Thursday, August 19, 2010

Care to Rephrase That?

On the List of Things You Don't Want Said Outside the Home:

I'm sitting in the rocking chair, rocking JH and patting him gently on the bottom. My three year old walks by and asks, "Mom, why are you hitting the baby?"

On a side note: I can't believe he turned one month old yesterday.

Live or Let Dye?

A serious question facing many women of a certain age these days: when the grey hairs start arriving in droves -- to dye or not to dye?

It's not like there is any guarantee that your hair will look like Emmy Lou's:

You might look like this instead:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Broken

In my thirty-sixth year, I discovered I was not going to be around forever. Certainly, I'd known for much longer than that that I was mortal, and I hadn't received any specific sentence dooming me to an abbreviated existence. Simply, my body has reached the point where I know I'm not as healthy as I once was and I am not as young as I once was either -- and it's not just the long white hairs I recently found taunting me amongst what had until recently been all dark, glossy browns.

This past pregnancy has been harder than any that came before it. It would be untrue to state that I "bounced back" from any of them. My body never returned to "normal" when I had my first son and after each baby, long bouts of depression would leave me feeling like my mind was a wreck. As this past pregnancy went on, it was this depression I feared the return of most and it does come and go, but I gave no real thought to physical changes and problems. Other than the long slog back to a pants size that didn't make me weep too much, my post-partum struggles hadn't been too bad. This time though, it is the physical which has been at least as hard for me as the mental. I'm not going to spend too much time listing all the ailments. Someone else could top my list with much worse problems to be sure.

Not that long ago, I read a piece on Building Cathedrals and this paragraph really resonated:

I still remember sitting with our first daughter in Mass a few weeks after she was born. As the priest raised the host and said, “This is my body, broken for you,” the words took on new meaning for me. I suddenly realized that, as a new mother having just given birth to my daughter, I understood and experienced this body-sacrificing love in a new way. As mothers, in pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and child-rearing, we really do give our bodies for our children. Sometimes this gift comes at a great cost to us, sometimes it is just full of little crosses. Either way, what an honor and privilege it is to participate so intimately in the Lord’s work. As mothers, carrying out our vocations in love, we truly stand on holy ground (Exodus 3:5).

I'm either slow, because it seems to have taken me until my sixth baby for this to really make sense, or I'm forgetful and have to relearn these lessons of brokenness and weakness after every baby, but I understand broken right now. I understand both my own sacrifices and the gift of the Body of Christ in new ways every day. I'm learning to make peace with my own sacrifices, the ones I never really planned or thought I was choosing. I am beginning (note I said beginning and not that I'm good at it) to learn to bow my head and catch the meaning of, "Thy will be done," and to remember that the work I do every day, when I drag sore and tired body out of bed, is a privilege and sacred trust.

Now if I can only fix my mind on these thoughts as the slog gets tough.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick Takes -- The Very Random Edition


--1--

I'm just now looking at and downloading pictures from my camera, but we Christianized the heathen baby almost two weeks ago. He wasn't exactly happy about that water being dumped on his head, but he'll appreciate it some day.

--2--

Speaking of heathens (and perhaps more technically heretics) despite what has been reported in the comments section on Creative Minority Report when discussing a certain priest in my diocese, we are not all heretics in Middle Tennessee. My parish has all sorts of strikes against it, when judged by the statements in the video the CMR guys posted. We have a foreign priest, a married convert priest and we're orthodox! Terrible, ain't it?

--3--

Actually terrible, my brother-in-law and his family lost their home to a fire a few days ago. They aren't sure of the cause as of yet. They are pretty upbeat about it considering the loss. I'm not sure I would take it nearly so well. I probably need to work on a greater detachment from stuff. If you get a chance though, please say a prayer for them as they go through the frustrations and annoyances that are sure to come.

--4--

On a happier note, there is great luxury in having a child who is old enough to mow the lawn. Even better, half the time he'd rather take his payment in game playing time.

