Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Domestic Terminal of Life

Family outing to an Airshow Summer 2006

When I first landed in the domestic terminal of life in the early 1990's, I intended my stopover to be a short one. I was happy to be home with my first born but I was on maternity leave and rather than return to my familiar position in the Health Service, I chose to apply for another job in a different part of the country. I boarded a plane and flew down to attend the interview taking along my husband and my 3 month old son. He was left holding the baby as I was grilled by a panel of four senior managers for over an hour. I was offered the job and I accepted, believing that somehow I would be able to juggle everything with my husband taking on duties in the domestic terminal on my behalf, as I traveled between two destinations - home and the workplace which was my 'international terminal' with a lot more going on, more people to deal with, deadlines to meet, connections to make - life is always busier in the international terminal but I had a passport (my qualification) and thought I had to use it outside of the home.

Today I still have a valid passport, my hard earned qualification has not expired but I have chosen to leave it in the drawer and live my life fully within the domestic terminal of life. I expect to be delayed in this terminal for quite some time but I am not complaining! I have ripped up the boarding pass and I will not be boarding a plane to go anywhere soon. I no longer read the situations vacant columns to see if my occupation is still in demand or to discover what salary package it now offers, for I no longer measure my worth in monetary terms. The Bible tells me that a good wife is worth far above rubies. In a word, she is priceless to her husband and family - this is how I would prefer to be valued!

If you have spent any length of time in a conventional airport, even in the international terminal, the novelty can wear off. Believe me, I know - I once spent 14 hours waiting for a connecting flight in Singapore - the airport there is expansive but after 14 hours I could find my way around with ease - if only I could have earned frequent airport terminal walking points rather than frequent flyer points! You have tested every perfume in the duty free store, browsed every magazine in the bookshop including the ones in other languages, sipped more than a few lattes from cardboard cups or worse, suffered 'International Roast' just to keep you awake (always the coffee at my workplaces!) - you just want to go home! And this was my desire as I roamed the 'international terminal' of the workplace - I just wanted to come home and stay home. I thank God that He heard my prayer and made a way for me to return to the place where I longed to be, to be all that He had created me to be.

The domestic terminal at the airport is somewhere we do not wish to linger, it is just a place to pass through but the domestic terminal of life is a place I have come to love and I am so pleased I chose to step off the plane, climb down the career ladder and exchange it for all things domestic!

Today I cannot imagine a life spent outside of the domestic terminal. Retrieving some clothes from the washing line the other day, I discovered my twin girls playing a game they had invented using toy dinosaurs stolen from their brother's room. These are the moments I do not want to miss out on!

It is called 'Toss the Dinosaur'!

Let's play it again - this is so much fun!

And here is the most recent photograph of another of my reasons for not wanting to leave the domestic terminal.
He needs me to stay in the domestic terminal of life, there are nappies to change, feeds to be given, wind to be brought up and kisses to be planted upon his chubby little cheek right throughout the day!

And there are others who are not totally dependent upon me but appreciate that I am here to oversee the management of everything that happens within the home as I fulfill the role of wife and mother, being a helpmate to my husband and taking care of all the domestic details, as well as the vital act of nurturing.

There are those who would describe the domestic life as one of drudgery, a life of menial, unrelenting tasks and unpaid labour but that's not how I see it. I thought about what I achieved yesterday and it did not seem like much until I realized it was so much more - I gave the gift of optimal nutrition (at regular intervals throughout the day and night) to a baby which will bring strength, health and vitality to his growing body, and along with this came comfort and emotional wellness through bonding for both mother and baby!

I offered 'educated' guesses to a teenage son, who was reading and trying to decipher a wordy sociological text about the media in preparation for a university assignment. Did I help him? Probably not! - but in listening to his opinions I was letting him know that I appreciated the effort he is putting in to his degree - communicating with teenagers is so important - show an interest in what they are interested in, it will pay dividends!

I baked my husband's favourite rhubarb cake which was appreciated by all the members of the family who like rhubarb, this also filled my kitchen with the aroma of baking which drew people into the kitchen, the heart of my home and a hub of domesticity. The cake brought other benefits - we stopped our individual activities and sat down together as a family to talk, laugh, drink coffee and eat cake.

I accompanied my husband as we drove to a local nursery to choose some water plants for our pond - a major landscaping project my husband has been working on, as we tend to our eight acres of eden. On our return the children helped to fetch an old bath tub which was sunk into the water, secured and filled with rocks and planted with Louisiana iris. One outdoor work project was the chance for a husband and wife to communicate, a family to work together and another section of our garden was beautified.

These were the main accomplishments of the day. I did not have time for intensive house cleaning, craft projects or even the computer which can entice us away so easily from our everyday life and the people who need us the most. I was encamped in the domestic terminal of life and it is where I am returning to now. My father-in-law arrives for a visit from NZ on the weekend and there are domestic duties to attend to and a new school year to prepare for.

Faith our Border Collie who also needs us to be home - she loves company!

I am grateful for summer holidays and even though the days are hot and humid and our air conditioning is not working and we are roasting, it has caused me to slow down, to remember that beautiful Scripture in Isaiah 40 v 11 that reminds us that the Lord gently leads those with little ones - it is simply too hot to race around town or work for hours in the garden - I am so grateful for mulch, I need to use it more! I also have a baby who needs my attention and I have deliberately chosen to stay home more and live a life 'less complicated.' Therefore I do not crowd my schedule with summer sports, organized 'educational' activities outside of the home or visits to town unless absolutely necessary - no window shopping for me!

