/> Raising Angels: January 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

In Response to Your Anonymous Comments

I want to take a moment to respond to the comments on the little story about my boys showing an interest in being priests. Because of the stinging tone behind some of the statements my first thought was to delete them. However, I feel like the better thing to do would be to explain a few things.

Keep in mind that the boys I was talking about are 5 and 4. They don't feel pressure about anything...at all. Becoming a priest is just a part of our vocational/career discussions around here. We talk about being priests right along with being policemen, doctors, teachers, garbage collectors (I kid you not), and superheroes. My goal is that they will prayerfully consider the priesthood as a real option as they search for God's will. My goal has never, and will never be to force them or pressure them into anything.

My boys are blessed enough to be very close to numerous holy priests, one of whom happens to be their uncle. And yes, we are very proud that he’s a priest and not shy about saying so. He made a decision to listen to the Lord even though he wasn’t certain he was being called. He heard his call during a rather divisive time for the church and chose to follow it anyway. We are proud that he is a priest, but even more proud that he heard the Lord and followed him. We are also proud of their uncle who heard the call to teaching, coaching and marriage. We think his soccer games are awesome. And we are very proud of their other uncle who graduated with multiple honors, a plethora of life experiences and a fantastic job waiting for him.

The Catholic Church has been experiencing a shortage of priests for some time now. This is not because God has stopped calling people but rather that people don’t listen to Him. A priest once told me that he thought that a lot of people’s unhappiness stems from the fact that they lay in bed at night wondering what their lives would have been like if they’d only… Most people never take the time to pray through their vocations. They simply live their lives doing what’s “expected” of them. They get a degree, get a job and get married.

I tend to think that the shortage would be less if parents talked about the priesthood and religious life in normal conversations with their children. I don’t think this puts pressure on them but rather opens their minds and hearts to the possibility.

As to the final comment about it being all about me – I became a mother on August 29th, 2000 and since that moment life has ceased being about me. With each child I have, I learn a little more about what humility really means and what sacrifice truly entails. My life is driven by seeking God’s will for myself and my family, trying to stay in the center of that will and raising my children to do the same. If that somehow comes across as self-centered, I have really missed the mark.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

High Ideals

Today I happened to mention to Dawson that I have three sons and I wonder which one of them would be my priest.

"I will Mama," he quickly volunteered.

At dinner tonight I happened to mention this to everyone at which point I was stopped by Aiden. "Hey! I was going to be your priest," he interjected.

"It's okay," I assured him, "you can both be priests."

"Oh wait a minute," he then remembered, "it's okay for Dawson to be your priest. I forgot that I'm going to be your pope. You know, I can be the pope and Dawson you can still be my priest."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Way We Do Winter Down Here

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Fond Farewell

This morning Max woke up unusually early and I went in to feed him. This is typically a peaceful time for the two of us. No one else is awake and the house is quiet except for the sweet sounds of my baby boy swallowing. Although I'm not a fan of early mornings, I've always loved this time with my babies. Some days it's the only one on one time we get. Most days it's the only time I have to slip in a quiet prayer time. It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

Lately though these mornings have been a bit of a challenge. I don't know what happened but I seem to have suddenly, for lack of a better term, dried up. Poor little Max would try his best to eat what was there, but I could tell it wasn't much. Over the last week I had to give up the bedtime nursing because he was so hungry he stopped sleeping through the night. One trial night of formula later he was back to sleeping his usual 11 or 12 hours. It didn’t bother me too much because I thought I could at least keep the morning time.

However, this morning he had to work too hard for much too little reward. After half and hour of trying I pulled him away to try to coax him back to sleep. Instead of collapsing on my shoulder, he let out the saddest little whimper as I placed him back in his crib. He tossed and turned for another 20 minutes before I finally gave in, made a bottle and went back. He happily gulped the formula down and was out in less than 15 minutes.

And just like that it was over. With each of the other kids I've been ready for this to happen. I didn't choose it with Aiden but I was already pregnant with Dawson so I just took it as God giving me a little break before I started all over again in a few short months. Until today, I would have probably said I was ready for this part to be over with Max as well. I mean he'll be one next month anyway.

Maybe it's that the choice was not mine. Or maybe it's because I can't be sure I'll have any more kids. Or maybe, it's the idea of spending the money on formula over the next month. Or maybe it's the idea of losing the ability to burn all those calories breastfeeding moms burn.

It could be all those things, but tonight in the quiet of the house I know what I'll really miss is my morning time with Max. A time that was ours and ours alone. A time that only a mother can truly appreciate.

Because I have three other beautiful children, I know that there will be lots of other moments we'll share together. But today I'm a little sad that this moment was over in the blink of an eye and now is gone forever. And I'm even sadder that in my eight and a half years as a mother I now understand that this is the course of motherhood. Each season that seems like it will never end is over before you know it. Every stage passes. And, like it or not, children grow and change.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cage Fright

On our way home tonight a police car passed us and the topic of jail came up. We talked about what people do to get put in jail, what it is like and what you do while you’re there.

Of course the question arose as to what they do to kids who do bad things. "Do they put them in cages?" one wanted to know. "What do they eat?" asked another. "What do they do all day?"

We were trying to paint a grim picture so we added a few details here and there for dramatic effect. "Some people are so bad that they can't even go out of their cells to go potty,” I told them. “They have toilets in their rooms and they have to go potty in front of everyone (which, by the way is the worst fear of a few of my kids)."

Suddenly from the back came one last question from a very concerned Dawson, "What happens if you need help wiping your bottom?"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

These are the Days to Remember

Today was one of those busy days. It was thing to thing to thing with little to no time in between. One of those things involved me meeting Aiden at the door as he came in from school only to have him dump his stuff and get in the car with me to go back to school so I could speak at a Bible class.

