Is There Life After "Mommy"?

As a devout members of the LDS faith (and yes, that makes me a Christian too) I am repeatedly exposed to...well, let's face it...cheesy music.

Music can be very powerful and moving and spiritually fulfilling. It is by far the most effective way the Spirit speaks to me. But when it comes to the majority of contemporary christian/LDS music...I can't help but cringe. It is so sticky sweet and predictable and just downright weird. (Are we praising God or making out with him?)

I'm sure the people who write and perform these songs have the best intentions. They are trying to express their testimonies and love of God and the Savior through music. My hat is off to them for even trying. I mean, really, how critical can I be? Have I ever written anything that remotely resembles music much less something that others find worthy of being broadcasted and performed publicly.

Still, I'd rather not listen to most of it.

For all my contempt for church music, there is one particular person who in my opinion has found the perfect balance between sweet and spiritual.

Janice Kapp Perry.

The other day my husband and I happened upon a television program about her. I had no idea how many of my favorite church songs could be attributed to her. She has written dozens of primary songs, hymns, and other musical arrangements that have become part of the LDS culture and faith.

And here is the kicker: She didn't even start until she was 40 years old! This is when she received her "two lucky breaks": a broken ankle and a broken television set. Before this she had been busy raising children and playing sports.

Hearing that someone like Janice Kapp Perry didn't even find her groove until she was 40 gives me a lot of hope. Sometimes I feel like I have lost myself in motherhood. I can't help but wonder who Evelyn is anymore? Don't get me wrong. I love being a mother. I really do. There's nothing more important and precious to me than raising these four children right now. But what happens when they grow up and leave, as I hope they will someday. And not because I want to be rid of them, but because I hope I did my job right and they are wonderful, capable people who are busy doing good things. Good things like making chubby little grandbabies for me to smooch.

I will always be a mom, but I won't always be busy wiping bums, cleaning up messes, and reading board books. Motherhood can be so dirty and grimy and tiring and micro-focused sometimes that it blinds me to life before or beyond it. I am more than mom...I think. I used to be at least and I have hope that someday I will be again.

I don't know what things I will accomplish beyond being a mom, but after learning that someone who has successfully spoken to my spirit through music didn't even start until after they had done their time potty training, helping with homework, and breaking up sibling brawls gives me the courage to go ahead and plan on accomplishing something monumental after I build the foundations of these little monuments-in-the-making here.

It's always nice to have a little hope on your side.


Kristine Anderson said...

YAY! I found someone else who can't stand sounds of Sunday! Some songs are good, but most sound like a chick is singing to Jesus in a boyfriend-y way. Over sung, over dramatic, over done, over-everything.

You must check out The Nashville Tribute Band. Pretty much the only church music I can stand.

Well, that and instrumental.

ps I love that thought about JKP, too. Gives me hope :-)

Debra said...

I love this. A lot of times I feel like since I didn't accomplish it before I became a mom, that the chance to accomplish it is over. Good to be reminded that isn't true.

Debra said...

Also, on Sundays, the only thing I can stand is piano hymn arrangements. I love Paul Cardall.

MiMi said...

I think you listen to different than what I listen too...right? Just plain 'ole Christian Contemporary here.

Tracie said...

I love her songs, her sister is in my ward and she has been a guest speaker at some of our relief society dinners. She is amazing.

amber-girl said...

Maybe actually losing ourselves as mothers is what really shapes us to become "someone" after the little ones leave the nest. It's the most necessary step we must take that takes us a step closer to who we are to become! Just a thought.

Motherhood has changed me in so many ways, my opinions, perspectives, habits, hobbies....and all mostly in good ways! I think I will always define myself as a mother first, a mother who can do all kinds of things at different times in my life. :) JKP is probably such a great writer/creator of music because she was a mother first.

You are doing great things while you are a mother! I see you from a different perspective than you see you, and I know that when your kiddos fly away, you will do as many or more awesome things!!!

Bethany said...

Love her music, too. I read an article in The Friend, I think it was, about Janice being the primary chorister in her ward, so she was giving piano lessons to some of the kids so they could perform music in the Primary Program in Sacrament Meeting. How cool would that be???

Sarahie said...

Oh, Evelyn. Once again, you've spoken to my heart! I had some of the same thoughts just the other day, but I didn't get as far and encouraging as you did. It's a nice thought that I can keep discovering myself after I resurface from this hard part of mothering. =)

Oh, and I feel the same as you about Church music. Although, I do really like Inside Out.

Cbelle said...

My complaint is about Mormon literature. I worked in the religious books section in the BYU library my last couple of years in college, and I could not believe all the cheesy LDS fiction. Why can't we have LDS fiction that doesn't make you want to choke someone? There are a few exceptions to that, but only a few. Maybe I'll actually buckle down and write the book I've always wanted and write a less sappy LDS novel.

Crystal/Scott/Charlie said...

I didn't know that about Janice Kapp Perry. Thanks for sharing it! My husband and I were talking about that kind of thing just last night-about the all-consuming role of parenthood. There just isn't time to do anything else, it seems. I remember a talk from a General Relief Society meeting (I think that's where it was from) about how one of the fallacies of the world is women can do and have and be everything right now. The speaker talked about how women can do and have and be everything, just not all at once. There are times and seasons and when we're in the time and season of motherhood that's what counts first. Anyway, you give me hope with your thought! Thanks! :)

Xazmin said...

I find the Sons of Provo movie soundtrack to be very pleasing to the ear.

And it makes me laugh.

I do so love Jancie Kapp Perry, and I had no idea that she started so late in life on her music!


Related Posts with Thumbnails