Posts tagged ‘Books’

October 18, 2011

Dear Mr. Darcy, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Maybe I’m taking a step in the opposite direction from the trajectory of current technology, but my new favorite thing is the audio book. Jacob won’t yet sit still for me to read a story to him—not even a board book—and when I try to read while he’s playing, he literally takes the story into his own hands.

Enter: the audio book.

A while back I used an audio book to try to teach Jacob some naptime/bedtime cues. A nap-solutions book I’d read suggested audio books can do the same work as lullabies, but could provide something more interesting for parents. Unfortunately, Jacob couldn’t sleep with the audio book on; he kept looking around the room, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from.

Perhaps he’s a little more oblivious now, or maybe he’s just okay with a voice coming from a box. He still talks and plays and makes noise, but I think he must be listening at least a little because he is generally calmer when the nice lady’s voice tells him stories.

Either way, his current disposition means I am at liberty to indulge my newfound obsession with Jane Austen. Oh. My. Goodness.  Why did it take me twenty-something years to discover the wit, the romance, and the charmingly paradoxical world of Regency England? Although I enjoyed Emma in college, I must have read it too quickly. Actually I know I did. I read it in, like, two days. I remember finishing it in the hallway of my suite at three a.m. and then writing a reflection paper. So not the way to really appreciate it!

This time I started with Pride and Prejudice, and I am totally hooked. Apart from making a good blog post title, Mr. Darcy is a great love interest, but I found I loved the ridiculously shallow and insipid characters more. Mr. Collins! Mrs. Bennett! Lydia! Wickham! So. Good.

I am absolutely in love with the writing, the language, the pacing—everything.

The only problem is that when you get as engrossed as I’ve been, it’s tough to transition back to life in the twenty-first century. If Jacob ends up with a British accent, using words like “felicity,” and wondering how many pounds per annum he’ll have in inheritance, at least we’ll all know why.

October 4, 2011

Dear Jacob XII

Dear Jacob,

 

Although I recognize that the situation is entirely out of my control, I feel I owe you an apology.

 

At this point in your life, at least, you have short legs and wide feet. And it’s all my fault.

 

Your daddy has pretty regular feet, and comes from a long-legged people. I, on the other hand, come from a stock of people your grandma once referred to as “short English people with wide feet who like to eat.” In other words, hobbits.

 

While I’m delighted with how much you like to eat, the feet thing is kind of a bummer.  Let me tell you now, it’s just easier to shop for shoes online. You may not care about this in the future, but trust me that I’m saving you a headache or two, okay? Also, I hope you like the cuffed look, because all of your pants are too long for you, and I don’t really see that situation changing any time soon. Even my “short” pants are too long for me sometimes. Sigh.

 

To me, one of the greatest mysteries about you is whether you’ll be a runner, like your dad, a dedicated walker, like me, or somewhere in between. I know you are your own person, and in some (most) ways you may not take after either of us. But if physicality has any role to play in this situation, it looks like you’re taking the longer route wherever you’re going. Again, I’m sorry.

 

This is not to say that any of this should stop you from going after your dreams. You might need a ladder to reach that high, but I’m happy to hold it steady for you. And in the meantime, your legs, short as they are, work just fine. You can walk, you can sit and stand, and man, oh man, can you dance.

 

Short, tall, wide, or narrow, I will always love you, little boy. You will forever be my favorite little half-hobbit. Is there a word for that? I just tried to look it up, but the forum was kind of beyond me. I guess we’ll have to study our heritage together, when the time comes.

 

Until then, I give you all my love,
Mom

September 26, 2011

Read It: The Five Love Languages

A lot of my writing here focuses on my life as a mother to precious little Jacob. And rightfully so. Caring for him is a big part of my life right now. But this blog is called young MARRIED mom for a reason. Being married is a pretty integral part of my life too.

I wrote a few months back about the Family Enrichment course on Matrimonial Love John and I participated in earlier this year. When we were introduced to it, I was confused and perhaps skeptical. There are a couple of things I had previously felt did not need to be taught—spirituality, how to love your spouse, and parenting.  Things I had never done before, but I figured would just come naturally.

To some extent, they did, but I realize now that these areas of my life, probably the most important ones, are those in which I am constantly relying on other people’s guidance and past experiences. I read books and blogs; I talk to family and friends; I listen to homilies at Mass and get guidance through Confession. I am not going at these things as “alone” as I thought I was. And really, things like marriage and parenting deserve more attention than the more tangible fields of expertise I can learn about in a classroom.

Now I am much more open to taking a more professional, structured approach to these seemingly fluid areas of my life. I know that love is not just a feeling, it’s a choice, and one you make each day with your heart, your mind, and your body. My mind is doing more of the work now, and I can already see how it is going to make a difference.

During our course, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman often came up. I’d heard mention of this book before, but the title, at least, seemed a little self-helpy, and the topic, as I’ve said, was one of those that I didn’t think I needed any structured help with.

At the end of our course, John and I decided to read the book together. It’s not very long, and we each read a little bit here and there, when we can. I’m not sure he’s quite finished it yet, but I have, and I pretty much can’t wait to recommend it to everyone I know, married or not.

The premise of the book is that a person is likely to give love in the same way s/he prefers to receive it. If that method, or “love language” is not the way the recipient of love can understand it, the recipient is not going to feel loved. For example, my primary love language—surprise, surprise—is Words of Affirmation. When John tells me that my hair looks nice or that dinner was good, I know that he loves and appreciates me. If I do the same for John, he’ll think it’s nice, but won’t feel my love as strongly.

Chapman’s argument is that often, the problem in a struggling marriage is that the spouses are giving love the way they want to receive it, rather than in the way their spouses can receive it. He offers a couple of different ways to determine what your spouse’s love language is, and to learn how to speak it if it’s not your “native” language, so to speak.

While we haven’t quite figured out John’s language yet, I still think this book is genius. And it doesn’t just apply to married couples. There are editions of the book for singles, men, children, teenagers, business people, and even one to apply the love language theory to one’s relationship with God. Having read only the original book, I think it’s mostly clear how the languages can be used to improve just about any relationship.

The main idea of the book is that love requires sacrifice, the giving of oneself in thoughts and works. The feeling of love can come and go, but it can also be sustained and bolstered by actions. Chapman doesn’t explicitly say he is a Christian until very late in the book, and I am sure that was intentional.  These are Christian ideals, sure, but they are also simply the way love works.

If you are married, about to get married, in a relationship, or single, read this book. As you read, think about the relationship you struggle with most. Then, if you are brave enough, make a change. Show someone important to you that you love them.

Because as the song says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” Let’s change that.

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