Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hope, pray and don't worry

That was Fr. John's message for today's homily. It really struck a cord with me. Fr. John is our associate pastor. He is a young and energetic guy who enjoys making Mass something everyone can relate to. My new favorite word is "splurchases". When you 'think' you need to purchase something, ask yourself if it is a purchase or a splurge. He also encouraged us to hope and pray more while worrying less. Tell yourself this today - "Whatever people think of you is their business, not yours. Hmmmm. As someone who is my own worst critic, this presents a challenge I will try very hard to meet.

All this talk of hoping, praying and worrying got me thinking about my faith. I once heard faith describe as a glass of water. It's easier for kids to have faith because their glass is smaller and easier to fill. As we grow, so does out "cup", making it harder to fill. Sometimes I think of faith as a journey. Sometimes the road is smooth and flat. Other times, it is hilly, curvy and difficult to navigate. At those times, you must tread slowly and carefully and trust in your co-pilot. I think of God as a very good, lifelong friend who has seen you at your best, worst, highest and lowest and loves you anyway. You know the kind I'm talking about - the kind you can call day or night about anything (big or small) and He will always take the call, listen and be on your side without judging you. It's also comforting to know that, like a good friend, even if you lose touch for awhile, you can still reach out and He will be there to take your hand. So, today, please try to hope more, pray harder and worry less. It's not an easy task for any of us.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

First Communion Dress shopping

Today Sara and I went shopping for her First Communion dress. This was a big deal for both of us. I wore my mother's First Communion dress. All I remember was how itchy it was and I was annoyed I didn't get to pick it out myself. Now, as the mother, I wish we still had that itchy dress so Sara could continue the tradition and wear the dress that her mother and grandmother wore for this momentous occasion. She never got to meet my mom. She passed away when I was 15. She has heard all the stories and seen pictures. Her favorite stories are about me being born on the bathroom floor and my mom going to the grocery store wearing 2 different shoes and not caring. As I watched her twirl and preen and debate over dresses, I couldn't help but wish my mom was there to share in this experience. It would have been nice to have a tie-breaker vote, too. It also made me look back at my First Communion. I remember my parents, grandparents and brothers being there and having a big party afterwards. I felt like a "big kid" for the first time. Because we want Sara to experience the big family celebration that goes with being a Roche and having a large Midwest family, Paul and I have decided to have two First Communions. Her first one will be in Granger at our church here. My dad and Paul's sister, Nan, will attend and help us celebrate. Then we will head to Michigan for First Communion #2. Sara has a very close relationship with our pastor there (and not just because he hosts doughnut Sundays). He really knows how to connect with young parishioners and Sara really responds to him. When I asked him if it was possible to have two First Communions, he didn't bat an eye before agreeing. St. James in Novi still feels like our home parish. After that event, we will have the mandatory family and friend party. Sara has only celebrated one birthday without our family and she was NOT happy about it. She told me her 7 year birthday didn't feel real because we didn't have the typical Sunday dinner with my dad and brother's family. Somehow when she turned 4, my dad got to celebrate it twice (with 2 cakes). What can I say? The girl knows how to party and my dad does not know how to say no to her.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Othello - the gift that keeps on giving

Sara received the game Othello for her birthday. She spent the weekend trouncing me. The kid has an evil streak and a very strategic mind - a deadly combination. During one particularly easy game, she asked Paul to play with her so "she could work on evil strategies". Lest you think she is completely amoral, you can rest easy. She is a gracious, if a little condescending, winner. She also promised to take it easy on Grumpy when he visits because "he is old and probably hasn't played this game in a long time".

She has added game playing to her extremely long itinerary for his visit next month. He will put her to bed each night so they can have "talk time" and she can stay up past her bedtime. Talk time consists of her picking a topic, grilling my Dad on it then babbling at him until one of them collapses from exhaustion. The next morning, she will pace back and forth in front of the guest bedroom trying to determine if he is awake. Then they will make pancakes. This process mostly consists of my dad slaving over the griddle while Sara sings, dances and eats the blueberries while occasionally stirring a few into the batter. They will go on a nature walk to hunt for various birds. Then they will go out for lunch. He will order soup which they will share. She will graze off his plate then stick him with the bill. After lunch, they will play various board games and she will gloat over her many wins. At some point, Christian will demand "boppy time" and a fight will ensue. My dad will sit patiently until they are both out of time out and the "winner" gets to play with him. Christian's time will mostly be him handing books to my dad and telling him "more book, please". My dad will then read every book in our extensive collection to him 2-3 times. Sunday, he will get to see Sara sing in the church choir. When he leaves, both kids will do their best to make sure he feels as guilty as possible for departing. Their tactics include but are not limited to crying, refusing to kiss him so he cannot leave (Christian's tactic), making sad faces in the window as he drives away, then sending letters about how much he is missed (Sara's trick). Pack your bags, Grumpy. Your full schedule of weekend events awaits you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love

