Pretty vs. Peaceful

I woke up this morning with the ridiculous (and dangerous) notion that I wanted to look nice for church today.  Maybe wear a dress (for the first time since Amelie was born).  Something pretty.  Maybe do my hair…with a blow dryer.  To give you a picture of how wild and crazy I was feeling, I even contemplated abandoning comfort and contentment (i.e., my Special Sabbath Flip-Flops) and wear shoes with heels.  <gasp>  Because, mistake of all mistakes, I woke up wanting to look PRETTY.
See, it’s all good and fine when you get ready in the morning and you end up looking pretty.  But when you start out with prettiness in mind, you are really tempting the gods of Ugly.
But I was reckless with my fate, and it almost ruined my day.  First problem was the dress.  I tried on my pretty white summer dress that I bought last year and only got to wear a few times.  It’s on the Small Clothes side of the closet.  But I was feeling brave and tried it on.  Lo and behold, it fit!  Devo could even zip it all the way up!  AND I could breathe with it zipped up!  So, by Lia’s request, I twirled and whirled and felt pretty…until I realized that I couldn’t breastfeed in it.
Now, I know that some mommies think it’s terrible to breast feed their children in a bathroom stall, but once my babies are past the newborn stage, I have no such qualms.  No guilt about making them eat in such a dirty place.  No guilt for missing a chance to assert women’s rights to breastfeed whenever and wherever (surely I’ve already proved myself a champion of that particular cause).  So, when I want to wear clothes that are not conducive to modest-feeding-of-babe, I wear them anyhow and truck us off to the nearest bathroom when it’s time to eat.
But this dress, my pretty white dress that I’ve finally lost enough baby weight to fit into…well, I can’t even do the bathroom stall thing with it.  First of all, my milk-swelled bosom doesn’t allow for any tugging or wiggling of fabric.  (Hey, I was happy to get zipped up…a few weeks ago the zipper only went half-way!)  And then, I can’t zip it or unzip it without assistance.  Rats.
It was at this point that my promise-filled day started to look a little less promising.
I will spare you the rest of the details (surely this is a comfortingly familiar story…fill in details according to experience), but it was a grumpy morning.  I tried, fairly successfully, to shield my family from the whining and complaints of El Grumpo, and somehow ended up dressed, with my hair done, and make up on.

With my glasses still held together with a paper clip.

I thought it the better part of valor to get out the door before completely succumbing to the Vacuum of Intentional Prettiness, so as soon as Amelie woke up from her morning nap (Devo put her to sleep while I was struggling in the bedroom, dear man), I loaded everyone into our uber stroller and headed out the door.
I’ve started walking to church every week.  Started a few weeks ago (of course, during the record-breaking heat wave) when the church was re-doing its parking lot.  It’s only half a mile…an easy five minute walk when walking purposefully.  Ten minutes when strolling in Special Sabbath Flip-Flops.
See, I’ve always had a secret desire to be an Orthodox Jew and walk to church on the Sabbath Day…there is something so devout and elemental about it.  Never felt that desire too strongly when we lived three miles away, but since moving closer to church there has been a resurgence of devotion.
Also, there is something really nice about breaking up the craziness of getting everybody ready and out the door and the craziness of hauling everybody hither and yon once at church.  When I drive, the craziness is broken up by a running dialogue, a la Lia and Mommy, with comments supplied by Amelie:

“I want to listen to my music!”
It’s only a minute to church, we won’t listen today.
“Why, mommy, why?”
Amelie: Bah, bah, bah.
Why not?
“Whatareyoudoing, Mommy?”
Driving along, singing a song.
“Whatareyousinging, Mommy?”
Sabbath is a happy day, a happy day….
Amelie: shriek, shriek
“Afrikaans, Mommy.”
Sabbat is a blae dag, a blae dag…

Not exactly a break.  And then, we’re there.

When we walk, there are nice moments where all three of us just watch the scenery go by.  Then Mommy has a chance to gather up scattered nerves and put them in order again.  And, more importantly, to reconnect to what Quakers call ‘the Divine Center’.
Someone told me that they passed us on their way to church today and that I looked very peaceful.

Ah.

Notice they didn’t say I looked very pretty, which was the goal of the morning.  No, they said peaceful, which, now that I come to think of it, is a much better goal.

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