this life knowing my daughter is autistic and twenty three years of teaching elementary kids (some of which were autistic) I should be a pro by now.
First, I should be using a visual schedule everyday. “And then we wake up” says my daughter nearly everyday. She needs to know the agenda. I tell her but if I showed her too it would keep her confident. During busy weeks and topsy turvey times I have it all ready to go. But for the most part, I don’t. Not really. Up and coming kindergarten all day everyday life is going to necessitate one. Not very P31ish either.
I should be making fruit and vegetable purees each week . I should be sneaking them into her diet just like Jessica Seinfield . I need to put the purees in pancakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and even her oatmeal. I did for awhile. It was my cooking bible. I do now and then. But not often enough so that she at least has some fruit or vegetable each day. Does giving her a fruit snack count? Or how about drinking one of those Fruitables? The ingredients do include many fruits and vegetables- so it is practically like drinking a salad! The p31 woman would be growing her own in that vineyard. The # 1 Autistic Mom would have the purees ready each way, enrolled their child in food therapy, or made cute pictures of the five senses and changed them into a place mat as a reference for meal time.
I need to know exactly what to do and say when there is a conflict, meltdown or tantrum. Even if it is something new, unexpected, and surprising. Like the time, she all of a sudden wanted to leave a friend’s house for no reason and screamed the whole way home and took her nearly an hour to settle down with me squeezing her tight and whispering to her that it was going to be alright. You go back and retrace steps in your mind and are still puzzled as to why it happens in the first place. The P31 woman would have wise insight on her tongue even in the real challenge of the day. The #1ASD mom would be proactive and journal the antecedent, the action, and the next time plan.
I need to introduce new play schemes and allow for practice. There is a certain fabulous fairy house in her room the handcrafted that she looks at and admires. It is simply a work of art. Yet, she has no idea what to do with it. I need to make a visual sequence, and have practice time centered around this fairy house. That is what the #1 ASD mom would do. The P31 woman would have a similar plan developed at 4:30 am.
I am far from P31 and far from being the #1 ASD Mom. But instead of being down in the dumps , I am actually encouraged. Because for the first time I have realized that the list in Proverbs 31 is not really what counts. What is most asked of me is just one thing. Enter the scene in City Slickers. Curly the Cowboy and City Slicker Mitch are talking “life” side by side on horseback in the wide open west. Curly has taken off his cowboy hat and put on his counselor spectacles. He says:
“You focus on one thing- the rest don’t mean – doo doo.” . More importantly, there’s the passage in Luke where Jesus, reminds Martha, ” You are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (He left out the doo do part)
All these years of reading P31 and thinking how familiar I was with the passage and I wasn’t thinking about the one thing. I always had the list of 101 things I needed to do to be both P31ish and the #1 ASD mom. What a relief to know that the only thing needed to be both is to stay close to the One and Only. This is a challenge at the same time. The items on both Mom lists can be more of the goal setting drive clouding out the One thing. Not being close to the One and Only- I am in “deep doo doo. ” If you know the movie City Slickers there is a stronger word for doo doo and that one word is pretty strong. It does say it best and convey a stronger warning. Being far from my One thing, I shudder to think of the consequence. Sadly I am guilty at times.
“The woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” The P31 woman could do all of these things because she feared the Lord. For the first time, I have come to realize this doesn’t mean fearing that if you don’t do the things on the list , if you don’t have the qualities mentioned, you are a failure. It doesn’t even mean that you are to aim for these as a checklist for success. It means being fearful of being too far away from the One thing and being closer and closer to doo doo (sin). I have found that in striving to be close to God, things happen. Things that I cannot take credit for. Things that really resemble- the “With God all things are possible!”
When things seem so impossible, I know that that the One and Only is working in my daughter in ways I cannot. Amazing things happen. Like the other night- I was reading Chrysanthemum and she whispers “Mommy, I am Chrysanthemum.” Pretty sophisticated connection and use of her schema I would say. Another time when I am sad she says “Mom, it is a prefect day!” Humble Pie at my service! Another time she dives right into a neighborhood ball game with- big tall scary men, sweat, loudness, and flying balls. Go figure. It’s all the One. It’s a reminder that He is at work.
P31 and #1 Mom are only possible when I fear the Lord. I fear being detached by focusing on the list. Yes, it matters, the visual schedule, the food purees, the considering before buying, etc. but what is number one on both is fearing the Lord. Then those things on the list are more possible – even accomplished. Even things that will be praiseworthy. Being in close contact with the One. That in a nutshell makes me 31ish and #1 AD Mom. That is the woman that is to be praised.