Sunday, July 15, 2007

Charlotte's Masterpiece

“What are you doing up there, Charlotte?”
“Oh, making something,” she said. “Making something, as usual.”
“Is it something for me?” asked Wilbur.
“No,” said Charlotte. “It’s something for me, for a change.”
“Please tell me what it is,” begged Wilbur.
“I’ll tell you in the morning,” she said. “When the first light comes into the sky and the sparrows stir and the cows rattle their chains, when the rooster crows and the stars fade, when early cars whisper along the highway, you look up here and I’ll show you something. I will show you my masterpiece.”

We finished Charlotte’s Web a few days ago, which meant payday for me. Let me tell you, folks, motherhood is worth it. It really is. When you finish a book like that and look up at your child to see tears in his eyes, you know it’s worth it. I asked, “Why are you crying? Are you sad?” 6-year-old answered, “Yes, but it’s a kind of happy-sad.” And we talked about that feeling when a book ends—as if a dear friend is no longer in your life, but you celebrate how much richer you are because she was there for a while. Yes, a kind of happy-sad.

I love this quote from the book (above). Because it really kicks me in the stomach. I am not so great at seeing my children as my masterpiece. In some ways, they can’t be my masterpiece because I don’t make them; they are already made. But I think I could use more of this kind of thinking in my life. I’m always thinking of the masterpiece I will one day create in the form of a book that I’ll publish or a great work of teaching that I’ll do. But I need to remember to focus on my most important work, which is these little guys running around here, instead of seeing them as the distractions from my work. I’d like to thank Charlotte for that re-focusing this week.

I also like that Charlotte says that her work is something for herself. Granted that the work she does for Wilber AND the work she does on her egg sac are both selfless things. But I like that she takes joy in doing something that she sees as being for herself. (And it would be cool if I could see all of the work that I do for others as work that is also for myself.)

Finally, I like that she says she is always making things. I think that she is a typical female. We are all always making things, aren’t we? In one way or another?

Anyway, Charlotte is not the perfect heroine. She gets kind of snobby sometimes. But I love how unselfconscious she is. When someone talks about how beautiful she is, she answers, “Yes, I am, aren’t I?” Can you imagine answering that? Well, you should. Because God made you and you are beautiful.

By the way, I was beautiful today. My sister gave me a dress that I NEVER would have chosen for myself. But it’s kind of sexy and I wore it well today and I enjoyed it. So there.


Ilove2travel said...

You looked beautiful in your new dress - you might even say radiant! Next time you might even want to paint your toe nails red.

Emily M. said...

I love that book. Love it.

Marj said...

Cute dress. You look good in it because you are so thin. I would not look good in a dress like that because of my gi-normous pooch. How can you have 4 kids and not have a pooch. Not fair! And with your cute hair style you are looking sassy!

Justine said...


Ang said...

Now we just need to get you into some strappy high heeled shoes. :-) You look great, love the dress. I, too, love Charlotte's Web--the prose is so elegant and the sentiments are rather sophisticated and kids still love it. The perfect kids' book.

Darlene said...

I do have a pooch. Don't you know about strategic posing? But I admit it has shrunk since my illness. I'd take it back if I could feel 100% well. . .

Angie said...

I think my challenge as a woman is to rejoice in my home and children as my masterpiece while also honoring their agency and individuality. I want to have that level of commitment to them while also giving them the freedom to continue the work in their own ways.

Rachel said...

You look so nice! You haven't aged a bit.

Queen K said...

NO! My kids are not my masterpiece. That kind of thinking is what made me nearly have a nervous breakdown.

And neither is my home.

Neither is any book I will ever write.

My life is my masterpiece. My self. It's the only thing I have to offer God. I can't offer him my kids or my home or anything else. I can only offer him myself.

texasgal said...

"Payday for me" and "motherhood is worth it" Those were my favorite parts of this post. I love it when those golden moments happen. And I think recognizing and enjoying them is an actual talent.