Salt as an evil-repellant

Yesterday, Fritz went to a birthday party which included attending the movie The Spiderwick Chronicles. I’ve not read the books, and hadn’t really heard much about the movie, but I let him go, because he’s nearly ten, the movie was rated PG, and I realize that I can’t hold his hand forever. He, and all my children, will eventually have to live their own life without their mother filtering the things to which they are exposed. It’s things like that which give me growing pains.

He liked it, but admitted it was a little scary. I think he’s proud of himself for braving it without a grownup. This kid, two years ago, could not sit through The Goonies, even with his parents right there telling him it was going to be okay.

This family-friendly review gives it a B+.

Fritz describes the characters putting salt across the windowsills to ward off the monsters or something like that. I find this very curious, since I myself have done the same thing, using blessed salt, especially if the children were having nightmares. I would just like to understand the context under which the salt is used, so if any of you have seen the movie, can you clue me in? (My email address is on the sidebar.)

Dreaming of brownies

The man and woman were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies. Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife’s insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn’t help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven. They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet. They gasped in astonishment when he said,

“Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.” The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. “Why, nothing,” Peter replied, “Remember, this is your reward in Heaven.”

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth. “What are the greens fees?” grumbled the old man.

“This is heaven,” St. Peter replied. “You can play for free, every day.”

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages. “Don’t even ask,” said St. Peter to the man. “This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.”

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife. “Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?” he asked. “That’s the best part,” St. Peter replied. “You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!”

The old man pushed, “No gym to work out at?”

“Not unless you want to,” was the answer.

“No testing my sugar or blood pressure or…”

“Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.”

The old man glared at his wife and said, “You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!”

More old photos

Upon seeing my posted picture yesterday, my husband said, “I can’t believe I dated a girl with glasses like that!” I retorted, “I can’t believe I dated a dork.”

“A dork?” he said. “Look at me! I’m dashing!”

I married this man because he always keeps me laughing.

In today’s box, I found this photo dated 1989 or 1990. This is his college dorm room (my dorm room was never this messy). Nice computer, huh? That Green Bay metal trash can is still in our possession – we use it for wooden blocks. Also notice the empty Dr. Pepper glass bottle six-pack.
And definitely check out the glasses he’s wearing. He didn’t even need glasses back then (they are reading glasses, and he needs them now). I think we both weighed about 120 lbs in this photo. It was years before I fattened him up enough that I consistently (every day) weighed less than he did. In fact, I still have about 7 pounds on him right now (oh, but just you wait, boy). The boy has no shoulders!

But that’s okay. He was dashing to a young 18 year old.

I dig older men now.

Blessed are the Self-Centered

Is Angelina Driven to Be a Compulsive Mother? (h/t Danielle Bean)

Several months ago I saw a meme where you bolded the sentences that were true for you. One of them was: People who dress like me are portrayed accurately in movies. I guess they were looking for stereotypes – a goth look or a skaterat look or whatever. I dress like most other moms (T-shirts and comfortable shoes), but I don’t think we have a uniform so to speak. But even if we all dressed exactly alike, I don’t think Hollywood is capable of portraying us or any other normal group of people accurately. I don’t think they have any idea what normal people are really like. This article, which basically addresses Jolie’s role as a mom, is proof of that.

***

“Following a bout with depression, the compulsion to have kids can be a way of self-medicating,” California psychologist Lara Honos-Webb told ABCNEWS.com. “In essence — a distraction and diversion from the inner feeling of emptiness.”

Having kids…at least having more than one or two…is a compulsion. It’s disordered.

***

Studies from NYU’s Center for Advanced Social Science suggest that children from large families don’t fare as well because “parental resources are a fixed pie, and children do better when they get more attention [and money].”

Sure, they do. Rich, spoiled brats are the epitome of well-balanced. It’s all those poor kids who have had to spend their whole childhood sharing and taking turns that grow up to have inner feelings of emptiness.

***

Jolie is not the first Hollywood celebrity to display her children like jewels.

