American author Anna Quindlen writes a chapter in her 2000 book Loud and Clear: “A New Roof on an Old House.” Her family was putting a slate roof on the old farmhouse that was meant to last at least one-hundred years. Listen to this :
“In this fast food, face-lift, no-fault divorce world of ours, the slate roof feels like the closest we will come to eternity. It and the three children for whom it is really being laid down.
“Mother’s Day is a silly holiday…. It is silly because something as fleeting and finite as 24 hours is the antithesis of what it means to mother a child. This is the work of the ages.
“One slate laid upon another and another, and in the end, if they have done the job with care and diligence, you have built a person, reasonably resistant to the rain.
“There is the roof, growing larger and stronger, one small piece after another making a great whole, until it can withstand winds and heat and blizzards and downpours. It is a utilitarian thing, and a majestic one, too. There are ghosts beneath its eaves, ghosts not yet to be born, the ghosts of my children’s grown children, saying, ‘Our grandparents put that roof on the house….’ And if I speak through the opaque curtain of time I would say, ‘We did it to keep you safe and warm, so that you could do your best by you and yours, just as we have tried to do—the work of the ages.”
I have watched my wife mother our children—who have children of their own for whom she has felt responsibility to make sure about the roof. When she awakened me the morning that Debi would be born, I said, “Go back to sleep, it will be alright.” She didn’t and she never got over the habit of being a mother. I’m watching her mother (verb) on this day when she should be collecting accolades. To be true to Ms. Quindlen’s story, the slate roof work never ends for the woman. My female friends who have no biological children find ways to birth and mother and supervise the roofing.
I’m celebrating the ladies who bring wisdom, insight and affection to me from that unique perspective that God installed.
The work of the ages.
©D. Dean Benton http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DDeanBenton/