(Im)material Blessings

Yesterday after having the joy of babysitting my niece and nephew, I wanted to stop off at a cute little local fabric shop. Perhaps I should call it something more like a “textile boutique” ~ because it was that lovely. Selling all kinds of Amy Butler and Heather Bailey bolts of beautiful goodness. I wanted to touch it all. However, I rather hurried, as I had a very tired two year old on my hip who was ready to head home to his comfy crib; he definitely would rather touch Big Bear, clasp blankie, and rest his head on his own crisp & cool bedsheet than be in this cutesy, inspiring place. That is, until he saw the Tiffany inspired lights and the lineup of sewing machines on a table. Then he started saying “la, la, la, la” (light) and making motor sounds intermittently. The owner of the store who was restocking shelves couldn’t get over his “cute sounds.”

At any rate… I was buying material with which I will be making a gift for one of my dearest friends. I chose three different bolts, and got 1 1/2 yards of each; then I will let her choose which one she wants me to whip up into a gift for her, and I will still have two lengths of material leftover for future projects.

While the saleslady was handwriting me a receipt and cutting the fabric into the appropriate lengths, we chatted. Whilst my son continued his chorus of “la, la, la, bbbbbrrrrr, la, la, la, bbbbbrrrr.” She was saying how much she enjoyed filling in there at the textile boutique (if I may call it that) for her friend who has mono, since she has a 5 month old little boy she’s been staying home with. She said, “I don’t know how those stay-home moms do it. I am too smart for that – for things like keeping house. I have my master’s degree, I used to be a business owner, and I miss challenging work and stimulating occupation.” Then she caught herself and looked up at me as though the lightbulb just turned on, and said, “You’re probably one of those stay-home moms, huh?”

Good work, Holmes. Was it the fact that it’s 2:30 in the afternoon, I am definitely not wearing a business suit, & I’ve got a sleepy toddler on my hip that tipped you off? Yes, Watson, exactly so.

Anyway… after that grating little phrase about her being too smart for things like keeping house… I so desperately wanted to say, “then you’re obviously not doing it right!” and smartly refer her to Proverbs 31.

But I didn’t. I held my tongue as she continued to tell me about her 10 and 12 year old daughters being fairly self-sufficient, and how her first son was also her “first surprise.” Then I stopped holding my tongue, and said, “I could use a surprise like that.” She sort of raised her eyebrows and stopped rolling the bolt of material. I continued, “My life could use a wonderful surprise like that for a change. What a blessing for you.”

There was a pause in the room. It felt like a long time, but I’m quite certain it couldn’t have been more than five seconds. And then she folded up the material for me, I exchanged some money for it, and I walked out. My son in one arm, my three bits of material in the other. Musing over my sweet boy whose head was resting on my shoulder, the home where I was heading to go take dominion over yet again, and the husband who was out working tirelessly to provide for our little family & our heaps of needs.

I was just thankful. Thankful for what I have been given. Thankful for my domain, my dominion, and my opportunity to change the world through what I clean, create, raise, train, grow, bring in, and send forth.

Thankful for these material and immaterial blessings.

8 Replies to “(Im)material Blessings”

  1. ahhhh, yes. I love how God can take a conversation that would leave some people feeling down in the dumps, not important, weird and useless and He turns them around for times when we can stop and see our day-to-day lives as blessings. I love Him for that! I hear comments like these every time I enter a conversation and someone asks “where are you sending your son to school?” or “so you guys are done having kids, right?” and we answer with “homeschooling” and “we hope not!” I struggle with the feelings of defeat in conversations like those, when I’m the only one not going with the flow… but God is so good to give those moments of pure joy and thankfulness for the lives He’s blessed us with!

  2. Melissa,
    Have you read G. K. Chesteron’s Brave New Family? I haven’t gotten my hands on the book yet, but have read portions online. SO much good stuff, and a good chapter or two on domesticity in particular. You’d love it.

  3. Good for you, Melissa! I’m glad you said something!
    (What is so intellectually stimulating & challenging about stocking racks with fabric bolts?!)

  4. Oohhh, Amy butler fabrics…I love!
    Onto the main topic of your post, I am a little dumbfounded by what some people say sometimes. But gotta love your “Watson and Holmes” references for a little humor in the story. And your response to the situation as well.
    On an unrelated note, but in similar topic of what you hear “today’s women” say : It irks me when I see good men not being appreciated and being belittled by their wives too because I would so love the chance to simply be a wife that can stand by her man.

  5. Gotta love that fabric! 🙂

    Wow…. too smart for keeping house? It irks me to know that some see being a homemaker as a mindless occupation. It’s anything but! I know it’s challenging, stretching, and stimulating. Her job is probably easier than a normal day for most stay at home Moms.

    Good for you for speaking up and perhaps causing her to think/ponder a bit…


    And by the way, I’m praying for that surprise for you.

    Love you.

  6. @Erin, LOL! Seriously, working at a fabric store is SO much more her pay grade with her having a Master’s and all. And you’re right Melissa, being a stay-at-home mom can be as intellectually challenging as you make it to be. Want a real challenge? Interact with your kids! Talk to them! Teach them things! Run your own business! Budget! Invest! Write! The world is at your fingertips, you get to be so many occupations when you are able to stay-at-home.

  7. @Erin~ Haha, no joke! It didn’t look nearly as exciting, challenging, stimulating, or rewarding as my days. 🙂

  8. @Bobbi Jo~ No, I haven’t, but it’s already on my Christmas list this year because I have read such excellent excerpts from it! 🙂

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