--5--

Yes, indeed. We caved in and allowed JH to buy his siblings a Wii as his gift to his new brothers and sisters. And we let the oldest buy the Lego Harry Potter game. Clearly, we've lost it in our dotage. Though it's still not like I let them sit around like dullards all the time, and as I said most of the oldest's game time is hard earned by sweating along mowing the yard in the August heat.

--6--

With public schools and a lot of homeschoolers starting their new school years and since we've usually started by now, I feel behind. However, I don't feel ready to get this show on the road either. I think our school year will just have to wait a little while longer.

--7--

And now a web page for discriminating Winos and those who aspire to be such: BumWine!
More Quick Takes to be found at Betty Beguiles.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pious? No. Honest? Yes.

Says my husband: We're going to church for the beginning day of a parish novena.

The five year old: I hate novenas. They take too long.

The seven year old: I'll pay you $100 if we just have to say two Hail Marys instead.

The ten year old to the seven year old: You haven't got $100.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Devotions

I never get tagged for anything any more (It's not that I try to be antisocial, but the kids bring it out in me. Kidding. Mostly), but here I got tagged twice (by both the lovely and very pregnant Hallie and by my real-life Nashville blogging buddie Amy) for a meme making its way around the Catholic blogosphere.

One of these, suggests talking about your three favorite Catholic devotions and the other five. I'm still getting used to the idea of having devotions at all. I think some things don't come as naturally to some of us converts.

When we were first in the process of becoming Catholic, I felt a very strong pull to pray the rosary. At the time, I didn't even really know what a rosary or praying one entailed. But I was convinced I needed to pray it. Right about that time, Elizabeth Foss posted about her favorite rosary CD, which I bought and have really loved praying with. I don't pray the rosary all the time -- certainly not every day, and not always with the CD, but I love the CD and I do love praying the rosary.

Almost every night as a family we do pray Compline. If it were up to my husband, we'd be chanting the whole thing, probably in Latin. Some of us appreciate chant, but are perhaps not quite as enchanted (har har) as others. We only chant parts of Compline. Chanted and/or spoken, it is a lovely end to the day. We have booklets for Compline and everyone who can read takes part in the Psalm and even some people who cannot read have begun to learn the hymn and prayers.

Another nightly tradition for our family, after Compline, is ask our family patrons to pray for us. As a convert, praying to saints sometimes still feels weird. I could easily ignore the saints as something I'm just not used to, if not for this nightly invocation and reminder of their existence. The good thing is that not only does this prayer serve as a great thing for me, but none of this will feel so weird to my kids. It will be part of what they simply know.

The baby is starting to get fussy, and so I'll opt for the choice of three rather than five devotions. And now to pass the buck on to someone else: Kiera, Robbo (when he returns from vacation), Mary, Kimberlee, and anyone else reading this who wants to join in.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I Haven't Run Away From Home

The day after my last whiny post, a very good friend lent me a teenager, I got a nap, did some laundry and felt a lot better.

Some days are good. Some days are hard. That much isn't so different from any other time in life.

The differences post-baby are that I have to get used to a tiny, helpless, demanding person, deal with physical pain and healing (more this time than ever before), fight through depression, and still do all the regular stuff.

Right now I'm having an extra hard time, because in my last trimester I developed carpal tunnel syndrome as I got swollen and the extra fluid pinched the nerves in my arms. I lost feeling in the fingertips of my right hand and gripping a steering wheel, a knife (to cut up vegetables) or a pen (to write thank you notes) leaves my whole hand both numb and painful at the same time. My left arm and wrist are even worse. I have a wrist brace, but I'm in constant pain and the littlest stuff hurts.

Although it is laughable, because I never achieve perfection in anything, I suppose I do have perfectionist aspirations. Not being able to do the things I want to do is very frustrating and depressing. I already have a tendency to suffer from post-partum depression and feeling helpless doesn't help.

I'm taking vitamins and fish oil, which seemed to help some with depression last time around and my husband is helping me get used to assigning more tasks and figuring out what I can do. So far it's going ok. I know we aren't guaranteed easy, but I find myself wishing it could all not be so dang hard either.

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