A twin trying to look and stay cool!

Of course we still find time for people - over the weekend we enjoyed our local markets ensuring we arrived as soon as the stalls set up, avoiding the crowds and the heat of the day and there was time to stop and chat with folk, buy veggie plants and enjoy a cup of ice cold homemade lemonade! We attended church on Sunday morning followed by more fellowship at the church picnic. My daughter went to a birthday dinner at a Thai restaurant last evening and I spent this morning engaged in animated conversation on the telephone with my former neighbour who had received our family newsletter, it was so lovely to hear from her - we talked about family and caught up on so much.

Life will get busier over the next few weeks. I will have less time to blog, so my blog posts will be short and sweet - this is just another way of living a less complicated life for me and setting my priorities in order. This is my chosen field, my vocation and calling, this is my life and it is where I want to be - the domestic terminal of life, a place I am happy to call home!

With Love and Joy,


Anonymous said...

I so agree. What a wonderful post. I am endeavouring to do the same and lead a quiet life at home and simplifying our lives, even though busy.Going out less is a good start. I love the photos of your girls playing their dinosaur game. I am amused at what my children come up with and their games.I find your writing very inspirational.Thankyou for sharing. Angela

Niki said...

Oh Ann, those chubby cheeks. Oh my.
He is adorable.
Border Collies, Babies, Kids & talk of a womans vital role in her families life.
Some, if not all of my favourite things.
You are such an inspiration.
I am turning 40 in February & we are seriously considering another little one.
Whenever I am feeling scared, I read one or two of your posts & I feel right at home.
Can I ask what Church you belong to if its not too forward?
We are christened Catholics, but prefer to say Christians as the boys attend the "Church of Jesus Christ" play centered group every Thursday. My oldest does their youth group.
And we often go there for their evening masses.
Anyhoo just interested. My two neighbours(& friends)are both devout followers, one Catholic & one LDS & I absolutely love spending time listening to both of them chatting about life & faith.
Love to your beautiful family,
Niki x

Fruitful Harvest said...

Motherhhood is grand isn't it!
Great pictures of the kiddos....and I love the dog! I want our next dog to be a Border Collie or Austailain Shepherd. I love the black and white ones! Right now we have a Beagle. He is almost 10 yrs old!


Anonymous said...

Oh goodness I want to kiss those chubby cheeks! So precious~ I loved this post. I felt everything you were saying because I feel the same way. Would you believe however that I have never eaten anything rhubarb? I'm originally from South United States (Texas) and where I came from no one ever ate it. Now that I'm in North East US I def. want to try it. :) Anne, your children are gorgeous! You are so blessed <3

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Ann you have got it all so right.
Our kids need us home and I too fight to keep things "slow" But we manage mostly.
I am working very casually again but only becuse my kiddos can come along....This is something they adore!
I am dreading holidays finsihing and I am not wishing my kiddos away back to school and all the other things,Here together suits me fine:)

Christy said...

Amen Ann! From one retired health worker to another...!

SF said...

What a beautiful post Ann - I love your heart. :) And I adore that photo of your sweet little man!! He is so precious. xoxo

Renata said...

Great post Ann! I also returned to work briefly after Zai was born, but resigned after I had Ellie. It is one decision I haven't regretted - even when it would be easier to have the income, I just have to look at my gorgous kids & know they are worth the investment of staying home.
Your baby is just so cute! Give him a big hug for me!!
Just a note - I remember being so thankful that my mum was at home when I was a teenager. It was great that we always knew that Mum was there for us. I will always be thankful to her for not returning to work, but being there.
Have a lovely weekend
Enjoy your beautiful family - your girls sound so much like my boys at times - they love playing their little games together too - so cute!
God bless
Renata :)

Jen said...

I have been a SAHM since October 1998 when my first was born. Despite long and hard periods when dh was unemployed or only casually employed I stayed out of the workforce. (Does doing Avon count?)

Anyway in October 2007 both dh and I went for jobs with Woolies, anything to help us out financially. I got the job, dh didn't, but only a couple of weeks later we found out I had fallen pregnant the same week I started work. I always extend bf and co-sleep so I knew that leaving this baby with anyone was an impossibility with my value system. I quit the following March.

I really think G-d wanted me to know that His plans for me did not include me working outside our home at this stage of life. Just took the equivalent of a 2 by 4 up the side of the head to get it! Who says He doesn't have a sense of humour? Dh has since studied to expand his CV and has gotten a great govt job, one that is a great fit for his personality.

I won't be working outside the home for a long time, 15 years at least. Here is where I belong, I know you understand.

Farming On Faith said...

I so enjoyed your post. Your baby is beautiful. I hope your weather has cooled down a bit. I was happy to get your email yesterday.
I know you must be really busy with the wee one.
Have a great weekend.
I am off to visit my Sunday School little ones this morning~after some coffee!

the happy sparrow said...

Such a great post! I love the analogy! I am loving the domestic terminal and so glad that you found your way there! Thanks so much for your encouragement for the journey!
:) Martine


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