06 March 2011


Curlylocks, Curlylocks,
Wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes,
Nor yet feed the swine.

But sit in the parlor
And sew a fine seam,
And dine every day
Upon peaches and cream.

I am curious to hear what you think of this little nursery rhyme. I can picture my ultra-feminist friends bemoaning the idea that a woman's place is to sit pretty in her parlor and be doted upon by her hardworking husband. And although I have to admit that I had a bit of that reaction myself, ultimately this warms my heart. Here's why.

The other day at church, Mr. Stu whispered these sweet verses to my darling, curlylocked Naomi. Side-note of Mr. Stu. He is this inspirational, 98-year-old man who continues to live every day to the fullest. Always prepared with a profound thought or funny quip, it pains me to watch his lose of hearing keep him from the meaningful conversation I know he craves. One weekday, Mr. Stu stopped at the church to pickup his forgotten bible. He seemed a bit out of breath, so I asked him if everything was ok. He stopped to look at me, turned up his hearing aid and asked what I said. After repeating myself, he says, "Yeah, I'm fine. Well, I just got back from the gym, so I am a little winded."
Anyway, Mr. Stu has a special fondness for my Naomi. I believe her curly hair reminds him of his late wife. I don't know much about this woman, but I do know how much he loved her. How he is still proud of her beauty, that he was so lucky to have her. That he cared for her to the end, moving into the nursing home with her, even though he wasn't in need of the services.
We live in a time when woman's rights have come a long way, and don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the freedom I have to either choose a career, or not; a husband, or not; a traditional life or one packed with travel, adventure and danger. But there is something to be said about a mans desire to protect his wife, and a woman's desire to be cared for. Whether that manifests in the traditional "man=breadwinner, woman=homemaker," model, or in something a bit more radical, I want my girls to know that it is ok to have needs, to need people. And that I will love them dearly, whether their heart's desire is to scale the cliffs of Kilimanjaro or to sit in a parlor and sew a straight seam.


Loris said...

Nicely said, Karlene.

Jesse and Lauren said...

Very sweet post, Karlene. I just noticed that we have the same background for our blog. :) -Lauren

Andrea said...

I also never take old nursery rhymes too seriously.