It’s a fool what looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart
39 weeks is the cruelest month, bringing
contractions that produce nothing, mixing
hope with annoyance, stirring sleeping husbands
in the middle of the night, whispering “hey, time this!”
(my apologies to T.S. Eliot. But not really.)
Yesterday marked the 39th week of this wonderful, miraculous, gestational period. Ahhh….there’s nothing like humbly participating with God in the creation of new life to really flood my soul with peace and docility.
Bwa-hahahahaha! I actually had to look up the word “docility” to make sure it was the right one, so often do I not use it.
My cousin came in from NYC to visit for the weekend, and I thought it would be fantastic if I went into labor while she was here. She doesn’t have any children, and up until yesterday afternoon, had never even felt the gigantic, horrifying freakshow that is another human being writhing about under someone else’s skin.
So I made sure we fixed that. She made sure she didn’t pass out while feeling the baby’s heel skim its across my abdomen.
But still, it wasn’t enough. After all, what else says, “gracious hostess” quite like dragging unenthused participants into the excitement of labor and delivery?
Last night I thought I was going to go into labor. Ken, my cousin and I sat up and watched 3:10 to Yuma, while consistent contractions kept me distracted from the plot. When the movie ended, and Ken and I were getting into bed, I whispered to him that we may need to start timing things, and maybe a few hours from now I’d get to gleefully wake my sleeping cousin and tell her, “Hasta la vista, we’re going to the hospital to have a baby, and you get to figure out what to make five screaming savages for breakfast. …
So in light of the recent Washington Post Article on NFP and some of the interesting dialog it’s generated, I took my friend Grace’s advice and am re-running this post I wrote on my personal blog almost a year ago.
Before you go and read it, I’d like to make a couple of things clear, in the interest of full disclosure:
1. My husband and I have never been formally trained in NFP. We weren’t married in the Catholic church, and so didn’t have any exposure to it in pre-Cana classes (which we didn’t have anyway). However, after talking to lots and lots of women on this topic, I have the understanding that most couples married in the Church didn’t have exposure to it in their pre-Cana, either.
2. As part of our conversion process, we learned about, struggled with, and ultimately came to see the wisdom in the Church’s teachings on proper use of human sexuality. It doesn’t mean that the struggles with it are over, but we see that the option offered by the Church is ultimately the most logical one.
3. I hesitate to say that even now we employ NFP. We monitor fertility signs, but we don’t take basal temperature, chart, etc. etc. I certainly don’t feel like we use the science to its fullest potential, and so I would hate for someone to look at our track record and use us as a “See? NFP doesn’t work!” example.…
I’m the kind of person who needs the structure of schedules. Without them I tend to spend too much time on Facebook or going on impromptu hikes or adding things to my husband’s honeydo list. Posts here at Catholic Exchange are one of those things I like to keep on a schedule, lest I realize that it’s been two weeks and I haven’t posted anything at all.
Sundays are one of my “post, woman!’ days. So starting Saturday night, I begin the creative process.
Step One: realize it’s Saturday night. Freak out that it’s Saturday night, because that means tomorrow’s Sunday and there isn’t a single piece of sanctioned church clothing cleaned. Allow the freakout train to progress down the track to “Oh no! I need to post something at the Exchange tomorrow, too! Laundry and blog post!” Promptly collapse on the couch in a fit of panic. Turn on ghost hunter shows to get the creative juices flowing.
Step Two: Fall asleep on the couch 15 minutes later.
Step Three: Sporadically contemplate a new post during the day on Sunday. From time to time, turn to whichever family member is closest and ask them what topic should be covered. Shake head sadly at the suggestions, and wonder how such a creative genius wound up surrounded by people with so few ideas.
Step Four: Go to the Catholic Exchange website and see what’s been posted that day. …
Hey moms- how many of you can relate to some aspect of this picture here?
Four year old about to be policed off the couch thanks to a bossy nine year old and a pillow to the face.