He followed me into the kitchen to grab the snack I made for him to take along. Suddenly he grabbed me from behind and threw his arms around me. He tugged my arm to have me lean down and then he gave me a kiss.

I was marveling at the fact that this is my kid who no longer wants much to do with hugs and kisses when he turned my face to his and kissed me right on the lips...lipstick and all.

I picked him up and hugged him tight. "Wow! I wish you came home and did that every day," I told him happily.

There are a lot of things about these days that I'm sure I'll forget. I don't want this to be one of them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lord of the Dance

Like most Americans I watched/listened to part of yesterday's historic events. It evoked a number of emotions for a variety of reasons. I was wrestling with these emotions when the piece played by Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlmen came on.

Was it just me or did anyone else hear it? It was a beautiful piece. The tune was The Lord of the Dance. I'm pretty sure that's not the original use of the tune. Also, I seriously doubt if it had anything to do with the choice of it for the inauguration. However, I knew there was a reason I heard it.

Politics is a dance after all isn't it? It doesn't matter who is in the office, how he got there, or what he plans to do, because ultimately, God is still in charge. He is the Lord of the Dance.

That's good enough for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'Nuf Said

It's snowing...in Augusta,GA!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Over Easy

Overheard this morning as I served up the breakfast plates:

"Hey! How come my eggs are bleeding?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just Pondering

While at a stop sign downtown this morning a lady on the street motioned to me and asked me the time. The minute I cracked the window she was at the car door. I was a tiny bit spooked thinking about my baby in the car on a lonely street.

"It's just about ten o'clock," I said tentatively.

As I tried to quickly roll the window back up, she stuck her hand in and asked if I knew where the courthouse was. I told her but of course, that did not satisfy her.

"I need a really big favor," she said. "I'm coming from the hospital where my mother just passed an hour ago and my car is parked in a tow-away zone at the courthouse and I need to go and get it. Can you please, please give me a ride?"

I didn’t think she looked at all like someone who had just lost her mother. I wondered why she parked at the courthouse to go to the hospital. I also wondered how she had gotten to within 7 blocks of the courthouse and suddenly decided she needed a ride. It was a fishy story to say the least.

I didn't ask her any of my questions. I merely said I really couldn't give her a ride. As I was rolling up my window and trying desperately to escape, she said, "I would have helped you."

She succeeded in making me feel so guilty that I slowed down and watched her in my rearview window. I wondered if she would begin walking towards the courthouse which is what I would have done. She stayed in place.

I'm sure she was lying. Her story just didn't add up. However, it left me wondering why I was scared to help her. It made me sad that I couldn't help because I was worried about my safety. Why do things need to be this way? When did it start to be dangerous to reach out to a stranger?

Was I being selfish and unkind or safe and smart?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Monday, January 12, 2009

Schizophrenic Superhero

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Super Lesson

The following conversation ensued as the boys donned their Spiderman and Superman hats and gloves this morning.

Me: Wow Dawson! Those gloves are cool. They make it look like you are shooting webs.

Dawson: Look Aiden! I'm Spiderman. I can climb up walls.

Aiden: Well I'm Superman and I can fly.

Dawson: Well I fight bad guys like...um...that green guy. Who's that green guy?

Aiden: I don't remember.

Dawson: Oh yeah, he's the Green Goblin. I fight the Green Goblin.

Aiden: Well I fight bad guys too. I fight...um...Mama who do I fight?

Me: You fight Lex Luther.

Aiden: Yeah Dawson I fight Lex Luther. Who's Lex Luther?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ancient History

After a brief history lesson this morning Aiden asked, "Do we still do that?"

"No," I answered. Trying to drive the point home, I continued, "We haven't done that for a very, very, very, VERY long time."

"Oh, you mean like when you were a baby?"

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Random Sick (Literally) Thought

I hate having sick kids. I do not deal with throwing up well. In fact, that is the main reason I ended up as a teacher rather than a doctor. Something about a doctor who has to share the bucket with you just wouldn't sell well.

Tonight however, I made an interesting observation. There are one or two things about having a sick child that are not all that bad. Sometimes it's kind of nice to have boisterous, pedal-to-the-metal little guys hold still long enough for me to actually hold them. There's something kind of nice about an excuse to not leave the house - or sometimes the couch - for a day or two.

And, as I was gagging alongside my poor Aiden tonight thinking about what a terrible mother I am that I can't even tolerate my own flesh and blood throwing up, I realized that taking care of the sick child was not what I hate so much about having sick kids. Rather, it's the idea lurking in the back of my head as I change his shirt, wash out the sink and grab the ginger ale...one down three to go.

The joys of motherhood….

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Umm-hmm...Thanks Fr. Aaron

"Hey Mama, I can make this stuff fart!" Dawson exclaimed, as he held the Noise Putty so graciously given to him by Uncle...Father...Aaron.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Have a Great Day!

Every morning as we park in the carpool lane at school, I get out of the car and walk around to the other side to make sure the kids get out safely and walk in front of my car to get to the sidewalk. As they get out I make the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads, kiss them and tell them, "Have a great day! I love you!"

This morning when I got back into the car Dawson said, "Hey! How come you never tell me to have a great day?"

I explained to him that I do tell him that when he goes to school, he’s just usually too busy playing to notice. Nevertheless, when I took him to Catechesis today I made it a point to clearly tell him to have a great day, to which he responded, “I love you too!”

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Epiphany!

The memories are golden and the pictures numerous. What an amazing season it has been. It was a great end to a busy year. Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Resolution Reality

I'm already having trouble reaching my goal. There are just not enough hours in the day. So...what has to suffer so I can sleep?