I mean, my goodness, it’s one thing to have children, and quite another to actually spend time with them. Get a nanny for goodness sake!

***

Psychologists say depression is not uncommon among Mother Earth types like Farrow and Jolie. Mother Teresa, the giver of all givers, suffered from clinical depression most of her life, according to a recent story in Time magazine.

“Just as reports revealed a severe 25-year long case of depression for Mother Teresa, any person who rescues others so much so that they neglect or abandon their own spirit, might be headed for a similar state of overwhelm and depression,” said Honos-Webb, who wrote about the topic in her book “Listening to Depression” and has written several books about depression, parenting and the psychology of pregnancy and birthing.

Self-centeredness is the key to true happiness.

***

Having babies can sometimes keep personal problems at bay.

“[It] keeps you busy — if not through adoption, than in pregnancy, you get the oxytocin [often called the ‘hormone of love’] bursts,” said Honos-Webb. “You get attention from other people and you define your own role — all those things manage depression.”

And this is bad. Drugs are a much better way to handle depression. Drugs and therapists. If having babies and raising children makes you happy, you need help.

***

Having children to find happiness is a “recipe for a mental health disaster,” according to Honos-Webb, who coins the phenomenon a “Mother Theresa complex.” The result can be a failure to attach emotionally, causing eating disorders and depression in the children.

“There is such an imbalance to give and not to take,” she said. “On the one hand, Mother Theresa was a saint, but on the other hand, it was a perfect formula for major depression.”

Sainthood ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Really, is eternal happiness worth a few decades of depression? You can’t give, give, give all the time. What’s in it for you? Altruism is so very unhealthy.

***
But, said Honos-Webb, “any psychologist can tell you appearances have nothing to do with a person’s state of mental health. Having a parent who is emotionally disturbed will definitely show up in ways that you won’t see on camera.”

Again, let’s look at Mother Teresa. She looked like she handled her life with joy, but she was depressed. The world is a better place for her labors, but so what? Her personal happiness suffered, and that is the tragedy.

***

Meanwhile, psychologists say Jolie may, indeed, have a real spirituality to her that motivates her to help others.

“That happens being a mother and it’s not pathology,” said Honos-Webb. “It’s a good thing, but it has to be balanced with everyday concerns and attending to your own health.”

“In some ways,” she said, “saving the world is easier than facing our own inner world of emptiness.”

Yes, some amount of giving and self-sacrifice is part of motherhood, but please keep in mind that your personal mental health is paramount. Be sure to retain a certain amount of time and energy to do things just for you. It’s not being selfish, it’s being healthy.

***

Christians call it dying to oneself. Realizing that it’s not all about you.

Hollywood calls it deranged.

Note: depression for mothers is real and not funny. Nowhere in that article does it state as a fact that Angelina Jolie has depression of any kind. The idiots interviewed are speculating that she might be depressed based on her “compulsive” desire to have a lot of children. Women who are depressed should seek counseling from someone other than a celebrity columnist. No mother should feel guilty for having personal time away from her children, especially if it gives fathers more time with them.

Young love

I sorted through one of many, many boxes of photos I have that are not organized in any manner whatsoever. It’s one of my goals this year to at least group the pictures into piles for the different children, and maybe pull out some for different holidays. I’d really like to have a “Christmas” photo album and an “Easter” photo album. Someday. Right now, I’d be happy with a “Christmas” pile and an “Easter” pile.

Anyway, this photo was in there. It’s from 1990 or 1991. I was 19 or 20. Bill had hair! And doncha dig those glasses?

Silly girl. I had no idea what life had in store for me.

Humbled

So, I’ve been feeling pathetically sorry for myself. I have had the comments closed for four weeks, but opened it for one post and got ONE comment (thank you, Regina, You da bomb). Nobody loves me, I moaned, but to myself, because it was just too ridiculous to verbalize.

And then I stopped by Sarah‘s blog, and she informed me that the Catholic Blog Awards are open for voting. So I went there and found I had been nominated for four categories.

Gulp.

Yes, that’s me swallowing the pride that lay at the root of my self-pity.

