We’ve been studying the middle ages in our homeschool lately. Specifically, we’ve been looking at the end of the Roman Empire.
The empire fell for a variety of reasons, but part of the problem (according to their enemies) was that they were weakened by their comfortable life. They forgot how to be tough. They were too busy eating, drinking and reclining.
I’m weak like an end-of-the-empire Roman. I hate being cold. I can’t handle wearing a pair of shoes that pinch my toes. Jeans that aren’t soft? No, no, no. And (God help me) a bra that’s too tight? I’ll barely get through the day.
These weaknesses of mine became blatantly obvious on a recent camping trip. It was the end of September in beautiful Kent, CT. The temperatures were expected to stay around 50 (which had me worried), but it was (are you ready?) IN THE LOW 40′s.
I thought I was going to freeze to death.
One of the comforts I hold most dear is warmth. In the summer I always have a sweater with me in case I catch a chill or have to walk into an air conditioned store. In the winter I wear multiple layers at all times and in the house I walk around wrapped up like Kevin Kostner in Dances With Wolves. Swap the buffalo skin for a down blanket…
…it’s basically the same thing.
It was so cold on this camping trip that I had to warm up my car and snuggle up with my heated seats to survive. And this was after Wilderness Dad gave up his super-cozy, super-pricey, it will keep you warm on K2 sleeping bag.
I was still cold.
“Camping is supposed to be a little uncomfortable,” he kept telling me. I kept telling him that the mere fact that I am not in my warm bed cuddling with the cat and the dog is roughing it. Making me using a pit toilet is pushing it. Freezing my *ss off? Beyond my tolerance.
The bright side of all this? I don’t have to worry about my empire falling to pieces because of my weakness and need for comfort.
I wish I had an empire.
Wait. Maybe I do. I lead these three sweet girls that God has entrusted to me. I’m the Empress, right?
Anyway, my little empire is not going to fall, because I am a bit invincible. And I bet you are too. When you have a virus, the flu, a sinus infection, a c-section, do you still get up in the morning and do everything you would do on a normal day anyway?
That makes me wonder…maybe great empires wouldn’t crumble if the mothers of the world were leading. Of course, to do that we might need occasional help with the laundry.
Wilderness Dad had to promise not to speak of camping, plans for camping, gear needed for camping or anything related to me having to use a pit toilet in the cold until next May. I should be able to block out the memories by then. Maybe.
Maybe it would help if someone feeds me grapes while I lounge on the couch in my most comfy yoga pants and sweatshirt.
Maybe I’ll listen if the plans include Glamping at the PawsUp Resort in Montana. Deep down in my heart I know that this is what camping should look like:
This is how an empress should camp. Like the Romans in their last days, we would not be the slightest bit prepared for an attack by an angry bear (or Germanic tribe). However, we would be very comfortable, very happy and possibly well fed and drunk. We would go down with a smile.
I am absolutely okay with that.
Here’s the thing about the Empire of the Mom: it’s built on the strength of a woman’s heart. It falls when we close our hearts off to our children, when we stop listening to them. It falls when we allow the world to tell us how to parent instead of following our instincts.
Our little empires don’t have to fall, not even in the face of pinchy shoes, rough jeans or New England winters. Our hearts are strong.