There are some “givens” when it comes to living with a toddler. One of those certainties is that every single one of my baby girl’s experiences requires, in her mind, a huge, dramatic response. For two-year-olds (and those who act like them), falling on the carpet means extreme crying. Being super sleepy or super hungry means extreme frustration and attitude. Being super happy means extreme evidences of joy: dancing, tumbling, screaming, etc.
My baby stays on 10. Lol!
And frankly, I love that about her. She feels deeply. Her responses, though childish, are authentic.
But as much as I love that about her, I want her to eventually learn that some things are just not that deep. They aren’t! Everything doesn’t require an extreme response or even deep contemplation. We live in a world where we are either making mountains out of molehills, as my Granny used to say, or we are ignoring real mountains altogether. We are either being psycho-analyzed by Dr. Phil or putting all our ratchetness on display on Maury. There’s often no balance. We either refuse to respond to the things that really need our response or we are responding with too much drama, attention and unnecessary fanfare to things that are unimportant and insignificant (See the Knowles/Carter saga or the Willow Smith bed photo mess). And as much as I like pop culture and the occasional celebrity kerfluffle, I think it’s the extra attention/over-dramatization/over-analysis that disturbs me the most because by having these extreme responses we are ascribing some kind of deeper meaning to things that don’t matter. Which inevitably takes away from the things that do.
The following example is probably a silly one but it’s the one that got me thinking about all this:
I have a very specific position on taking the trash out.
I won’t do it.
Not at all.
I will let the trash grow into a 6ft looming pile of stink before I take it out to the curb.
And this is not because I’m lazy or enjoy the smell of rotten bananas or prefer a filthy kitchen.
(It never gets that bad, by the way).
It’s because it’s his job.
And I know the very fact that I’ve said “his job” has my feminist friends reeling and my not-so feminist friends hi-fiving each other and shouting, “Hallelujah!”
You’re both jumping the gun.
Because when I say his job, I’m not making any profound statement about gender roles in marriages.
I’m more interested in HIS role in OUR marriage.
This one dude.
This one man and the one out of maybe three mandatory job requirements for THIS particular gig he was hired for nearly six years ago.
It might have even been written in our vows somewhere, although I can’t remember exactly.
“Do you thou William promise to always and forever take the garbage outside?”
Or something like that.
Nevertheless, when he said “I Do,” I said, “I Don’t!”
Take out the garbage, that is.
And it’s not that I can’t take the trash out (feminists friends can clap here).
It’s that I choose not to.
I choose instead to wash dishes, do laundry, plant veggies and prune roses, clean toilets and tubs, dust and vacuum, pick up toddler toys, wash said toddler’s bottom, pick up the toddler toys that somehow magically appear once again on the floor, pick up grown man socks, cook dinner…alright, throw meat and veggies in crock pot… and well, I suppose you get the point.
So yes, I draw the line at taking the trash out.
It’s a line firmly embedded in the concrete commitments of our household.
A line never to be crossed without consequence. 🙂
Now in the world of over-dramatic responses and pseudo psycho-analysis, all this says something significant about me. Maybe my being so adamant about not taking out the trash is symbolic of my inner need to have some say, some control over the part of my life (wifedom and motherhood) that feels the most out of control. Or maybe not taking out the trash is a metaphor for me not wanting to get down and dirty in life (although I do clean the toilet so there’s that glitch in the matrix). It’s possible that my refusal is fueled by my desire for my husband to serve me in some small kind of reciprocal manner given all that I do in and outside of the home.
Maybe, just maybe…
I just don’t WANT to take out the trash.
As I said, some things are just not that deep.
The bills that are due in my house? That’s deep.
My search for purpose through my passions? My love for Jesus? Those are way deep.
My desire to be a loving, faithful, dedicated wife and mother in spite of my many flaws? Whew! That’s five-layers deep.
Me not wanting to take the trash out? Not so much.
I think if we (the collective we) could just get over ourselves… get past having a two-year old response to everything… we will free ourselves up to focus on the truly deep stuff. The stuff that matters.
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This post is the latest in Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Faith & Motherhood” series.
Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at www.traceymlewis.com.