While pregnant, I started writing weekly updates to family and friends. Some liked it, other tolerated it, but I enjoyed sharing. Once Tony was born, I decided to do monthly updates for his entire first year. Well, here we are at his first birthday. And here are all of those monthly updates for you to enjoy.Continue reading “What A ONE-derful Year!”
Today is the feast of the immaculate conception, and it’s one of my favorite feast days. I especially love the gospel reading for today. And while I was reading the readings before I attend Mass this morning, I thought I’d be struck by what really is my favorite part of the gospel “for nothing will be impossible for God” because if you know my journey, this statement speaks so true to my life, but today something different stood out to me. Mary’s response. She says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
So simple, yet so profound. And really something I’d like to live up to in my own life. Being open to God’s call. Being open to God’s plan. Always responding with grace, humility, and trust to what God wants for my life.
I’ve been pregnant 3 times in my life. Two pregnancies resulted in two of my beautiful children, Sydney and Tony. One resulted in an early miscarriage. Each time I was pregnant, I was pregnant on this feast day. And since I teach at a Catholic school, I’ve always attended Mass. Twice I was visibly pregnant, and once I was one of very few people who knew I was pregnant, but I always felt a special connection with Mary and Elizabeth while listening to the gospel. I imagined visiting with both of them, us three pregnant women rejoicing for the miracles we carried inside our bodies. Miracles we never expected. Nothing is impossible with God. I saw myself there with the two of them, laughing and praising God as we felt our babies move inside of us. Anticipating, wondering what motherhood would be like, rejoicing, already so in love with our children even though we hadn’t ever seen their faces, probably some worry. Moms worry.
It also makes me think of Vinny, who if you don’t know was adopted. St. Joseph wasn’t Jesus’s biological father, but the love he showed his son is incomparable. It’s what all fathers, all parents, should use as example of parenthood. It’s how I need to remember to parent Vinny and Zack, not my children from my own body, but very much my children. Loved deeply. Wanted. Chosen.
It also makes me think of the triumphs and try-agains my mom friends and I share daily. Whether through texts and phone calls or prayer or visits… the support from my mom friends gets me through.
It makes me think of my own mother, knowing she experienced much of what I’m experiencing as a mom. Thinking about how she still is a mom but in a very different way. Thinking about how parenting her adult daughter who is parenting her young children. Watching me struggle and wishing she could fix everything, but knowing I will learn through the struggle. Loving me, guiding me, helping me, all while feeling her own feelings about motherhood, about being a Nonna, about life. Inspiring me. She truly embodies Mother Mary to me in many instances.
It makes me think of my best friend, she is childless, but she is Vinny’s godmother and the greatest aunt to my kids. Anytime Mary and Elizabeth are mentioned together, I think of her. She has been with me through my single life, married life, infertility, adoption, pregnancies… She is my rock. She is the Elizabeth to my Mary. (I mostly say she’s Elizabeth because that’s her name, but she also is Mary to me.)
The homily at Mass today was about glory. God wants to give us His glory, through Mary and through the holy family. I just continue to pray that my husband and I can guide our family using the holy family as the example. The standard. God, please find us and let us receive Your glory.
May it be done to me according to Your word. Amen.
So, it’s Easter which is, arguably, the most joyful day of the church year. Sure, Christmas is great, but there’s something wonderful about going through the suffering of Lent for 40 days, recounting Jesus’ passion and death, and then getting to sing “Alleluia!” again because Jesus has risen. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays because of the insane amount of joy that comes with it.
Joy. I’m really struggling with finding my own joy today. Continue reading “Jesus is Not a Souffle”
Well, it’s been over a year since I’ve used this blog to write. Needless to say, having three kids, a full time job, and trying to maintain some sort of social life takes it’s toll. (Also, no one naps anymore…naps were the best time I had to write.) I’d really like to get into writing more – I think maybe I’ll try to incorporate that into my daily routine. You know, along with parenting, being a wife, a teacher, exercising, cooking, trying to have time with friends, trying to have time to myself…something is always lacking, something is always getting less time and attention. And, I suppose if it was going to be something, writing is the most expendable, but man, is it therapeutic to sit here and be typing this right now. However, that’s not the purpose of this post…I’ll do a “state of the family” post later, but this post is about changing my heart, specifically during this season of Lent. Continue reading “Change Our Hearts”
In one short year I turn 30. That’s right, yesterday was my birthday! We went whitewater rafting…by we I mean Derek and some of his family. It was such an exhilarating adventure and really made me feel alive…which is a great thing to feel on your birthday.
