Because one day of tears isn’t enough

What a day.

First, there was the trip to Walter Reed in morning traffic which included more than 30 minutes of attempting to find a parking space in the below ground level parking deck (aka: the depths of hell). In utter frustration, I finally gave up (we were now very late for the appointment and even had I found a spot at that point, I knew it would take me another 20 minutes to schlep 6 kids around and locate the office we needed).

Back at home, Bill called from Arkansas to tell me that his flight overseas via Dulles was on time so we could meet for dinner during his layover. Instead of “Oh, honey, I can’t wait to see you,” he got something along the lines of, “I HATE THIS STUPID TRICARE SYSTEM THAT SENDS ME 15 MILES AWAY TO A PLACE THAT HAS NO PARKING SPOTS.” There even might have been ranting about old retired people who have nothing better to do than take up the few parking spots there are and sit all day chit chatting with other old retired people as they wait for their turn at the pharmacy (God forgive me). And I believe I concluded with, “No, I will NOT reschedule the appointment. I’m going to find a civilian doctor like we used to have.”

More thoughts on that another time. Civilians beware: government run health care is bad juju.

Then on to Day 3 of pulling teeth school for Fritz, normally scheduled for the morning, but brought to us today in the afternoon due to hours wasted driving around DC for no reason at all.

{sigh}

I am managing to keep my sense of humor for the most part. OK, I was near tears at the parking deck (not for the first time, I might add – it is, after all, the depths of hell). But I was able to grimly sit back and remind myself it’s just a doctor’s appointment for an injured knee. Nobody’s dying here, just go home.

Then, on to Dulles Airport, pick up Bill, find a restaurant, enjoy a meal, walk around the mall, sit down in one of their mini-living rooms they have instead of random benches (quite nice, actually), and watch the other large families walk by. It would have been altogether wonderful except that everybody seemed to have this ominous weight hanging over their heads like a death sentence: Daddy is leaving.

He’ll be back on Tuesday morning.

I love my husband. I’ll miss my husband. But, come on. It’s not even a week.

When we returned him to the airport, the crying was dramatic. Even the baby was wailing, but she was just unhappy about being in the car seat. It was so bad that I wondered why I even bothered to do it. Why go through all the tears and the angst and the heartbreak? Is it worth it for just a few hours of family time, a shared meal, a hug and a kiss? Is it?

Without a doubt: yes.

As we drove home, Billy started in with the what ifs? What if the plane crashes? What if bad guys take over the plane? What if dad dies?

We know not the day nor the hour. It could be on a plane today or the highway tomorrow. It could be next year or not for decades. But let me not put off a few hours of time together because I didn’t want the pain of another goodbye.

Charades, goodbyes and beer

With Bill out of town, the average IQ in the house has plummeted. Tonight at dinner I listened to the children discuss how to say “stinky diaper” in sign language. It’s amazing how loud a conversation about sign language can be. As they “spoke” in a combination of ASL and gestures of their own creation (which would likely get them arrested for obscenity in dozens of foreign countries), all I could think about was: never play charades against deaf people.

Bill won’t be gone for too long, but you would think he was going to be gone for weeks based on the tears this morning. The kids all managed to get themselves up to see Dad off at an hour much too early for me to want to be dealing with them, especially since the combination of less sleep and sorrowful goodbyes made for some cranky kids. And a cranky mom. I’ll try better tomorrow.

As I type this, I no longer hear the sounds of children talking instead of sleeping, and I intend to head to bed just as soon as I finish my beer. Yes, I’m still keeping up with that new month’s resolution, and I must say that my theory has proven to be true, for me at least. Beer is an acquired taste, and I have managed to acquire it, to a certain extent. While I won’t claim to “love” beer (yet?), I am able to sit and nurse one without making faces. There’s still nearly two weeks left in the month. Who knows what I can accomplish in that time?

I see a nap in my immediate future

We got in at 1 am from a “day trip” to a destination too far away to really be a day trip. (Any guesses? Three hints: visiting Bill’s extended family in a state with no self-serve gas in a town off exit 15W.)

Mary, though, didn’t get the memo about the shifted night sleeping schedule, and so she was bright-eyed and sitting up in bed and babbling at her usual 530 am.

Thank goodness for strong coffee and four options for Mass so we can go in shifts (I do prefer to attend Mass as a family, but my 3 year old and not-yet-5 year old do not handle lack of sleep in any fashion remotely considered civil, so I plan to leave them home today).

We hurried home from the family BBQ because Bill is going TDY and has to pack. I wish I could say that we have a nice relaxing day of family togetherness planned before he goes, but, unfortunately, I have a very long honey-do list, and I’m trying to decide just exactly how much I can have him do without making him miserable.

Top on the list is installing the screw-in-the-wall baby gate to prevent access to the oft-used basement stairs. Mary has figured out the crawling thing, and her speed and agility increase exponentially by the hour it seems. In a few days I expect her to be no longer content with exploring whichever room I am in and instead to be heading wherever curiosity leads.

