Speak now and forever hold a piece

Leave a comment

This has been an exciting few weeks.

Cliffy went on his first official speech therapy visit. And it was great. I’ll post more as we get into the process. But I know it’ll be fruitful. Just the little tidbit I learned at that one session has been helpful in my ability to interpret what he’s saying, so I can at least lessen some of his frustration and repeat things back to him correctly. Cool for sure. Brilliant woman — I’m calling her the Baby Whisperer.

Cliffy leaning on big brother.

And … we took Lillian to open house for first grade.I know. Yes. Already.

To my not-so-complete surprise, it was an experience fraught with anxiety for my sweet dumpling. Just a year ago I was wondering how she was going to function in this world because she’s always been such an über-imaginative child floating though her days. But since then, she has (rather precariously) tested the waters of reality. And I’m not so sure how well she likes it. This darn real world doesn’t seem to hold the same promise of her visions of pretend playmates, ponies, pink and princesses. That world brings her peace. This world? Not so much.

After a visit to the two first-grade classrooms in the school, we headed to the gym to check out the activities there. During our look around, Miss Blue Eyes looked up and me and informed me that we needed to go back up to the classrooms. She needed to meet the teachers again. And she needed to look around more. I could see her distress. It’s the same distress she has when she has trouble dressing her dolls, or Cliff destroys her carefully arranged menagerie. But — the big difference was — it was real. And I felt for her.

She led me back up the stairs. She walked in one classroom. Looked around. Then proceeded to the next. When we were there, she motioned to the books on the table in the front of the room. Without a word, her thumb went in her mouth, and she approached them. I stooped to her level, and we looked at the workbooks together. As a Montessori child, I think the workbooks looked daunting to her. I believe she was analyzing what was going to be expected of her. And — more importantly — whether she could even do it. I showed her some of the pages. We talked about them. She relaxed a little and announced she was ready to go. And we did.

At home while dressing for bed, she looked up at me — troubled — and asked (exact quote), “How did you determine I’m prepared for this?” I assured her she will be prepared. And school is about learning. And she’ll be fine. I’m not quite sure she bought any of it. But that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Hanging on.

I can say that I feel her inner conflict in a way I’ve not experienced with the three before her. I wish I could just blow confidence at her like bubbles through a wand. Some landing on her, while she joyfully chases the rest. More so, I wish I could help her hold on for dear life to the amazing parts of her that have made her childhood to this point so completely mesmerizing.  When I look into her thoughtful eyes, I know it will be a different kind of difficult to watch as her sweet pieces of childhood slowly melt away.

She’s brought us all an undeniable gift — her ability to express her thoughts has granted remarkable insight into the fabulous workings of a little one’s mind. A very early talker, she did so much more than just tell us what she was doing — she shared with all of us what she was thinking and feeling. And boy, it’s been grand.

With Lil, when things don’t pan out exactly as she’s so carefully imagined, the turmoil begins. And the more that darn reality so rudely butts into her life, the more that darn turmoil triumphs. The hard part is, I know there’s not a lot about this world that pans out as we imagine. So sadly, lots of folks just stop imagining.

I hope I can help my dear daughter slowly become rooted to the ground while she continues to joyfully and colorfully bloom in the worlds she creates. I will also diligently pray that as she grows she will never actually be of this world but instead live uniquely, vibrantly and faithfully in it.

So that’s what’s ahead of me. Teaching my baby how to talk like a child and teaching my big girl how to hold on to every piece of childhood she can.

And nothing is impossible, with God.

Raising strong boys

1 Comment

20120115-094823.jpg

I am a mother who swore no guns. But that changed, and I ended up buying a five-year-old Henry a toy arsenal when I surrendered to the fact that my disdain for guns and violence was not his.

Here’s a shocker. Boys are different than girls. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Both of my boys came out of the womb making blow-up noises and shooting me with their fingers, bananas, toast, sticks, you name it. They also came out loving and cuddly and sweet. Loving and full-body slamming are not mutually exclusive.

Embrace their spirit. Channel it for good. Help them become the protectors and warriors they are meant to be.

This is a great piece by Msgr. Charles Pope. Watch the video.

