Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wake me up when November's Advent!

Well, another month and another year (liturgical and otherwise) comes to an end. I am just about recovered from the 13 houseguests we had for Thanksgiving, all the fall decorations are off the walls and windows, and we are anxiously awaiting the weekend and cracking out the Advent decorations. Yes, Advent. We hold off on the Feast of the Nativity (a.k.a., Christmas) stuff to really enjoy and soak in the totality of the Christmas season. These are (imho) some of the most beautiful readings of the year -- so again, why not take it slow and enjoy them?

We get the wall calendars, Advent wreath, candles and creche scenes out, sans baby Jesus, and slowly add the rest, a little bit each weekend. I try to do as much shopping online to avoid the material madness at the mall (not that I don't go nuts and do my fair share of overspending on gifts, I just don't like engaging in or witnessing the frenzy and the secular dilution that dominates the season anymore) and we really do our level best to concentrate on family time, decorating, baking, watching old movies with the kids, and snuggling ourselves in for a cold Finger Lakes winter. Work, kids' play, sports, and concert schedules, and of course a very cute baby keep me on my toes, but I am going to wrap my arms around all of it and immerse myself in all the reflection, light, and joy that I can manage!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been a year of trials, but more importantly, one of miracles. After 7 years and as many miscarriages (after two routine "no brainer" pregnancies) we were blessed with our beautiful little baby this past April. I smile more. I am annoyed less easily. I see my older ones learning to nurture and love a much younger little piece of themselves. My oldest now understands my particularly fierce, protective style of maternal love, and we have grown closer as a result. They are kinder to each other, and they work together to care for "their" baby. My husband continues to amaze and humble me as I watch him being the consummate father, handling everything from rocking and snuggling to middle of the night cries to gnarly diapers -- as he put it, "It's what God put me on this earth to do." And there's nothing effete or "metro" about it -- he is a completely involved, commited, family man.

Thank you, God, for all these gifts.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Deer Season


I understand the rationale, I know there are actually people here in rural Upstate whose families still rely on this source of meat to get through the winter, it is tradition, a prelude to the holidays, it's a tribute to and links us to this area's 250+ year past....but I must admit it makes me queasy seeing carcasses strapped to everything from battered old pickups (Clampett style) to BMW's driving past my house (and those are the drunken idiots that worry me colleagues of the Bar, investment bankers, and doctors playing "Predator" in the woods).

Not being from this area to begin with, it's discomfiting. The inlaws roll their eyes...their son's wife, the pseudo intellectual city-bred princess, just doesn't get it...but be that as it may, I go into a funk at this time each year until the shooting stops and wish I still lived in the largely game-free Chicago suburbs.

When the deer get guns, it will be a fair fight.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wrinkles, gray hair, and...

In addition to a teenager and a tweenager, I have an adorable six-month old baby. Nursing is about over, so the lovely hormones have gone into overdrive. I sat in front of my magnifying mirror attacking the hedges (a.k.a., my eyebrows) and thought "uh oh, better get the Lancome out, I see a new toe in the crow's feet." Then I looked at what I thought was a trick of light reflecting off of my brown hair....egad! A little sprout of WHITE, not gray, hair sticking straight up. Y'know....the nasty, wiry kind. Tweezed that into submission too. And then...what the?!? A pimple?!? Here I am staring down the barrel of 40 and suddenly my inner teenager has erupted on my chin.

Then I heard giggling from downstairs -- my Alpha and Omega children were having a blast together while I was staring in horror at this trifecta of imperfection in my mirror. Life is beautiful, and motherhood is an amazing gift. So much for the tweezers, the eye cream, and most of all, the ego.

I went downstairs and got more than my fair share of slobbery baby kisses -- that's the sweet stuff!

The emphasis is on PRACTICING (Part I)

Just as with the law, the term practicing applies when you're a Catholic. Sure, I took the Bar Exam (while very pregnant, no less) and passed it. That gave me a license, but it did not make me a lawyer. That took a few years of going to work every day, beating my head against my desk and my computer screen, reading, learning, triumphing, and failing abysmally. Ten years out of school, and now relocated to a new state, I am starting all over again and am amazed by how much I still have to learn. I am a practicing lawyer with years of experience, but once again feel like a novice learning local law and custom. It is humbling.

My experience as a Catholic has been similar. It takes patience, trust, and sometimes it takes hard work to be a practicing Catholic. You have to accept that it is a lifelong learning process --from the simplest day laborer to the most sophisticated scholar, all of us have to be open to learning and challenging ourselves and our preconceived notions of what it means to be a practicing Catholic.

I was born a Catholic, but like many children of the post V-II era, received virtually ZERO foundation. My parents divorced when I was entering grade school, so I was not allowed to go to Catholic school (although my 3 older siblings were not asked to leave). At 6, you don't know what the adult issues are, so you blame yourself for your parents separating ("If I had just cleaned my room, if I cleared the table, if I had not drank that milk from the carton, my mom and dad would not be doing this...") so imagine the horror of "Even God is angry at me and Jesus does not want me at His school!" During the "we will not suffer another one of your little children" showdown, our parish priest (the one who would not let me into the school) called my mother a "whore and adulteress" when she began dating after the divorce, with me sitting in the hallway. (Never mind that my father was the adulterer who left the family). So my earliest memories of the Church was that it did not want me, and I was somehow at fault. (35+ year old me is over that, but it took awhile!) Oh yeah -- that priest was indicted for embezzlement shortly after we moved away, and just a few years ago convicted as a sex offender courtesy of some former altar boys.

Fast forward a few years to another parish. My father decided to remarry and sought an annulment -- he got it in an era when they were actually hard to obtain. During one of my rare teenage trips to confession, I asked the priest what it meant -- since the marriage should never have taken place, was I not meant to be here? Answer: "Well, in a sense, no. You are not the product of a legitimate marriage, and so in that way, you should never have been born." (What?!? ) Got home and told my happily single Mom, who looked at me over the top of her book, laughed and said "I've always said you were a bunch of little bastards!" (I cannot say it now with certainty, but I think the book was The Joy of Sex...) That was the last straw for me. God did not want me, and I sure as Hell wanted nothing to do with Him.

So how did I get to a place where I love my Church and my God? More on that later...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And so it begins....


This blog has no real intent, agenda, or purpose other than to chronicle the everyday amusements, atriocities and awe that comes with being a Catholic mother, wife, lawyer, teacher, boss, mentor, daughter, sister, in-law (ok, make that an out-law)...pretty much in that order.

I welcome comment and discussion that contains big words, but not bad ones, please.