Friday, October 24, 2014

You are Enough

 

My husband left for a business trip Sunday afternoon. It was disappointing that our weekend got cut short, but thankfully, this is not the norm. As my children and I made certain that everything was in order for an early Monday morning—uniforms washed, baths taken, homework completed—I braced myself for three hectic days as a solo mom.

Monday came and went with a busy, but uneventful schedule. The kids were playing so nicely in the living room, that I decided to extend their enjoyment by just a few minutes. (When I notice them getting along, I like to reward it!) But then, I heard the scream, followed by tears and the calling of my name. "Mom, Mom, come quick."

Joseph was crying so hard, no sound was coming from his mouth. But what was coming from his mouth was quite obvious. Blood. And a lot of it. I called out to one of the kids for Kleenex, as I opened my arms to receive my wounded son. As he cried in my arms, five other children cried around me. The volume was so loud, I couldn't hear anything.

I am not the bravest mom in the world. I cannot even pull out a tooth for the Tooth Fairy. I feared even looking to see what damage had been done to cause that much blood. I braced myself and peaked into Joseph's tiny mouth. I could tell his teeth and gums were banged up. His front teeth were pushed back.

Thankfully, my mom, who lives with us, was close by at a neighbor's. I called her home, and she helped me clean up Joseph and calm everyone else. Joseph took some Tylenol like a champ and slept through the night.

In the morning, his lip was gigantic, and he only ate soft yogurt and applesauce. I called the dentist and scheduled an appointment for noon. Until then, I held him. A lot. There wasn't anything else I could do. Any plans for my Tuesday were canceled. I couldn't even remember what I had hoped to accomplish that day. All I needed to take care of was sitting in my lap.

To wrap up a long story, the dentist gave us two options: 1) reset and splint Joseph's teeth with a 50% chance of success, or 2) pull the teeth and have him go on with life.

I texted and called my husband, until I finally got ahold of him. I wrote, "EMERGENCY! IT'S JOSEPH!" After which he texted, "Can I call you later?" I had to laugh inside, but my text came across, "NO!!"

Even though I knew that the easiest choice was to pull Joseph's teeth, I needed the voice of my husband to agree, before I could go forward.

Joseph was so brave as the dentist and his assistant gave him laughing gas and Novocain. His tiny hand held mine the entire time. All I could do was pray, asking the Blessed Mother to pray for Joseph. Over and over again, "Hail Mary, full of grace ..." I pictured her  holding Joseph in her arms and her mantle of protection completely covering him. The moment brought me back to other times in my motherhood, when I could do absolutely nothing but pray, like the day my twins were born, and I needed an unexpected C-section.

Joseph didn't really start crying until it was all over. I can only imagine what he must have been thinking and feeling, but I trust that Jesus, through Mary, was giving him extra grace and comfort that only He can give. Joseph had a hard time calming down when it was all over, so he bled a lot, again. But he finally relaxed long enough for the blood to stop.

As we drove home, and Joseph fell asleep, I had this enormous sense of purpose come over me, flow down upon me, anoint me. As a woman who chose to stay at home with my children full-time, often I feel like my purpose isn't as important as other women who are making a difference in the world. My work is hidden. It is hard to have personal goals when the mundane tasks of homemaking and the demands of other people consume most of my days. It often feels like I should be doing more: more volunteering, more service, more something. And that what I actually do is not enough and doesn't make much difference.



I know the Church teachings and famous quotes about motherhood that express the importance of this vocation. I know the truth in my head. But so often my heart aches as a result of the feelings of failure; the sense of being two, five or ten steps behind at all times; and the lack of appreciation or approval from the world and even sometimes from those within the walls of my own home, including myself.

But in that moment of grace, the truth leapt into my heart, and I believed that I am indeed fulfilling a most important purpose in this world. It was me that my son ran to when he was so badly injured. It was me who calmed him down and gave him a sense that it was going to be OK. And it was me who took care of a pretty traumatic situation with confidence and poise, for the sake of my son. I do not say this to get credit or to get glory. I say this to inspire other moms (and myself) to believe with all their hearts that what they do, day in and day out, matters. It matters to our families, even if they never say a word, and it especially matters a lot to God.

Most days, we are not going to feel the greatness of our work. Most days will run together and feel pretty normal. But all of those normal, boring days create a spirit of stability in the hearts of our family. Days will come—like they did that week my husband was out of town—when life turns upside down, and we will be the hero for our children. And knowing that, even for a split second, will give us what we need to keep on doing the dishes, folding the laundry, driving to and from soccer practice, and tucking little heads into bed. Because that work is important, and that work is enough.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Notes on a Fall Day


Last week, I had my Well-Read Mom book club meeting, and we couldn't praise our September read enough. We all agreed that it was a wonderfully written book that warmed our hearts and touched our souls. My review on Goodreads is as follows:

Do you highlight in books? I do. I mainly highlight my non-fiction books, books that teach, especially about the Faith. It helps me retain the information.

But I honestly cannot remember the last time I highlighted a book of fiction. If ever. Until now.


I just finished reading Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry for The Well-Read Mom book club that I'm in. It was so beautifully written. The little proverbial truths woven throughout, the way the author describes (and deals with) life and love, work and responsibilities, marriage and community. I want to go back and remember. I want to live in the same light that Hannah lived. Hence the highlights.


