Posts tagged ‘Trust’

December 31, 2011

It’s New Year’s—And I’m Back

It might have seemed that I fell off the face of the earth this last week, when what I intended to be a four- or five-day break turned into over a week off of blogging. The truth is, I was having so much fun with my family that I just didn’t sit down at my computer. And as much as I love blogging, a break from the norm was very, very welcome.

 

The silly bit of it is that I’ve had end-of-the-year posts saved up in my brain for weeks. That’s how my blogging mind works—I think of things to write before the appropriate occasions present themselves. Then I either write them down way too early and save them to be posted later or, as in this case, I keep thinking about them and thinking about them, then leave the state for a few days, stay away from my computer for a few more, and then finally cram it all into one post.

 

2011 has been an excellent year. I’ve come into my own as a mother; I’ve learned a great deal that’s helping me to focus on making my marriage and family life the best it can be; I’ve successfully launched a freelance business; I’ve read thirty books; I’ve learned to knit; and (for the most part) I’ve kept up with blogging.

 

Man, am I tired. Ha!

 

But then this list is not meant to toot my own horn. Rather it’s meant to express, in large part as a reminder to myself, that this year I learned to trust in a whole new way.

 

I learned that I achieve more when I don’t cling to what I think I know, what I think is mine.  I learned that life is more worthwhile when it’s not just about myself. I learned that I have more energy when I give my time completely to others—to John, to Jacob, to friends I talk with over the phone or visit with in person, and most especially to God in prayer.

 

I could not have had the year I did without my faith, my marriage, my family. People sometimes say that high school is the best four years of your life. Others contend that the years spent in undergrad are the greatest. Those times were good for me, and when they drew to a close, I had only a hazy expectation of what came next. It turns out, these years after high school, after college, when I am in the world and making it my own; when I am learning what it really means to be married, to be a mother, to be a woman of faith—it is these years that are truly my prime.  And I can’t wait to start another one.

 

Photos and “Best of 2011” lists coming soon!

 

Happy New Year!

October 19, 2011

Parenting Means Not Giving Up

The other day, despite his protests, I knew Jacob needed a nap. He probably knew it too, but just didn’t want to believe it. I understand how he feels—I don’t really like napping either, unless I’m exhausted. There are too many fun things to do in a day. And especially if you’ve just learned a new trick like walking, lying down and resting seems, at first glance, like a waste of time.

But prudent mama that I am, I know that often when the morning nap goes out the window, the rest of the day goes with it. Somehow I possessed a strange calm, one I’m only beginning to get used to, one that I think might come from confidence in my role as a mother. Though Jacob was crying and rustling around in my arms, that calm allowed me to keep a just-firm-enough hold on him, rock him, and sing to him, as per our routine.

After four rounds of all five verses (that I know, at least) of “Amazing Grace,” he was asleep. I managed to put him down and he got a full nap in. A few weeks earlier, I might not have had the persistence to sing the whole song four times. A few months earlier, I know I wouldn’t have. I would have been frustrated that what I was doing wasn’t working and would have simply put him down, hoping he’d cry for just a few minutes and manage to get to sleep by himself.

It’s probably mostly a result of my getting more sleep now than I did in the earlier months with Jacob, but I am finding that I have more trust in myself these days. I know Jacob pretty well, and generally have a good sense of what he needs and how to offer it to him, even if he doesn’t think he agrees.

In the first half of his life, I took a lot of cues from the little guy. I figured he knew what he needed better than I did. And at that point, I’d never cared for a newborn before, and he was functioning on needs, not wants. Now, as the wants are filtering in amongst the needs, I have a different job as his mother. I need to use my judgment to determine what’s best for him, still incorporating whatever he can communicate to me, when it’s appropriate.

Sometimes that means doing what he doesn’t want to do. Sometimes that means I’m not going to be his favorite person on the planet. Sometimes I’m going to have to stand my ground. Sometimes it’s going to be sheer willpower concealing doubt that I’m totally botching something.

But that’s okay. Because, as my friend Cristina would say, I am the mother. God gave me to him and him to me for a reason. If my heart is always in the right place—and with God’s grace and Mary’s intercession it will be—I have hope that these moments will always end, as they did the other day, with a happy, healthy, and holy little boy resting peacefully in my arms.

P.S. Can someone please volunteer to read this post back to me when Jacob’s about fifteen?

October 3, 2011

The Other St. Anthony

Most Catholics—and their friends who are apt to lose things—are familiar with St. Anthony of Padua. I, for one, cannot count the number of times I’ve successfully prayed, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and it needs to be found.” To non-Catholics, the idea of praying to saints is strange, but a Catholic asking for a saint’s intercession is not at all worship. Rather, it’s like when you ask a friend on earth to pray for something, except this friend (the saint) is already in Heaven, which is just one step closer to the Big Guy.

These days, I’m calling on a different St. Anthony, one I wouldn’t have found without the help of my trusty pal, Google. Allow me to introduce you to St. Anthony the Abbott.

When St. Anthony was a young man, his parents died and left him with his inheritance and the responsibility to care for his sister. He took the Gospels quite literally, and upon hearing Matthew 19:21, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me,” he walked out of the church and did just that.

As he detached himself more and more from the world, eventually living alone in the desert with very little to eat and only skins to wear (and yet he lived to be a hundred and five years old!), he became closer and closer to God. He overcame enormous temptation with serenity and strength. Every day he started as a new beginning, never allowing the trials of the day before to persuade him to give himself any kind of break. His journey was always toward God in action more than words, although some of his writings have been collected and preserved.

Initially my interest in this St. Anthony was founded in his being a patron saint of skin diseases, as Jacob’s allergic reactions manifest as rashes and hives. As I read through St. Anthony’s biography, I couldn’t really see the connection, until I came to this prayer at the end:

Saint Anthony, you spoke of the importance of persevering in our faith and our practice. Help us to wake up each day with new zeal for the Christian life and a desire to take the next challenge instead of just sitting still. Amen.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=23

Jacob’s had some more reactions lately, some of which we can account for, and some of which we can’t. I’m often getting discouraged with those we can’t decipher, feeling like I’m not doing all I can as the mom in this situation. Reading about St. Anthony reminds me that I need to trust in God, that I need to tackle each challenge that comes my way with faith and love. It’s okay to feel frustrated, but I can’t let that influence how I act. I have a job to do—being a mom to this precious little boy—and I need to do it well.

If you’re the praying kind, pleas help us to pray that St. Anthony will intercede for us and help us to sort these allergies out. There must be something I’m not seeing here, and I need the grace to find it. Maybe there’s work for both St. Anthonys here. There’s certainly no harm in trying!

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