Happy Assumption

“Mommy, I don’t want to go to church,” said the 3 year old.

“Well, honey, that’s where we’re going,” I replied in my isn’t-this great!-voice.

“I’m too noisy,” he promised.

I consider that premeditation.

Actually, he wasn’t noisy. He just lay down in the aisle. And took off his shoes and socks.

I was nursing the baby (gasp!), happy that I insisted on sitting in the back pew, and grateful for indulgent elderly parishioners.

No, Mom, I really think we should contain the Russian threat…

We only get the Sunday paper, but the other day my boys happened to see the front page in one of those vending machines.

“Mom, did you know the Russians invaded Georgia?”

Billy and I went on for several minutes calmly discussing the war. He suggested US involvement, but I told him I felt we should stay out of it. It wasn’t until my friend, overhearing our conversation, pointed out that the Russians were not on American soil that I realized he thought they had attacked that state located between South Carolina and Florida.

Oops.

The 85% solution

I’m going to declare the blog now “good enough.” There’s a limit to how much time and energy I’m willing to put into a hobby.

I am rather proud of my header, so I would love it if you would do a little oohing and ahhing over that if you haven’t already. Or maybe that would just feed my ego and contribute to my moral decay, so you should remain silent. I’m not sure. Oh, I know: leave a love note and then say a prayer for my soul?

And for any of you techno-savvy types, here’s my list of what I’d like to do, and if you know how, just let me know:

  • I’d like it if the blue floral pattern going down the sides were wavy or twisted or some other effect to make it look more like scrunched fabric than a cut and paste flat picture.
  • I’d like the navigation bar and the main post body and the sidebar to be all on the same “sheet” so to speak, but with outlines around the different elements to distinguish them.
  • I’d like the navigation bar to be centered and to extend from the left side of the post entries to the right side of the sidebar.
  • I’d like to look like Claudia Schiffer and have a nice photo of me on the sidebar.
  • I’d like to have a little link on the sidebar which says “Buy My Book Here.” I’d happily write a book, too, if anyone has any suggests for a topic. I think it’s all been done already.

Feel free to offer any advice on how to do any of those things.

Also I’d like to hat tip Totus Tuus Family for pointing out The Cutest Blog on the Block which tutored me in all these endeavors.

Ahem

Well, now.

If you read me through some feed reader, that’s fine. As you were.

If you click directly to my sight, it might look a bit…um, weird. Yeah. I’m not very good at this creative stuff. So, it’s a work in progress, and I really have to go tend to other things (which really means I’m extremely frustrated and hate leaving my blog looking like this, but I simply must walk away right now).

I’ll fix it. Eventually.

Or maybe I’ll just delete it and start over.

In the meantime, if you happen to really love to do these things, feel free to help a gal out. Email on sidebar.

Heaven’s Song

I finished reading Christopher West’s Heaven’s Song days and days and days ago, and I’ve been struggling with what to say about it (for days and days and days). It’s not that I have nothing to say about it, rather that I have too much. Where to begin? How can I be brief?

The book is easy to read and easy to understand. The concepts are not revolutionary, but, for me at least, finally connect the dots of various vague thoughts that I have pondered from time to time. It is as though I had been staring at the pieces of a puzzle, and West finally showed me how they all fit together.

Although I’m familiar with Theology of the Body, I confess that I have not read any significant amount of it, and certainly knew nothing of other talks edited and compressed by Pope John Paul II due to their “adult” nature. Having recently, and uncomfortably, sat through a homily on Humanae Vitae with my two young sons, I can understand why the Pope would choose to remove much of his discourse on the Song of Songs from lectures delivered to a family audience.

It is good, though, for the Pope’s deeper thoughts regarding sexuality and marriage to be made available for mature audiences. On page 54, West quotes Theology of the Body with “…the dignity and balance of human life depend at every moment of history and at every point on the globe on who woman will be for man and who man will be for woman.” Is that true? If it is, and my heart feels it is, who is woman for man (and man for woman) today? And most importantly, to me, who am I to my husband and he to me?

And does the condition of my marriage matter to you?

West (and the Pope) argue that it does. “Contrary to the modern world’s treatment of it, sex is not a light matter. It is not entertainment. Sex is something existential – that is, it concerns the very reality and foundation of human existence, of human life” (p 141). For many, that is a very difficult idea to swallow. Who wants such weighty thoughts accompanying them to bed?

And yet, to disregard the sacredness of sex, which is all too easy to do, leads to a general disregard for marriage and ultimately for the opposite sex. And then woman is enemy to man, and man is enemy to woman. “When the cradle of life – the family – breeds death and destruction, it inevitably produces an entire ‘culture of death'” (p 159).

Heaven’s Song is a book of hope that encourages married couples to seek a purer love. By shunning lust and striving for a total self-giving love, couples can “…[transform] something that is worshipped into something that is worship (p 130). It is small wonder that West concludes his book with the encouragement to read it again. There is much to mull and to discuss, especially with a spouse.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Heaven’s Song.