This book might be on my top 10 list of favorite books of all time! Now what about the other nine?


Up next for WRM is Pride and Prejudice, which I've read and which I love! I am thinking about listening to an audio version. Does anyone have a good recommendation?

Current Reads
Before I start P&P, I hope to finish, or at least get a bit further along in When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers by Marcellino D'Ambrosio. At first, I was a little intimidated by the subject matter, but the author's writing style is very narrative, so it is not dry history or theology.

I continue to slowly move through The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I'm afraid if I read it too quickly, I'll miss something profound.

Children's Books
Our current favorite is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. It is delightful and sweet and has actually helped my three-year-old son transition quite well to going to preschool a couple mornings each week.

I also got out our fall books, and I hope to write an updated post on some of our favorites soon!

Lastly, I had the opportunity to review a new release from the popular God Gave Us series, God Gave Us Angels, over at CatholicMom.com. Please check it out! It really is a delightful book from a delightful series.


Up Next?
I plan on reading The Way of Trust and Love by Fr. Jacques Philippe soon. I also am looking forward to reading Lisa Hendey's newest book The Grace of Yes, which comes out in November!

What about you? What are you reading? Do you have any recommendations to share?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Watching these two girls of mine brings me so much joy! I am in awe of how close they are at such a young age, and I look forward to seeing their relationship grow stronger as they get older. I am grateful for their sisterly relationship and that they have found true friendship with one another. They bless me more than they will ever know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October

Welcome, October! My favorite month of the entire year!!



Today, October greets me with cold rain. But the rest of the month promises crisp air, crunchy and bright leaves, orange pumpkins and everything that makes fall fabulous.

Today also is the Feast of St. Therese of Liseux. I didn't know her growing up, but like Our Blessed Mother, I am getting to know her better slowly and steadily during these recent years. And I am grateful for growing in holy friendship with this sister in Christ who has accomplished the height of Heaven and has promised to pray hard so that we see it, too!



For the past two weeks, St. Therese has been on my mind more than any other time in my life. A priest mentioned her to me in Confession one day. He encouraged me to pray for a spirit of stability between that day and St. Therese's Feast Day. I keep thinking about his words and how they relate to her. I think I will be carrying this in my heart for a long time after today. For some reason, I have a feeling it will be a key to unlocking a lot of difficulty in my life, and I am encouraged and hopeful.

And from the archives, five years ago, a Pajama Party with St. Therese!

St. Therese, pray for us!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On the last day of September ...

I have wanted to be here this month, but every time I think about popping over, something more urgent whisks me away. It is hard being a blogger. More specifically, it is hard being a blogger who took a two-year break and is trying hard to get back into a groove. This year has not been great for the writer within. I have been faithful to my writing commitment to CatholicMom.com, and I have loved every moment of it! But I have been lacking in my commitment to this space, and that leads to discouragement. I love to write, so why do I not make more time for it? Right now, I am feeling a bit like a failure in this area of my life, and I want so much to improve.


Outside my window ...
Fall is in the air! The weekend was warm, but now it is crisp and cool. The leaves are changing color. It is my favorite time of year.

Thanking God for ...
+ a 21-day health/wellness/fitness challenge I am doing with a group of women
+ a new school year, which includes my youngest going to preschool two days a week, which gives this mama six hours of solitude every week. I have not been alone for almost 12 years, and I have to admit, I am welcoming this new phase in my motherhood. Not that I don't love my kids, but I also appreciate the break from them, too.
+ the feasts of the Archangels and Guardian Angels as well as the feast of Sts. Therese and Francis ... all this week!

Me and Olivia (10) at our parish's Fall Festival 5K!
Thinking about ...
How to spend those six precious hours each week. As I have shared before, I am a perfectionist, so I am waiting to figure out the best way to utilize my time. However, what I need to do is use it wisely but in a way that is "good enough." No more waiting to figure it out. Just use it already!! Maybe one way is work on my writing! Another way may be just to read, knit and enjoy a coffee in quiet!

Wearing ...
My new jeans, a cream-colored cowl-neck shirt, my navy Bobs and gold leaf earrings.

Reading ...
I am reading Hannah Coulter for my Well-Read Mom book club. And I am LOVING it! I continue to read The Practice of the Presence of God, too, and that is one I can pick up and put down, and I am OK with it taking awhile.

Creating ...
All of the SAME knitting projects I've been talking about for months (maybe years when it comes to my husband's scarf ... poor guy)! A bit like my writing, this is a source of discouragement for me, because I just don't make the time to do this! Ugh!!

On the table ...
Not sure about tonight, but we had grilled pork chops, grilled veggies and quinoa for dinner last night, and it was delicious. All was part of my new 21-day program, and when I measured out my portions, I had more food on my plate than anyone else! It is empowering to know what a real portion looks like. Sometimes it's smaller than you think, but sometimes it's actually bigger than you think, too!

Plans for the week ...
+ Moms on the Run bootcamp tonight
+ volleyball game Thursday (my oldest two are on the same team!)
+ wedding on Friday
+ Rediscover: Catholic Celebration on Saturday


Praying for ...
+ my husband and children
+ special intentions within the St. Therese Novena
+ two young people suffering from Lyme's disease
+ Christians who are being persecuted for their faith
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