A few saturdays ago was the annual La Leche League picnic. I was placed in charge of food and fliers. In the past, an event like this with me in charge of something would be stressful. I would feel nervous about what everyone would think about the event and whether people thought I did a good job. And really--I didn't want people to think I did a good job. I wanted people to think I did the best job EVER! Well, I probably don't need to say, that with those kinds of hopes, the pressure is turned up. A few years ago, I realized that when we had anyone over, or a party or anything I would feel stress and pressure which would lead to irritability. I didn't think this was the way it was supposed to be. So, some soul-searching unveiled that this pattern of emotions involved with entertaining was actually learned. So, how am I un-learning it? I've begun to draw the line between entertaining and hospitality. My sweet friend and one-time mentor, Mrs. Jeannette Olps, explained that entertaining centers around making things look hard and hospitality doesn't need that. Hospitality was serving others and not on making a beautifully themed dinner party. Not that I ever succeeded in that. What would usually happen is amongst all the ideas that overwhelmed me I ended up going for manageable. Originally, I wanted people to marvel at my work on the food and how clean and beautiful my house was, etc. Now, I just want a good time with friends. I've had lots of great examples to look to in hospitality over the years. The Frey family that "adopted" me while away at college would have me over all the time after Sunday church. They fixed a delicious but simple meal but it was so easy. No red carpet was rolled out, and no one seemed to stress over there being enough food for us. So relaxed and so nice. I've been to friends' houses where kids toys were everywhere--and kids for that matter. Food was presented casually but the conversation was rich! So, as I have had people over, I would remind myself often that the point is not to impress but to be hospitable. The point is enjoying time together and not "making it look hard". I love it when people make it look easy. A simple soup. A chili. Sandwiches. It is enough to make me feel welcome.
The Learning Channel (a.k.a. TLC) is known for doing some great shows that educate the general public about life for a certain sector, group, or family dealing with unusual circumstances. Long ago (or so it feels like) I watched a (what I thought) normal family handle sextuplets and twins. I watch the Duggars with their 19 children and have watched lots of little people. Lately, TLC decided to do a small series on a polygamist family. From the beginning I had mixed feelings about this. I find myself curious and knew that I would see what this show was about. At the same time, I had an icky feeling about their being a show that could draw an empathetic, normalizing light to this very wrong way of life. I mean, these are not the FLDS (or is it FDLS?) that have the long dresses, long hair and secretive & dark lives under the dictatorship of Jeff Warrens. This is a likeable group. They dress normal. They blend in. Watching this, I know that people will start to look at their situation of one man with his three wives (while marrying a fourth) as freaky but normal. I found even myself feeling more accepting (thankfully, I was guarding my heart but I see the tendency--that is how powerful t.v. is). Don't get me wrong. I'm not about getting pitchforks and running them out of town. I want to love them like I would hope to love any neighbor. But that doesn't change the fact that polygamy is unnatural (despite what polygamists might say) and unfair to the wives of this one man. The wives of the show are quite frank about jealousy issues (which is refreshing) but they are also quite adamant about the advantages of plural marriage: more time to themselves, more help with the children, refining of their character, etc. One of the women liked it because it meant that she could work outside the home with a full-time job because one of the other "sister wives" was taking care of the children (their are 13 or so total, I think). That was new to hear. It was this modern take on polygamy that I had not seen. Women's rights to work but not to have one man's heart, soul, and body in totality? Very strange. And icky.
I have read enough pregnancy literature to know that these feelings are normal. Still, I can't shake some sense of guilt that I'm replacing my firstborn or that he is going to get lost in the shuffle. Some of my fear and guilt about this might spring from the fact that I never experienced that kind of upheaval. I'm an only child, y'know. I don't have the experience of the adjustment and having a sibling. I am in brand new territory. My parents are even in brand new territory. They know what it is like to be in a large family but they do not know what its like to raise two kids under two. So, I'm just trusting that though there may be an adjustment period for David Jr. (and for us, for goodness sake) but that the dust will settle and David will no longer remember life before his little brother or sister existed. But for David and I this past year and a half have been (albeit tough) a humungous blessing. We will cherish forever the memories of "just the three of us". It does not escape me that it is a sweet time that we won't have back. So, I guess it is natural that I feel a little sad to see it go. I keep in mind that the joy I have had (unimaginable!) with my son, I will get to experience again with another blessing from the Lord. And that is a reason to celebrate!!! Break out the Saltines!!!
Pregnancy brain is back. I made pancakes this morning and completely forgot to add the eggs. I cooked them and they didn't seem that different from egg-ful pancakes. I ate half of my plate before I realized it. Maybe I'll start making it without eggs from now on since it will save me money.