Superstition lives down the road from religion, on the same block. Growing up religious, I sometimes thought they resided at the same legal description of real property.
My tiny, religious school experimented with volleyball in my eighth grade year. The old principal considered sports a distraction from the task of obeying God, an abomination, and a sin against productivity. My guess is he was always picked last. If I were team captain, I would've picked him last too. But the new guy was new. I have a long and contorted history with volleyball which, if you knew about it, you wouldn't be surprised to learn that I felt the need, very strong and virile, for a lucky charm to help my serves over the net. For this, I selected my mother's 1964 charm bracelet (get it? Charm!). It was confiscated post haste. Lucky charms are, apparently, bad luck religiously speaking.
And yet, even until my mid-twenties, I still craved a lucky charm. Guiltily. Because religious prohibition had turned into logical prohibitions and scientific shackles. I dreamed, literally, all night of lucky charms and statuettes. Luck, luck LUCK!!! Until finally, a lady in my dream, a lucky-charm shop-keeper, said, "You're right. This Chinese coin doesn't actually contain luck. What it is, is a symbol of intention. It provides a moment for you to focus, clarify and state your desires, what you really want, and thereby gives you an image of its possibility." Sometimes, I love those people that live up there in my dreams.
And I've since found studies to back that lady up. Studies that suggest that we do create some of our own luck. So I'm kissing this little marble turtle and pointing him south.
This gave me a new parenting tactic. Perhaps "luck" has been a shorthand explanation for complex cause/effect. Perhaps people couldn't always explain why something turned out good when you did it that way, but they noticed it and called it luck. Translated into modern parenting: after a reasonable explanation, the shorter one is called "luck"
At dinner, everyone says something they're thankful for, anything: a movie, a shirt, a dream, a person, the food, whatever. And if anyone balks, which they astonishingly do now and again, I might say, "It's bad luck to not be thankful." Which is true in a complex psychological way that I'd explained once before.
It's bad luck to not be happy for others, even when their fortunes are so much greater than yours.
It's good luck to be kind.
It's bad luck to criticize other people's bodies.
It's bad luck to not wash your hands with soap and water for 30 slowly-counted seconds.
And it really is bad luck to open your umbrella inside, because then your mother will confiscate it!
And it is good luck to care for your things because then you may receive even more such blessings.
This last one maxed out recently. I was being all feng shui-y and arranging and decluttered and all that jazz. But with this homeschooling and driving thither and yon and cows and chickens and effing holidays, I've not been able to keep up with the housekeeping. And this house, being at least a 1000 sq ft larger than I wanted, is way way way too big for a lady like me to maintain, while also having a life. I can't find things here. I mean, there are 1000's of perfectly logical places for me to put something like an alan wrench (how do you spell that kind of wrench?). I ached to chuck everything we own out the door if it WASN'T an Ellen wrench because everything that's not the wrench was obviously standing belligerantly in the way of me finding the dod gam wrench already.
And then came the epiphany: here I've been wanting a barn some day, a pink tractor, a hot springs, and this and that other thing would make this all so much easier But then I'd have to take care of this or that. I'd have to keep an entire BARN clean. I'd have to repaint it when it needed doing. I'd have to fix its hinges and battery-up it's smoke alarms. I mean, can you imagine the work involved?! Oh my god, I need another glass of wine just thinking about it.
So here's why I'm only half distressed about the state of my house. I don't need no more material blessings. I can't maintain the one's I have and until I can (or can afford someone else to do it for me) I'm just going to say no to everything. Including laundry.
I wish I loved to maintain stuff. A touch of OCD on this topic might be really beneficial. But as it stands, I lovelovelove a clean and spotless house but I still hate housekeeping, an eternal personal flaw worthy of the the personal flagellation I inflict upon myself for it. And it's not like I haven't tried forty bazillion methods to motivate, organize, encourage, hypnotize, and beat myself into it. But it's the repetition. It's so hard to find any iota of pleasure in doing the same things over and over and over again with no end in sight. When we first moved here, cleaning this house was all novelty and cuteness, but the honeymoon is over, Alice. Maybe if the dust were a different color every day. Or the laundry spoke with the voices of musical instruments. Or there were a vacuum cleaner that could handle even one strand of long hair before crying out for me to dial 911. On the double! Maybe then I could pick up the all the snow clothes and shove them someplace useful.
And Coyote says, "Mom! I need more pants!" Nope. Son, what you need is a mom that does laundry like it's novelty and gifts. A mom that gets endorphins from folding unders. Good luck.