We are Catholic moms who follow the basic tenets of Attachment Parenting. We are different personalities; we're not clones, so you should see some varying opinions on different subjects. Join us as we continue on this exciting ride known as Catholic Mothering!

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Urban Swing

My older boy loves the poem "The Swing" by Robert Louis Stevenson. We spent many happy hours in playgrounds all over NYC. He still enjoys swinging; the therapists would say it provides necessary vestibular stimulation. He thinks it is just fun.

Now the little one enjoys the playground, too. I recite the poem to him, as I did to his brother, and he shrieks with delight as he goes higher and higher. I have often felt that though the poem paints a lovely word picture, it isn't really reflective of what the boys see as they swing. "Rivers and trees and cattle and all?" I don't think so. OK there are trees.

So today at the park I rewrote the poem for two city kids who love to swing.

How do you like to go up in the swing?
Up in the air so blue?
Oh I do think it's the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do.

Up in the air and over the fence,
Where I can see so wide,
Children and trees and squirrels and all,
Monkey bars and the slide.

Till I look down on the ballfields green
Down on the dirt so brown,
Up in the air I go flying again!
Up in the air and down!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Can I Forgive Them?

This is a hard post to write. Today is the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Many, many people from my town were killed; some of them were acquaintances or friends of friends. Thankfully, we lost no one in our immediate family. My husband worked in 2 WTC, saw the first plane hit as he was walking up Broadway, and turned around and headed for home. He had survived the first attack in '93, so was taking no chances. As he rode home on the ferry, he saw the second tower collapse. He has never gotten over it. I too have a lot of survivor's guilt. Why was my husband spared, when so many other women lost theirs?

Anyway, today as I drove to Mass, I listened to the choir from Trinity Church sing "Ave Verum Corpus" from Mozart's Requiem. I listened to this for days after the towers fell. Trinity Church is right next door to the WTC site. Miraculously, it sustained no major damage and served as a respite place for the recovery workers. It is an Episcopal church. I hated to leave my car. The beautiful music sustained me, yet gave me a place to grieve. It was far better than any music I ever hear in our parish church. Still, I finally went in, to hear the word of God and receive His Body in Holy Communion. It troubled me that although our church has the true Body of Christ I am so easily seduced away by the more beautiful music of the Episcopal church. Yet years of training and struggle and faith got me past this. As I walked in I met a friend with her two daughters. My friend's husband died in a car accident two years ago. How hard it must be to mourn a private grief, on a day of public mourning.

But it was the readings which really knocked me out. The Lectionary, by some mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, called for readings on forgiveness today, of all days. The first words of the first reading, from Sirach, caused me to weep. "Wrath and anger are hateful things. Yet the sinner hugs them tight".

I feel nothing but wrath and anger towards the people who caused so much pain and destruction to the people of my city and my country. Yet again, the reading went on, "Forgive your neighbor's injury. Then, when you ask, your own sins will be forgiven" [from memory, sorry]. This is such a hard Scripture. Who can do this? As our pastor read the Gospel of Matthew, I echoed St.Peter's words in my heart:"Lord, how many times am I to forgive? Seven times?" And the answer came to me, as it did to him: "No, seventy times seven times".

By this point I was in floods. Other people were tearing up as well, or biting their lips, or looking down sadly. Today's readings touched our hearts. Our pastor spoke gently about forgiveness, first recounting an anecdote about his own family members' need to forgive a certain incident. Then he acknowledged how hard that is for our own human weakness. There is certainly no way we can forgive such atrocities without the grace of God.

I am not there yet. I need to pray for the grace to forgive. I feel God has forgiven me in confession, many times, for the sins I have committed. Yet I am not able to forgive the injury done by those terrorists. I pray the Lord's Prayer. I try to open myself to God's grace. I am having trouble with this. I am sharing these thoughts because they have become overwhelming to me. Please, of your charity, pray for me and for all who are "still" grieving. Pray that somehow we feel God's grace in our soul's to do this hard thing.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Happy New Year!

Is it really "the most wonderful time of the year" as the Staples ad would have it? Everyone may have a different answer, but I love this time of year. I always think that the new year should begin in September, and not just because I am a school-supply junkie.

The change in the weather (mercifully, the humidity has plummetted while the temps are still in the pleasant low-80s) makes me hopeful and encourages me to stir my lazy stumps and get going on new, or even old projects.

House cleaning, decluttering and organizing, cooking for the freezer, baking again, now that the entire house does not feel like an oven---all of these activities seem possible again, even downright attractive. I have rejoined Flylady and am already seeing some real improvement in the comfort and order of our home.

I have signed up for a fitness class at the Y, and will be doing mom and tot swim with my young'un. We are savoring the pleasures of walking once again, looking forward to even cooler days ("sweater weather") and the beautiful fall colors on the trees. Best of all my spiritual life has picked up. I can actually focus on serious reading again, and can pray my Scriptural Rosary while nursing the little one down at night.

We look forward to family gatherings (a christening last week, an aunt's 50th jubilee as a Sister of Charity next week) and casual entertaining with friends. School has begun--a new adventure for our sixth-grader. Preliminary plans for Christmas are even underway. Life in general seems hopeful and full of promise.

Like a darker thread running through the warm fabric of these days, the memory of September 11, 2001 is a constant reminder of what we have lost, yet an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we have, especially our baby, born in 2003. So in a way, this is the "most wonderful time of the year" after all--like New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one.

I wish you all the pleasures of this season.

Friday, September 02, 2005

They really are from Mars!

We are visiting my husband's family in Mississipi (and we are all fine, thank God, we are way north of the devastation)and have been connnecting with some old friends.

Today we had lunch with my husband's oldest friend. I think of him as the Lynn-equivalent.Lynn is MY oldest friend; we lived two doors away from each other, we went all the way through high school together, our families and sibs are friends. Lynn lives 30 minutes away from me, but I see her about once a year. Right away we are able to pick up the threads and chat away, our shared history makin up for the lack of day-to-day intimacy we no longer have.

Anyway, Lynn-equivalent (LE) and my husband chatted away about an interesting redistricting case here in Mississippi. LE's firm was involved in representing one side or the other. I couldn't really participate because I bolted my pappardelle bolognese so I could take the 2.5 year old outside to run around.

Later I asked my husband, "What else did [LE] have to say?"
"We talked about redistricting and an economic development case he is working on".

"That's all?" I asked, disappointed.

LE has a colorful and complicated personal life and I was hoping to hear some inside info on how his second, surprising (and distressing, to us) marriage was going.


I was disgusted. Would Lynn and I sit around and talk about New Jersey politics for an hour, if we hadn't seen each other for six months? Phooey.