Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mothering – It’s like being a tuning fork

I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to be a mother, years and years of time. Does the reality match? Sort of. The physical day in day out stuff is what I thought it would be. Making sandwiches, washing clothes, schlepping here and there is what I expected.

It’s the emotional part, the relational part I didn’t have a framework for, at least not from a mother’s perspective. I think of the emotional aspects of parenting as acting like an emotional tuning fork. I find myself checking in on my son’s emotions and engaging him with a purpose. If he’s in a sunny mood, which he most often is, my purpose is to be playful with him. Just to connect and goof off, sometimes with stuff more typical of younger children like “This little piggy”, we have skipped some years together after all this 9-year-old boy and I.

When his mood is sour my purpose is to sooth his emotions. When I engage him it’s to hold his emotions from spiraling out of control and my purpose becomes to get him “tuned” back to more neutral territory. It’s a relational dance I often ask Our Lady, St. Anne and St. Elizabeth to help me with, and when he’s really out of sorts I’ll just place me hand on him and pray over him, once he calms down a bit I’ll pray a decade of the rosary over him out loud. I explain the mystery and he counts out the Hail Marys as I go. So far it really seams to sooth him.

My husband’s interaction with him is so very different. He’s much more physical, they rough house and well frankly there are often stinky bodily functions involved in their goofing off. What is it with men and gas and fingers?

I wonder what would become of our great nation if moms refocused on being moms. I see more and more families tossing the feminist presumption that women only have value if we are producing financially, but what would become of us if this were standard rather than the exception?

What if moms across the nation were setting the tone, acting as the tuning fork for their families rather than the media or peers or the ever-pressing demands of extra curricular activities? Perhaps NYT columnists wouldn’t be so baffled by God's design for humanity and perhaps our nation would be strengthened as our families are strengthened.

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Psalm 113.9 I didn’t think it would ever happen, but you had a plan far greater than any I could have come up with myself. Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul

Jesus Calms the Storm

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

OK Lord, I’m ready for the completely calm!!!

My life, the life of my little family has been surrounded by complete chaos for months. It’s calm inside our little boat, but we’ve had wave after wave of chaos particularly in our business which is our sole livelihood. Every time a new wave of insanity hits I think of the disciples. Jesus was with them snoozing in the back, so I simply imagine him with us snoozing. If he’s at rest I suppose I should rest as well, but man it’s hard to relax when the attacks come from all sides.
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Even my poor horse is under attack, the animal has an obstruction in his airway and is on the verge of suffocation. It comes from all angles, from trusted employees melting down (three of them), to another having a mid life crisis and disappearing, to clients from hell, to OSHA hassles.
On Monday when the latest drama unfolded all I could think of this time was the lyrics to the song, “It Is Well With My Soul”…

“When sorrows like sea billows roll, thou has taught me to say it is well with my soul”.

And so it is, this world is passing and eternity looms on the ship's horizon, but it can be hard to keep that focus when the day in day out drama of life demands our attention. God always gives me guidance is short staccato bursts. Last week as I prayed for guidance in front of the tabernacle he tells me.

“I’m doing something new with the company.”

I see that Lord, and we’ve consecrated it to you, just keep reminding me that you are at the helm and not I, and I’ll keep singing “It is well with my soul”.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. Ecclesiastes

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chatting with Our Lady

I searched high and low trying to get my son into a Catholic school. I traveled an hour away to visit Spiritus Sanctus and a half hour to visit the only parish school in our county. The options were drive 160 miles a day to one and 100 per day to the other. It just wasn’t going to work no matter how I sliced it. I decided to send him to the Protestant school in town.

As I was strolling through the halls of the Protestant school to enroll him I was telling Our Lady how sorry I was that she isn’t venerated here and that the Saints are ignored and that the richness and beauty of the faith isn’t taught and for the first time in my life she spoke back to me!!

Whoa.

“They love my son here, and you can teach him to love me.”

OK.

So we are working on developing a distinctly Marian focus in our family. One of the ways is St. Louis de Montfort’s 33 day total consecration to Our Lady, offered free by the Friends of Our Lady Apostolate.

We are also TIVOing Truth in the Heart on EWTN and watching Steve Ray’s Footprints of God series to supplement our nightly reading of My First Catholic Bible a really nice overview of the bible edited down to child size portions.

So we are pilgrims in a foreign land so to speak, but it’s a land we’re familiar with. After all he goes to “chapel” each week in the auditorium of the evangelical church we attended so it’s not as if we don’t know what we’re getting into. Still, I’m counting heavily on Our Lady’s guidance to teach our son to love her as she has instructed.

Oh Mary, Conceived Without Sin, Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is It A Big Adjustment?

It’s the single most frequently asked question about our adoption experience.

It’s understandable. Hubby and I were childless for almost eighteen years so yes it’s an adjustment, but one of the biggest surprises has been how normal it feels. It almost feels like the first eighteen years were off kilter and now the ship has been righted.

I can recall daydreaming about what this situation or that would be like if we had children. Like getting up and out the door for school, or getting meals ready for a child or whatever, and the answer is it’s eerily natural. It’s shockingly normal to watch Hubby and our son play ball in the evening, or to run errands with a child in tow, or to adjust the menu with a nine year olds palate in mind.

The truth is I love it. I’m happy to adjust my day to accommodate his needs, especially his emotional needs, because no one else on this planet has been appointed by God with the responsibility of mothering this child.

I’ve always felt being a wife was my most important roll in life and being a mom feels like a really natural extension of that responsibility. Now I occasionally daydream about how large family life would operate. I doubt we will have a large family, but then again I had doubts we would have children at all so you never know.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of our son. Help us to raise him to know, love and serve you in this life and I pray that you will bring him home to rejoice with you in Heaven.