I cherish the time I share with my boys reading great literature.
I am currently reading this classic to the Boys, and was reminded of something that is particularly relevant to me, and I think many other women of our time, as we fight to keep up with the demands on our time and are continually seeing images of the best of people's lives.
It's hard not to compare, or simply not desire to "have it all" or "do it all," have the best of every aspect of life right now!
We at times trick ourselves by chasing these notions.
This is particularly hard for me to say as I never rule out possibilities, but I cherish those who I know, love, and admire, whom I can cheer on in their accomplishments that I know will never be mine.
The following from Charlotte's Web, is a gentle reassurance that we have all been given and are encouraged to develop certain talents and abilities that will help us reach our potential.
Be good at what we are good at,
and don't fuss about what we are not.
Find joy in our gifts and encourage others with theirs.
"You have awfully hairy legs, Charlotte," said Wilbur, as the spider busily worked at her task.
"My legs are hairy for a good reason," replied Charlotte, "Furthermore, each leg of mine has seven sections-- the coax, the trochanter, the femur, the patella, the trivia, the metatarsus, and the tarsus."
Wilbur sat bolt upright. "You're kidding," he said.
"No, I'm not, either."
"Say those names again, I didn't catch them the first time."
"Coxa, trochanter, femur, patella, tibia, metatarsus, and tarsus."
"Goodness!" said Wilbur, looking down at his own chubby legs. "I don't think my legs have seven sections."
"Well," said, Charlotte, "you and I lead different lives. You don't have to spin a web. That takes real leg work."
"I could spin a web if I tried," said Wilbur, boasting.
"I've just never tried."
"Let's see you do it," said Charlotte. Fern Chuckled softly, and her eyes grew wide with love for the pig.
"O.K.," replied Wilbur. "You coach me and I'll spin one. It must be a lot of fun to spin a web. How do I start?"
"Take a deep breath!" said Charlotte, smiling. Wilbur breathed deeply. "Now climb to the highest place you can get to, like this," Charlotte raced up to the top of the doorway. Wilbur scrambled to the top of the manure pile.
"Very good!" said Charlotte. "Now make an attachment with your spinnerets, hurl yourself into space and let out a dragline as you go down!"
Wilbur hesitated a moment, then jumped out into the air. He glanced hastily behind to see if a piece of rope was following him to check his fall, but nothing seemed to be happening in his rear, and the next thing he knew he landed with a thump. "Ooomp!" he grunted
Charlotte laughed so hard her web began to sway.
"What did I do wrong?" asked the pig, when he recovered from his bump.
"Nothing," said Charlotte. "It was a nice try."
"I think I'll try again," said Wilbur, cheerfully. "I believe what I need is a little piece of string to hold me."
The pig walked out to his yard. "You there, Templeton?" he called. The rat poked his head out form under the trough.
"Got a little piece of string I could borrow?" asked Wilbur. "I need it to spin a web."
"Yes, indeed," replied Templeton, who saved string. "No trouble at all. Anything to oblige." He crept down into his hole, pushed the goose egg out of the way, and returned with an old piece of dirty white string. Wilbur examined it.
"That's just the thing," he said. "Tie one end to my tail, will you, Templeton?"
Wilbur crouched low, with his thin, curly tail toward the rat. Templeton seized the string, passed it around the end of the pig's tail, and tied two half hitches. Charlotte watched in delight. Like Fern, she was truly fond of Wilbur, whose smelly pen and stale food attracted the flies that she needed, and she was proud to see that he was not a quitter and was willing to try again to spin a web.
While the rat and the spider and the little girl watched, Wilbur climbed again to the top of the manure pile, full of energy and hope.
"Everybody watch!" he cried. And summoning all his strength, he threw himself into the air, headfirst. The string trailed behind him. But as he had neglected to fasten the other end to anything, it didn't really do any good, and Wilbur landed with a thud, crushed and hurt. Tears came to his eyes. Templeton grinned. Charlotte just sat quietly. After a bit she spoke.
"You can't spin a web, Wilbur, and I advise you to put the idea out of your mind. You lack two things needed for spinning a web."
"What are they?" asked Wilbur, sadly.
"You lack a set of spinnerets, and you lack know-how. But cheer up, you don't need a web. Zuckerman supplies you with three big meals a day. Why should you worry about trapping food?"