Thursday, February 23, 2012

Failed Odyssey in Lent

Hello again. It's the second day of Lent.  I don't know about you but I've already screwed up. 

I'm supposed to be practicing prudence this Lenten season, the virtue of doing God's will in all things.  I'd say I was doing great except when I really missed the mark and that happened three times.  The thing is, God I think sometimes laughs at me.  No really. 

I had been helping my son for over five hours, giving him guidance, organizing his papers, helping him with those executive thinking skills that adolescents think are optional. He'd suffered through my occasional lapse into lecture you-should-have-come-to-us-sooner-blah-blah-blah-if-you-just-would-stay-focused-bladdy-blah and the humiliation of having to call a classmate for the math assignment.

I'd endured his occasional chirping and yipping about random things to get off topic or needs to try to pick a fight with his sister for unwisely bragging that she didn't have any homework that day.  We'd been at it through dinner, after I finished baths and bedtime stories for the littles, and it was now late. I was tired. I was annoyed at all the work he hadn't done. But I liked the topic.  He was answering questions about the Odyssey. 

Now I love the Odyssey, I've read it several times.  It's part of why I'm writing Helen. 

"MOM?  What was Kir-key's other name?" he asked from his homework desk.  I was in the other room, finally sitting down. "I don't understand." I didn't want to move.  I didn't want to think. I'd given. I was done. "Look it up!" I phoned in.  Warning: Prudence does not involve phoning in.

 "Kir-key? What's her other name?" He was a bit more agitated now. "I can't find her."

"What are you talking about?" It was no good. I'd have to get up. Damn damn damn damn. I was going to write. I'm tired. I want to check my email. I want to relax. I just got finished...if I were prudent I would have noticed the litany of I's in that thought process.  But if I were prudent, it wouldn't be a necessary Lenten resolution.

"Kirk Key! Kirk! Key! Kirkey! What's her name?" Not understanding, I did think to grab the computer. I'd just google it.  "Let me see the paper." I offered.

"What is Circe's other name?" I sped read the first part of the question.  "Sir See." I offered. "That's how you say her name."
"No it's not!" He resisted.
"But it is. I grew up calling her Circe. I've seen shows and movies and all sorts of things and they all call her Circe." I insisted.

"It's KirKEY. KIRKEY KIRKEY!" 
At this point, I'm thinking, he's tired. He's overwhelmed. He wants to win. But I'm also tired. I'm also overwhelmed, I'm also wanting to win.  What am I wanting to win? I don't know but I'm insisting.  "It's CIRCE. CIRCE. CIRCE!"  I declared.  Not a convincing argument, a pronouncement uttered with conviction.

"But Mommmmmm."
"Don't but mom me.  I've studied Greek myths for years. I've read them for years. I love them."  I started.

He was typing on the computer.  He pulled up the Internet page that the worksheet he was working on referenced. 

There, the Greek name for the goddess, Kirke. 

I blinked. 

(Now I later googled and found counter evidence that Circe is pronounced as I remembered).

But there on that site, it said very clearly, "Kirk kee" under pronunciation.  The rest of the question, the one I hadn't read in it's entirety said, "Check out her name's pronunciation." 

At that point, I'm humbled. I'm embarrassed, and I really really really really really hate the Internet. 

He gives me a sly grin, the kind when he knows he won and it wasn't quite fair.  But I found the answer to his question based on that web page, "Circe or Kirke, however you pronounce it, was a minor goddess..." He went back to his paper.

Defeated, humbled, irritated, exhausted and chastened, I slunk back to the other room.  All I can think is, "It's going to be a long long long Lent." Humility Sherry. Humility.  I can see God smiling in my head, chuckling at this foolish mother, her tirades, her lectures, all the things that get in the way of loving.

My son finishes up and comes into the room.  He gives me a rare full smile.  "Thanks mom."

Okay, so Circe or Kirke turned me into a pig headed fool for a moment, but Easter heals, and a smile from a son is as good as a moly plant to molify my ego. (Don't know what that last sentence means? Read the Odyssey or google it, it's how you defeat Circe).  That and a touch of Prudence.

1 comment:

cathmom2five said...

I have found that the best lesson for my kids, is watching me humble myself and admit I'm wrong. I used to think it would screw up my "mom is always right" image, which I don't have ;), but it actually teaches them to do it, when I do it. Great Blog!

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