Not-quite two year old brandishing fireplace poker that has been missing for a good two months.
Three year old eating contraband food, snuck into the family room at some unknown point in the distant past, and shoved under the couch for future consumption.
Room, which had been picked up, dusted, vacuumed, aired out and sanitized a mere 24 hours ago, now looks like what would happen if the set of Yo Gabba Gabba was designed by someone on crystal meth.
Not pictured: six year old, who is standing directly behind the photographer, writhing for unknown reasons.
Total time the room has remained adult-free before this erupted: <.005673th of a second
Ok, raise your hand if you recognize some part of this from your daily life.
Successfully molding this band of savages into some semblance of civilized, productive members of society is work, right?
I thought so. So can we all get back to our regularly scheduled jobs of doing the best we can without tearing each other down?
Great. If not, I know a nine year old who’s got wicked good aim with a pillow.…
Every year since I’ve become Catholic, with the sole exception of the Easter Vigil when I entered the Church, I find myself kneeling in front of the Tabernacle on Easter Sunday and being flooded with this overwhelming feeling that I don’t deserve this, because I did such a lousy job preparing during Lent. I struggle with the thoughts that I didn’t work hard enough at preparing my soul, and by soaking in the joy of Easter, I’m taking something that I didn’t earn.
Obviously, since everyone on the planet is less spiritually hopeless than I am, you’ve already spotted the error in my thinking. None of us “deserve” Easter. Like Heaven, no one could ever work their way to it. No one gets to Heaven because they were “a good person”, and no one observes a Lent austere and disciplined enough to deserve the consuming joy of Easter. The only reason we have Easter, and a shot at Heaven, is solely because of the undeserved gift of Jesus.
But that still doesn’t stop me.
When I was in school, I had this lovely habit of not doing my homework. Wouldn’t do it. But I would cram for every exam, and test very well, so my poor classwork grades combined with my excellent test scores averaged to- well, average.
Understandably, this drove my parents insane, and they racked their brains for every possible remedy to this shocking display of poor work ethic.…
When I was offered this opportunity to blog here at Catholic Exchange, I was begged not to “get all pious” on y’all. It seems that whatever gifts I was given to serve the Kingdom lay more in the humor department and less in Theology, and these were the gifts that were being tapped to write here.
That’s fine. I love getting gifts. And if the giver is God Himself, I’m certainly not going to gripe because I got “funny” and not “spiritually astute”.
But all this means that on days like today, on days when even a moment’s reflection on the events of 2000 years ago can reduce grown folks to tears, what I have to offer runs the risk of being trivial, if not downright disrespectful. So I had prudently planned on keeping my mouth shut and my thoughts to myself. I’d leave the Good Friday posting to people who could do it justice. Then I ran across a video that a fellow blogger posted on Facebook, and plans changed.
Growing up, I vividly remember an older woman with violently red hair, a little whisp of a grandma, really, who sang in the choir of my childhood church. Other than her technicolor hair, you’d never notice her among all the other singers- until Palm Sunday. Then, year after year, she’d come to the front of the church, and perform a solo rendition of “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” The whole church would remain absolutely silent as this powerhouse soprano voice would pour out of this little old grandma lady, and the only movement would be people wiping tears from their eyes.…
Highlights from the week:…
at some point Monday morning, the little boys steal the syrup bottle, sneak it downstairs, and proceed to take shots from it while watching He-Man in their underwear. The empty bottle, shoved under the coffee table, is not discovered until a two inch thick trail of ants leads me to it on Wednesday afternoon.
The girl takes three solid days to complete 20 math problems (again), then takes 20 minutes to flawlessly complete three days’ worth of English, vocabulary, science and history.
All five children, who are usually thick as thieves, become even thicker and thievier and devise a system by which at no time during the hours of 6 a.m. through 8 p.m., is there a fraction of a moment when someone isn’t shrieking at the top of their lungs. I find myself Googling phrases like “how do you debark children” and “what viruses cause laryngitis”.
