April 4, 2010

When April Fool’s Gets Serious (or, how I killed the mommie revolution). An Easter Resurrection story, by a sorry daddy.

I think I killed the mommie revolution and I’m really sorry.

In the midst of the wildly successful (in my humble and unbiased opinion) elephantjournal April Fool’s edition, my wife Joana Smith posted a blog about a Houston megachurch closing it’s door because it couldn’t stay green. That part was just a joke.

But then, about 2/3s of the way through the post, Joana reveals that “lately we have been fighting…” (This begins the serious part.) It’s true. We had a big fight on Wednesday night. Essentially, I came home frustrated. You see, I’m a PhD student who has yet to defend his dissertation (long story). I’m working full time at a Community College (a 5/5/2 load for those of you who understand/care).  And I’m lagging on grading right now… Sometimes, I just feel like I’m not sure that this is what I signed on for.

Anyway, I was really hard on Joana on Wednesday night. I yelled. I accused her of not cleaning up the house because she was so focused on her blog. Actually, what I said was, “You’ve been sitting on your ass!” (Which is the position in which she actually does the blogging, to be fair.) As an aside, she does spend a *lot* of time on her posts if you haven’t ever noticed. But it’s totally not fair for me to insinuate that somehow Jo doesn’t work hard. She works incredibly hard on being a good mommy. And she is a good mommy.

I was an ass. And Joana, in her way, internalized this and came to the following conclusion: “I’m not spending enough time on our relationship.”

She goes on, “If I spent as much time and energy on our relationship as I do on my revolution of the trees…” then our relationship would improve. “So,” she concludes, “I’m giving it up, / so that I can work on being *only* a mommy, / because whatever is better for my family, / is better for me.”

And she was pretty much completely serious about that.

It made me sick when I read it the following day.

Like you, I’m sure, I would feel a great loss if I didn’t get to see Joana’s blogs. They are beautiful and they brighten my day when I read them. Unlike you, though, if she quit writing, I would no longer be married to Joana Smith (+ blogs), but Joana Smith (- blogs). This is not something I want.

Mainly because she wouldn’t want that. And it would be my fault. I would have killed something she loves and is invested in. Her little project. I killed it. Basically.


So, it’s interesting that this year April 1 fell on Maundy Thursday. Because that’s the night before we Christians (yes, I’m a practicing Episcopalian), commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

It would be some kind of amazing metaphor for me to have killed the mommie revolution on the eve of the commemoration of when the Roman state killed Jesus of Nazareth.

Last night at our church, we celebrated the stations of the cross, which ends in the burial of Jesus. We call it “Women at the Tomb.” We had four amazing women musicians share music for each station of the cross: very diverse, thoughtful, sad, and hopeful. Joana sang three songs: Amy Hit the Atmosphere (Counting Crows), Stuff (original), and Witness (Sarah McLaughlin). They were beautiful.

Joana is an artist. That’s just who she is. Almost by definition, there is no obvious path of life for an artist. For most people, Joana is “only a mommy.” A really creative mommy, but still just a mommy. For Joana, she is also the artist-prophet of a green mommie revolution. It’s her calling. So it would really suck if she had to give it up.


Sometimes it’s easy for me to fall into the ruts and traps of cultural attitudes and widespread beliefs. Sometimes these ruts throw me against my traveling partner.  For instance, sometimes I expect Joana to take care of the house and the kids even when she’s doing all she can. And sometimes I say that the blog is “just a hobby.”

So, you can see how I killed the mommie revolution. And this part is (mostly) entirely for real.

Tomorrow, we will commemorate the rebirth of Jesus Christ on Easter. We’ll do a new liturgy, unveil the Cross, wear bright spring clothes, and we’ll once again say “Alleluia.” It’s like we breathe a great sigh of relief.

Christ is not dead.

As I understand things, it’s almost certainly the case that Jesus of Nazereth–that amazing man–died and never walked among people again. But the Christ, that spiritual, divine-human instantiation that was the life and works of Jesus of Nazareth. That thing lives on.

Tomorrow, I’m sure Fr. Patrick will say something about how *we* are the Christians, we are the church, we are where Christ lives on, in our lives and work. Or at least he’s said something like that before.

So maybe the revolution of the mommies was just the caterpillar and not the butterfly.  I sure hope so. I hope Joana’s blogging continues.

That’s the serious part.

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