Sunday, February 01, 2009

Just a Sunday morning pondering..

I am a self confessed 'tangent girl' - my brain goes on weird and wonderful trips some time.
Anyway this morning Joseph asked if we could make a St. Brigid's Cross as, indeed, it is St. Brigid's Day (and thus according to Irish tradition tomorrow is the first day of Spring.. and it['s due to snow... butI digress - see tangent in operation there...)
Now I was never very good at making St. Brigid's crosses - as we would say round these parts they are footery wee buggers. But my daddy - a primary school teacher - is somewhat of an expert.
So I decided to enlist him but first tried to think where I could get my hand on some rushes to make the aforementioned cross.
I remembered back to when we were wee and there was an overgrown, derelict piece of land between our primary school and home and we would walk through it every day. It was excellent rush gathering fodder - but now it's all bungalows and sheltered accommodation and not ripe for the picking.
But my mind wandered on to that particular piece of wasteland where we would spend hours building huts, letting our imagination run wild etc.
Part of the area (to my memory... which was hazy) was an old run down grotto. Or at least we always thought it was an old grotto. Chances are it was the side end of an outside toilet or something equally glam.
I remember once, sitting at this 'grotto' and contemplating what my teacher had told me that day. Someone had said they adored their parents.
This was wrong - our teacher said - you could not adore or worship anyone but God. And while I get the worship bit, I wonder how it was possible not to be 'allowed' to adore another human being (adore in my book being an extreme feeling of love - not, ya know, building a shrine in a kind of a freaky way...)
The same teacher would have imprinted on us very strongly that pride was a sin. It was a sin to be proud of your achievements, your family, and I suppose taking it to it's logical conclusion your children. He was very adamant about that too.
I've never quite got that one - but I've always felt a little sinful or wrong feeling proud of things I've achieved.

There is a Phillip Larkin poem about parenthood which goes a little something like this...

They f*ck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were f*cked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

I'd like in turn to thank that particular teacher for his role in my unending Catholic guilt - my parents (including my daddy who tells me frequently he is proud of me) never did half as much damage.


mandy said...

loving the larkin, if he weren't dead he'd be on my fantasy dinner party list.
unfortunately, can't help with the catholic guilt as i'm afflicted also. funny how it never rears its head on a saturday night but hunts you down on a sunday morning screaming "repent repent repent"!!

bfs ~ "Mimi" said...

I was not raised Catholic, so I don't really understand the guilt, well, except when I've gone against the grain of my Christian upbringing.

I do have Catholic friends, however, er, used-to-be-Catholic, who to this day won't discuss awful things they went through. It makes me sad.

All I do know is that HIS grace reaches me. I believe that parents were put here only to babysit for HIM. And some parents fail miserably to be as much like HIM as they should be.

I love the relationship you share with you son, and I have a feeling that he sees GOD in you. You and God cheer little Joseph on.

I tell my little grandchildren how proud I am of them - it's important to feel that loving grace early on.

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