Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some of That Good

Stella says to me very seriously, "Mama, when I grow up I want to be a box inside a box eating candy." After a quick thought, "And Gianna can be a rock."


Making up spontaneous songs while looking at a book, pointing to the words, "I am a word! I am a word! You cannot touch me. You cannot touch me."

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Clinging to the Good

It is easy for me to become overwhelmed and agitated when my life is so enmeshed in the lives of many little small people. Little people, two of which, who want so much to be independent (in certain ways) but still require so very much help. Sometimes that help can be exasperating, not because the work is difficult, but because it is repetitve.

I am a servant to my childrens' needs. I need to serve them physically. I also need to serve them emotionally and spiritually--also all enmeshed.

I do my best to meet those needs every day with a cheerful heart, go to bed and get up to do it all over again the next day. With Rowena in the mix it means that there are still needs that must be met through the night as well.

Sometimes it is easy to feel sorry for myself or wish that things were different or want something "more." But I also know that what I have right now is the best.

This is where I practice "clinging to the good." Jamie admonishes me to do so when the going gets tough. Once again, it's not that anything I do is especially trying or difficult, it's the repetition that is the source of my agitation. When I think about it in these terms it seems rather silly.

I know that the children will require food, rest, activity, discipline, correction and bathing. I know that they need very specific direction and, often times, my physical help in moving their bodies in the right direction. I know there are many unmentionables that they will need help with. I know that they will want to rebel and defy and scream. I know these things. I know that if I take them on an outing they will not want to go home. I know if I try to do to much they will unravel and become suseptible to tantrums. Yet I press on in the Living Life department.

When their reactions baffle me and I am tempted to indulge in screaming and yanking of limbs and ceasing of fun I return to this idea: Cling to the Good. This can be literal: cling to those memories where people are happy and laughing, enjoying one another and obeying. This can also be figurative: the Good, the highest Good is Jesus. Does it win me any peace to continually lose my patience with my kids when their behavior is age-appropriate yet, nonetheless, trying or embarassing? Does it teach them self-control when I continually lose control of myself?

As I said before, much of my life is repetitive and, thankfully, expected. There aren't many surprises here. That, too, is a good. When I am tempted to give in to my thirty-something temper tantrum or a woe-is-me afternoon I practice clinging to the good in my children and the Good of Jesus.

Why am I telling you this? Because I spend a lot of time thinking about it. This having children and raising them up is an arduous affair that has required me to come to terms with all the virtues that I lack. Now is my chance to acquire them.

Cling to the good. I can't recommend it enough.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So Much to Say and So Little Time (I Can Hear You Weeping)

There is so much and so very little happening.

Rowena is four months old. She weighs seventeen pounds which is merely two pounds shy of what Stella weighed when she was one. It's a good physical reminder of how very different everyone is. Everyone and every one of my children. I cannot compare, yet I can't not! How do I escape the cycle? I used to hate being compared when I was a kid. It was always Adrienne, a friend, that I was compared to. And I did not like her hair.

We are finding more time to be outside. It must be early in the morning or late in the evening but it is so refreshing. It is so nice to walk out front at 4pm and not be overwhelmed with HOT! It's less like openeing the door to an oven these days and more like stepping outdoors to a hot afternoon. Is there a difference, you ask? You must be asking from a different state.

In the evening we go out back and rake the compost and watch the chickens (because we are so "crunchy con"). As soon as you step out the back door you can sense that the edge is waning. The hot edge of the summer. The temperatures dip below 90 at night and it is becoming downright pleasant.

This is the time of the year when lots of other people are begininng to turn their sights indoors. They are looking forward to cozying up with a book, warm tea and blankets, crock pot meals and all sorts of creature comforts. We look forward to that, too. But we also look forward to pausing for a moment outside after church, being able to have a pontaneous conversation in the parking lot, walking to the mailbox without shoes on, turning down the AC in the car--maybe even rolling down the windows instead. It will get cold here, too. It gets quite cold and our nice season in full of short days. So it's not quite like the long pleasant summers that others enjoy, but I will take it. I look forward to jeans and sweaters, or even just long sleeves.

A few weeks ago we went to Mass at 7:30. It was finished by 8:30 and a bunch of people talked outside in the grass. My face hurt from smiling and I couldn't help but enjoy how chatty everyone was. In my head I have a vision of heads tossing and lots of flourishes with hands to emphasize statements, lots of laughter and guffawing. I snickered to myself because that is what happens to people in Phoenix when it cools down. They have so much to say to people who don't live in their homes, people they just bump into that once it's nice out and they can hang out for a moment to say it, it all comes gushing out in waves of overwhelming happiness. That's the beginning of the last third of summer here in Phoenix, folks.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Birthday Requests

In Stella's interior life her next birthday is always "next weekend" just as her last birthday was just "last weekend at (her) party." She has birthday requests every day. And if you have a conversation with her she will ask you what you are going to be getting her for her birthday.

Yesterday as she was settling down for her nap I received the best request yet:

"For my birfday next weekend I want a dress. Made out of favric that has rainbows and horses on it. And babies chasing them. We'll have to go favric shopping."