Sounds simple, right? Even inspirational. Not for me, it turns out. I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love". I enjoyed it for several reasons. I loved the idea of her "journey" of self-discovery. She was completely unhappy with her life and herself so she made the conscious decision and concerted effort to change all that she saw in herself and found lacking. You gotta admire that, right? That takes a great deal of self-awareness and courage. Then to write about it - well, that's a whole leap of courage I'm not sure I could take. I was equally impressed with her writing style. It is compact, concise, descriptive, beautiful and deeply honest - with herself and her readers. She is very upfront about her struggles and failures. In a few instances, she found herself learning a lesson that was almost a complete departure from her original goal/intention. In the end, what I learned from her experience and reading her novel was that being happy and content with who you are is a continuous, uphill and ever-changing journey and struggle. And, as you can imagine, we are usually our own worst enemy. I know I am. And, let me tell you, I am one harsh critic. Although, there are people out there that come in a close second. Every time I vow to myself not to worry so much about what others think, someone gets into my face and my brain. On Wednesday, I had the painful experience of another mother who felt it was her place to repeatedly criticize my parenting and my child's behavior to my face and behind my back (loudly). Yes, he misbehaved. No, he didn't commit a felony. Yes, I handled it. And, yes, I'm still stewing about it. How can someone be so sure of themselves and their superior parenting that they get a perverse joy out of ruining someone else's (fragile) peace of mind? So, I have spent the last few days analyzing and scrutinizing my kids' every move and my every parenting action/decision and found everyone and everything lacking. Thanks, anonymous lady. I hope you are basking in the joy of your perfect children. Mine are asleep after kissing me, hugging me and singing ME a lullaby. So, I must be doing something halfway right.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vactican 3

Sara sang in the choir today at Mass. She really enjoys it and I love watching her. As we were leaving the church, she asked me if women can be priests. I told her no. She then relayed one of her ever so entertaining and elaborate theories. She explained that she felt this wasn't fair because God loves us all equally and it shouldn't matter if she is a boy or girl. She feels she would make a very fine 'priestess' and would very much enjoy giving "talks" to people at church about being kind to each other and not sinning because it isn't nice to do so. She asked if she could talk to Fr. Bill about this. I decided it would be best to hustle her out of there with the promise of Twizzlers in the car. Back home, she frequently asked Fr. George questions after Mass. I think she liked keeping him on his toes. Her first order of business was always determining if it was a 'donut Sunday'. After that, her questions got more philosophical and theological in nature. Rock on, Sara. You've got my vote for priesthood.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My days of captivity continue

Tuesday morning Sara woke up with a sea lion-like cough. I'm half asleep and trying to decide if she can go to school or if she is suffering from a TB outbreak. I err on the side of caution and keep her home. This begins my 3 days of captivity. Tuesday night the skies opened and dumped 16 inches of fluffy snow on us. Ok, Wednesday begins snow day 1. Luckily, Paul also had a snow day. We had a nice quiet day at home. Sara and Paul plowed the driveway while Christian and I watched from the comfort of our warm house in our jammies. I've now been home with my kids for 2 straight days. I'm done. She can go back to school and "get her some learnin'". God has a sick sense of humor. Last night, Paul and I are relaxing after the kids go to bed when we get the dreaded text - "school closed". Noooooooooooooo!!!! Today didn't go as smoothly. First, Paul beat cheeks out of the house at the crack of dawn. Seriously, I swear I saw skid marks on the driveway. Second, my darling children decided that they were going to pass the time today arguing, fighting, whining, complaining and hitting each other (when they weren't stating that they were bored and there was nothing to do). I hold my tongue, don't beat anyone and we get through the day, bathe the kids and send them off to bed. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I sit down, put my feet up and breathe a sigh of relief. Tomorrow - school. One kid gone until 2:56 p.m. Nope. My phone delivers the bad news. There is a 2 hour delay due to "cold weather". Excuse me? She has a coat, hat, mittens and boots. She waits for the bus IN my house. She is outside for the 25 seconds it takes her to scurry out to the bus. Send the kid to school!!!! I'll put extra layers on her. Please, just take my kid to school!!!!!