In preparation for Holy Week, theological conversations overheard in the backseat of the van reach dizzying heights of absurdity. Topics covered include “God is a Woman, and You Can’t Prove Otherwise Because He Has Long Hair and Wears Dresses”, with the 4 year old defending this thesis against the increasingly scandalized 9 year old. Like many of her countrymen in these politically charged times, she finds it difficult to engage in civil discourse with someone whose whole argument consists of “If you don’t agree with me, you’re stupid” and “If you don’t agree with me, I’m going to yell my opinion louder”.
I love photography.
I love it in the way a little girl loves horses, because they are magical and make the world more beautiful.
I do not love it in the way a championship Thoroughbred stable loves horses, with an eye for technical detail and mechanics. While I certainly enjoy learning more about the process, and have been known to make my kids sit through a million pictures so I can practice manually setting my aperture or exposure or something, Photoshop is still going to be my best friend forever and ever.
That’s one of reasons I love Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nikon D5000 so much that after husband/children/contacts, it’s the one thing I would make sure I grabbed in the case of a house fire. But there is something that appeals to the “magical and more beautiful” aspect of photography like that so-simple-it’s-crazy smartphone app. Instagram has the ability to take the most mundane, the most prosaic pictures and with a few jabs at the touchscreen, transform them into something more interesting.
To prove this (and because I couldn’t think of another thing to write about today and had already pulled the “list post” card last time), I took the most mundane, the most prosaic member of the house and photographed his day. I now present to you “A Day in the Life of John-Luke, Made More Magical and Beautiful Thanks to Instagram.…
I am 35 weeks, 2 days pregnant. Which is to say that this baby has been occupying my uterus for seven thousand months, 6 days (it’s like figuring out dog years, only much more complicated and subject to hormonal fluctuations). Which is also to say that this baby will be parked here for another 40 years, despite the chirpy assurances to the contrary by “science” and “doctors”. Which is also also to say that I am fit only for a list post, which I know means I’m lazy and a hack and blah blah blah. I promise I will refund your money in full.
Comparing your fetus to food items is a practical way to make an intangible tangible. Until the creators of said list spiral off into the absurdly specific (heirloom tomato? english hothouse cucumber?). Then it’s just silly.
Every time I make a sudden movement, it triggers an extremely painful contraction. So I’ve alternated between laying on the couch, suffering through the indignity of repeated viewings of “He-Man” while the boys run around the family room, pointing swords at each other, declaring they “have the POWER!” and slumping in front of the computer, reading all of Lenore Skenazy’s past Tweets… while becoming more and more convinced the entire world is insane.
The almost two year old did something alarming to one of the toilets which resulted in massive flooding of the bathroom, landing, and basement stairs. The water may or may not have contained human fecal matter.
I am writing this post within arm’s reach of my daughter. It is a beautiful Friday, which her daddy has unexpectedly taken off work. He’s outside with a bonfire, her brothers are riding around in their battery operated jeep; there are trees to be climbed and chickens to be played with, and public school friends due to show up on our front porch any moment now, looking to spend extra time playing with Lotus, thanks to a half day of school.
The thing that’s keeping her inside on a day like this is the only force in the entire world that could possibly keep my nature loving, chicken whispering, social butterfly daughter inside: math.
Specifically, long division.
Super specifically, a long division assignment that she’s refused to finish for the past three days.
Over these past three days, my emotions and responses have run the full spectrum- patience, compassion, anger, sorrow, guilt, hysterics, wailing and gnashing of teeth, etc. etc. None of it has any positive effect on the girl. Her world has now been stripped down to the dining room table, those 20 division problems, and the most exotic examples of work avoidance I’ve ever seen a human being devise for herself (did you know you could construct a 3D castle out of rolled up pieces of Kleenex and parts of your math book cover? …