When you’re down and troubled

Leave a comment

This morning I was reading Simcha Fisher at NCRegister. And I responded with this comment:

I hug my kids when they are hurt. But I also wait to see if they are actually hurt. They know my m.o. since often their response even through tears is “I’m okay.” They know I’m there for them, but want to be strong for me. I’ve parented with the hope that they can assess the situation themselves first. If they can. That said, I’m pretty keen on recognizing within a few seconds what kind of response from me is needed. And sometimes, coddling little boo-boos is the cure even if the bruise is one of embarrassment, hurt pride or being frightened instead of physically injured. But true loving occurs not as I rush to their aid or to their (at times over-) reaction to injury, but the solid loving that I give them all the rest of the time. Caring for the needs they don’t even know they have. Offering love and affection when they ask for it, when then don’t, and even when they tell you they don’t really want it at all. That’s the kind of undeserved, unearned love we get from God.

It got me thinking, I hope and pray that’s the kind of loving we can do our best to give everyone. In very simple terms, I’m pretty sure that’s the crux of the “love one another, as I have loved you” bit. And I know how I feel when I am called to love people who very specifically don’t want my love. But that’s when your loving is about Christ and them. And not about you. At all. I’m pretty sure that’s an element of the “emptying ourselves” bit.

Once again. God knows what’s going on. Happy All Saints Day. Prayers of thanksgiving for those saints known and unknown. Truly inspiring.

Time flies when you’re …

Leave a comment

really busy. It’s hard to believe this much time has gone by since I’ve posted on this site. For those who know me, I have an awesome regular gig writing for a museum I love, so it’s been really busy fitting that into the already insane schedule that we call ours.

But here’s a little run down of some lessons I’ve learned of late:

  1. It’s easier to send your child to college the second year. But her being away has a different feeling of permanence. That, I’m pretty sure, I don’t like. Even though my goal is for each child to be independent, there’s a certain emptiness that goes along with that. But it’s oddly okay.
  2. Sometimes, some major parenting decisions have to be made on the fly. And sometimes, those are the best decisions.
  3. Swimmers swim a lot. There’s no double meaning to that. MC is swimming an average of 4.5 hours a day. What the heck?
  4. Doctors may tell you one thing (like your kid shouldn’t play soccer with a broken finger). And you are free to ignore them completely because you have to live with your kid, and they don’t.
  5. Cancer is a four (okay, six) letter word.
  6. Some young women are brave beyond our wildest imagination.
  7. My baby sister makes a fantastic mother.
  8. Prayer is the real elixir of love.
  9. Befriend a saint. (Living or dead.)
  10. Befriend a sinner. (That includes yourself.)
  11. People are humans. And humans are … human.
  12. Keep singing. Always.

Blessings to all.

Other people

Leave a comment

This is a great, thoughtful post from Simcha Fisher at the National Catholic Register. She’s always so thoughtful, and often so funny. This one is more thoughtful, but I know lots of moms/folks can relate.

When women read about other women’s lives, we tend to think, “Oh, I’m a failure  as a mother! All I do is hang around reading with my kids all day, when I ought  to be doing liturgical crafts!” or “My husband must be so disappointed with  me—those other woman are so beautiful and exciting, and all I do is cook and  clean!” And meanwhile the kids and husband in question are perfectly happy—it’s  only the mom who sees a problem.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/other-peoples-souls/#ixzz1NMevmexe

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/other-peoples-souls/

On fiy-aah

Leave a comment

I’ve been watching the progress of this for a long time and am so pleased the release is finally approaching. Fr. Robert Barron is very faithful, smart and media savvy. His site, wordonfire.org has long been one of my favorites. Here’s the trailer for his remarkable The Catholicism Project. Chills, for sure.

Timeless

Leave a comment

That’s what I am.

You probably think I either have nothing to say. The truth is, I have too much and no time to tell.

Lent was full of lessons, wonder, sucesses, heartache, failure and ultimately joy (thank you God for Easter!). I want to tell my stories before they leave my feeble brain.

I’m just in a pinch for that all-illusive gift of time. Kids off from school. I’m paralyzed a bit by work deadlines, migrating to a new computer, doctors’ appointments, music lessons, fetching a college student after her first year (and all her stuff–which apparently reproduced), spring cleaning and another approaching “episode” of Saint Mom’s U at St. Joan of Arc. I so often need to catch my breath. And the moments I do that are when I’m crawling on the floor pretending to be a doggy or a kitty with Cliff, or punching out paper dolls with Lillian or talking baseball with Henry and laughing with Mary Claire or texting (sad as that may seem) Helen. I want stop and come here … and I will. I just need some stronger coffee and 48 hours in a day …