Thank you, to whichever kind souls think so highly of me as to nominate me for Best Individual, Best Written, Funniest, and Smartest Blog. The competition is tough (in fact, Sarah shares her two nominations with me), but I feel all warm and gooey inside just knowing that somebody (or somebodies) appreciates my blog.

So, go on now, and vote. It’s your Catholic blog reader’s right, duty and responsibility!

Are we there yet?

We got to Mass this morning with only a few minutes to spare. (I hate that.) The front was pretty full, but I happily noticed that the second row had a family on the center aisle side leaving just enough room for my crew to fill in from the left. I had my older girls with me, but Bill had gotten stuck carrying the baby and herding the toddler and was way behind. The boys were somewhere in between.

I got to the row, genuflected, made sure the girls genuflected, and moved us all the way in to the middle. Kneeling down, I turned to my left to check on the rest of us, but instead of seeing my family, I saw, to my utter confusion, a strange man and his two adolescent daughters. I looked back down the aisle and saw Bill looking at me with one of those looks (like it was my fault or something).

I leaned past Jenny and said to the man, “Sir, do you mind if my husband sits here?” He said, “Oh, sure,” but instead of leaving, he shifted backward as if to let my husband get by. Sometimes brevity is not the best way to clearly communicate. I guess I should have mentioned my four other children as well. I looked at Bill, and we both shook our heads, and I said, “Just give me the baby.” He passed Mary, in her car seat, past the three interlopers, and then directed the boys to an opening five or six rows back.

I was in a snit. I know, I know it’s bad. I told myself it was bad. I told myself to get over it. But I just could not concentrate on the readings. Instead, I was evaluating the situation: Did I take his seat? There hadn’t been any coats or anything else in the pew. Was I cutting him off from the rest of his family? I recognized most of the other families nearby, and he didn’t seem to be wishing he could be closer to them. Did he not notice my husband had other little children with him? Could he not figure out that my husband was not sitting with me because there wasn’t enough room? Should I have excused myself to go and sit with my family?

It went on. I chastised myself. I thought about the blind man in the Gospels. I looked up at the crucifix and sternly reminded myself that Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins and by way of thanks the best I can can do is sit here and mope. Petty, petty, petty.

Finally, Father got up to do his homily. At one point he talked about the classic line uttered by all children on a long car ride: Are we there yet? As we are more than halfway through Lent, it is a question we might be asking. Father said there are three components to this question. THERE, meaning we are progressing forward, YET, implying a timeline for our journey, and, of course, WE, since we, the Church, are on the trip together.

And I’m sulking like an adolescent who can’t sit next to her best friend on the bus.

It was enough. I got out of my funk; I got over it. Although sitting with my entire family would have been nice, it’s not necessary. We’re journeying together. This family next to me is trying to get to the same destination. I should be happy to share an hour of that trip with them.

But next Sunday, we will get out the door earlier, by golly.

New Month’s Resolution for March

I just got back from the grocery store which is all stocked up with Easter candy. I bought 8 normal-size bags. The only thing I didn’t see were Robin’s eggs which are a must (per direct order from the head of this household). I already have some chocolate crosses for the kids, so once I buy the Robin’s eggs, I’m done. I resolve to completely ignore the Easter candy for the rest of the month, most especially the Reese’s peanut butter cup eggs which will be marked way down by March 25th.

What is a New Month’s Resolution? I’ve been doing these for over a year now. Every month I look at where I need to focus my attention. Perhaps I’ve been procrastinating on certain chores. Perhaps I need to spend some extra time with one or more of the kids. Perhaps I’d like to try a new habit. New Month’s Resolutions are not grandiose plans to lose ten pounds or declutter the entire house or give up smoking (of course, I don’t smoke, but if I did, this would not be the venue in which I would give it up). New Month’s resolutions are short-term commitments; they are easily attained goals; they focus on what is needed right now, instead of what is best for a lifetime.

Do you have a New Month’s Resolution? Share your goals for this month in the combox which will be open for a few days.