Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day

My six-year-old has been obsessed with his baby pictures of late.  Especially since we don't have much "electronic time," he's taken to watching photos flash by on my computer screen and calling out when Brenner-as-as-baby whizzes by.  Now, he's figured out how to get to iPhoto and look up my 2005 album so he can have himself all to himself.  I think it's more than just screen time that he's seeking, though.
(Brenner's favorite picture, 2005)

We all want to remember the baby months, that mythical time when Mom and Dad must have been perfect and all our needs were met on demand.  For most of us, that might have been nearly true.

"Tell me about when I was born!" Brenner insists when I tuck him in at night.

"Okay, babe." I say, then tell all about how the nurses took him for a bath then came back without him so I could sleep, how I told those nurses that I didn't want sleep -- I want my baby!"

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
(Westley, 2007)

I am a stay-home-mom, so my contributions to strength, prosperity, and well-being are in the form of my children... and the way I choose to care for them.  One day I will send each of them out into the world to make their own contributions to the world.  For me, Labor Day is literally a celebration of the labor and delivery of my children.

Remembering each of those days through baby pictures seems an appropriate celebration.

We spent time together yesterday, just being.  We put the bikes in the back of the minivan and unloaded them at Sherwood Island State Park.  A ride along the beach, with Westley on the "tagalong" behind my own bike, was delightful.  We pulled off and walked down to the jetties so the kids could look for crabs under the rocks.  Hundreds of fiddlers and hermits, wet and racing, entertained them just the way kids should be entertained.

No day of reflection would be complete without a little time in the garden, too.  I had intended to write today about what I did there, but, really, how interesting would another list about what I'd dug up and re-planted be?
(Gabi, 2001)

That question posed, my backyard contribution to the well-being of our world isn't insignificant.  Oh, I'm not feeding Africa exactly, but I'm feeding my family and feeding our souls.  When I'm tilling the soil, which desperately needed tilling, I think not only of my own labors, but of those of American farmers without government subsidies who work the land the way it's supposed to be done.  What a contribution there!  And, I think about a woman in Afghanistan clinging to the one cracked pot she might have to cook whatever she can find for the children she lovingly labored into the world.
(Maddie is my step-daughter, so my labor of love began in 2003 when she was 4 years old.)

As I watch my investments decline again, and worry about my own future, it's the simple things that bring me back to the glories of this very day.  The luxuries are nice while I have them, but all I really need is my family and a little garden.

At this point, anything I plant probably won't have enough time to produce anything edible, but I plant it anyway, just to watch it grow.  Just as I had my children, just to watch them grow.

(Brenner, Gabi, Maddie & Westley, September 1, 2011)

I am thankful for the fulfilling work of raising children.

I wish that those who are without employment find enriching, well-paying work.

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