Matron: "Yes, that's right. Things are really busy. I feel like I'm doing half of everything -- half teaching, half writing the book, half parenting. Three kids, tenure track, book contract, theater for Scarlett, new high school, new junior high, the 60 lb puppy who eats laundry--- but I have about four hours a day for the domestic stuff because of the job. And then there is cleaning. I'm also co-chair of the Parent-Teacher Organization. I'm totally strapped. Does that sound as pathetic as I think it does?.
Here, the Matron waits for support and sympathy. Like, ' wow, I know you have so much on your plate.' She really wants someone to say '' Oh, honey, you're amazing. You're doing so much -- you ARE the rock star!! hang in there." That's what she wanted to hear. And maybe be handed a beer and a pill of indiscriminate origin.
Instead. . . .
MIL: "When I was 26 years old, I had a 3 year old, a 14 month old and a husband who thought 'helping' meant putting his beer bottle in the sink. And there were many beer bottles. Then I gave birth to twins -- one boy, one girl(reminder, you're married to the boy). So here I am with a 3 year old, 14 month old, and twin newborns. Remember, this is when men did nothing. But drink beer, in my case. I was lucky if he scraped a plate or patted a child's head. One week into the four children, with 2 hours of sleep and up off and on all night with the twins --and the 14 month old who was scared and sleepless -- I feel to my knees at 4 in the morning without any sleep for two days and no food --and a baby crying in the background and the toddler awake again -- and prayed to St. Anne, the patron saint of mothers. I begged her for help and strength. I begged. I was on the floor, crying for the strength to continue. You know what happened? The spirit of St. Anne came and descended upon me, filling my heart with the Holy Spirit and my body with strength. I stood up and was never tired again.
Significant Pause wherein the Matron understood she was to fully appreciate the significance of this moment, both for her MIL and for her considerably lesser self (as someone who has no direct line to saints).
Matron: "You stood up and were never tired again? With a 3 year old, 14 month old and newborn twins? Never tired again?"
MIL: "NEVER TIRED AGAIN."
Matron: "Do you have a cell phone or email address for that saint?"