Yesterday I whipped up a chocolate shake for the greater good.
There's a scene in the Pixar movie Incredibles (Mrs. Incredible = supermama!) where Frozone and his wife Honey are preparing to feast with friends, a dinner party planned two months prior. A helicopter is exploding right outside their condo's window and Frozone needs his super suit for an evening of saving the world. Except that, at this particular moment, his wife needs him!
She refuses to assist him in locating his suit. He insists that the public is in danger.
Her superfluous, social evening's in danger! But he is all about the greater good!
She responds, with much indigination, "Greater good?! I am your wife! I am the greatest good you are ever gonna get!"
With a constant newsfeed of international crisis and local problems easily seen from my front door, it's easy to get frustrated when my time and energy seems too quickly swallowed by the seemingly superfluous responsibilites of life with a large family. I sometimes envy the hours my single or childless friends have and think of all the good I would do with that free time.
Oh, the hours I would spend visiting sick kids in hospital or the days I would volunteer at the crisis pregnancy center. The nursing home I would return to just to bring joy to a forgotten, once-upon-a-time local hero or the letters I would address to Parliament Hill on issues of sex trafficking and international aid. I'd finally dust off my sewing machine and make dresses for school girls in Africa or do more to raise awareness and funds for my friend's mountain ministry in Vietnam. I'd throw dinner parties too but fabulous ones with stimulating conversations on how we as a community can do more to affect change in the world. I'd have a life lived and poured out for the greater good.
Because, honestly. That? All of that seems bigger and better and grander and more purposeful than the life of early morning tryouts and packing lunches on counters laden with breakfast dishes and wrangling last night's bedhead into today's that'll do ponytail before the baby explodes through diaper #14, and all this before 8 am.
But that's not my life. It is my heart and partial part-time/sometime/when-life-allows/occasional pursuit. But it's not my full-time occupation.
Because I have kids. Kids who invite the neighborhood over after school. Kids who collide headfirst on the trampoline and skin their knees on stretched canvas and come to me when life knocks them down and out.
And yesterday nothing but mama's homemade chocolate shake (a nutritious but delicious snack disguising flax seed and avocado) and a dozen humorously ridiculous suggestions for pain relief (Pepto Bismol is inept, it seems, at easing trampoline burns) could make things right in the world of my favorite little people.
The world needs us - there is much good that needs to be done in a paradise gone bad. It will not do to stand idly by thinking and hoping that another will sacrifice and expend necessary energies towards justice and compassion for those who need it most.
But today, my greatest good was extended to my children who are my responsibility. My children who are watching my example and listening to my words and becoming based on my efforts towards them. If I fail them, I will have minimized my efforts to change the world at large.
If all goes well, at the end of eighteen years under my roof, I will have raised five additional superheroes equiped and ready to live their lives for the greater good for the time when tragedy and calamity confront them right outside their doors or from all the way across the world.
But when they go and as we go today and together through the years, they will do it fueled by mama's shakes and restored to health by microbial silver (which, as it turns out, is far more effective at soothing pain than wart removal cream) slathered with a side of mama's kisses.