While some friends are horrified at the thought of 30, right now I’m feeling fairly stoic about the milestone. I feel confident in what I’ve achieved and excited to see what I can create in the next thirty years.
That being said, I do still feel as if it is quite a monumental year. The first real milestone year since 21 (because, let’s be real renting a car at 25 is no real milestone). I feel as if 29 is the year to work on myself and establish the tone for the next chapter of my life.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on my “29 before 30” list and I feel confident that it is a strong list. I also know the reality is that over the next year I might find things more important to do. In which case I’ll provide an update as to why something got swapped out. Some of the items are about building habits, while others are a one-time type of thing. If all were a one-time thing, I’d have to accomplish 2.42 items a month to achieve them all.
Without further ado, here is my 29 activities I want to do before 30. They’re in no particular order.
- Establish an exercise routine
- Read 15 books
- Cultivate a wardrobe that both speaks to who I am, but also how I want to be perceived
- Learn how to code, or something along those lines
- Establish better spending habits
- Achieve more focus in my daily life and work to better avoid distractions
- Update and decorate our house so it feels more like my style and less like the previous owner’s
- De-clutter and refrain from bringing more stuff in
- Further develop my personal branding
- Contribute to my retirement fund
- Start our decorative guest art wall
- Buy a new computer
- Learn how to cook seven new meals without recipes
- Go whitewater rafting again
- Find a long-term volunteer opportunity
- Run a marathon…half marathon…okay maybe just a relay
- Create photobooks, including Keely’s baby book
- Do more yoga
- Go on a trip with friends
- Learn to make a decent pot of coffee at home
- Consistently wake up earlier
- Go a week without TV (or Netflix or anything like that)
- Cut out regularly drinking soda pop (see what I did there?)
- Visit a new American city
- Have a professional family photo done
- Host a large friends get-together (Friendsgiving)
- Clean up the photos on my phone and only keep the best ones
- Find a signature lipstick color
- Regularly blog (at least twice a month)
So, what do you think? Will I be able to do all of this? PS
How did I get so lucky to be the mom of this precious little girl?
As night falls over my minute backyard I sit here bawling. Silent and giant tears. Tears of panic and misery. Tears that feel indulgent and necessary.
Every year, just as I think I’m going to get through another April without the overwhelming pain of losing a parent too young, it hits me. Some years it takes until April 30, and some years, this one included, it hits a bit early.
I know it’s in large part because of the book I’m reading.
[spoiler ahead–but not one you wouldn’t know early on]
I loved Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (and the subsequent HBO series by the same name), so as soon as completing that one I jumped into her The Husband’s Secret. I’ve had a harder time getting into it, but as nicer weather and the ability of reading outside became a reality, I slowly got into it between Keely’s bedtime and my own. I’m nearing the end and the pain of the characters have become my own. As one character mourns the premature loss of her daughter, I think of my own.
But I don’t give way to thoughts of losing Keely at a young age. That’s self-indulgent and too painful. I’ve pushed them as far away as possible. I have no experience in that. It’s unfathomable. It’s a construct of my imagination.
I do have experience in losing my dad at 13. That is something real to me. It was 15 years ago, but the the pain can still be so completely tortuous at times. Even more so as I project that onto Keely and Derek.
I don’t know or have a reference point for losing your spouse. I only have the loss of a parent. That combined with a parent’s love, makes it so much worse than I ever thought. I take solice in the fact that Keely will never know the hardships I went through as an adolescent…but the reality is I don’t know that for a fact. What if something traumatic does happen to Derek? What if it happens to both of us? What can I say or do that makes it not hurt for her the way it did for me?
As dark has completely fallen on me and my thoughts (and fingers) have run free, I feel a bit better and a bit ridiculous. It is my deepest hope that Keely doesn’t experience losing a parent too young. I want to be jealous that her dad was there for high school, graduations, college, and getting married. I want to always be jealous of the very real bond the two of them share. It’s the good kind of jealous. I feel this jealousy constantly, but when I put it in the context of Keely, it feels right. It feels like what, as a mother, I should feel.
I’ve been putting off writing this blog for some reason. I think in many ways I felt that by writing the blog it was putting an end to the entire experience. That as if by writing this blog it was really, truly over. Then, when I had finished this post, I kept putting off posting it.
And part of me doesn’t want it to be over. Continue reading “Week 4 and Change: It’s done!”
We have now completed three weeks of Whole30. Twenty-one days gone and only nine remain. In my mind, we’re almost done. In Derek’s mind we’re not done until we hit Wednesday because we won’t be still doing Whole30 the following Wednesday. I can see his point, however, it really feels like it’s the beginning of the end. Continue reading “Whole30 Week 3: The Beginning of the End”