February 18, 2010 at 2:20 am (Uncategorized)

At mass this morning, (packed! people love Ash Wednesday, I tell you) there was a young mom with a little baby, maybe 8-10 months or so, next to us in the pew.

She was a good little baby with two pigtails standing straight up on her head and I noticed she was playing with one of those dolls that military kids whose parents are overseas get…I can’t remember where I heard about them, but they’re made out of a camo material and there’s a plastic sleeve where the face should be, where you can put a photo of the mom or dad.

After mass, the mom thanked me for my help (what’d I do? pick up a toy or two?) and I said no, thanks to you, for your service to our country. Where’s your husband deployed? Iraq, she said. I patted her baby and said, you’ve got a brave daddy and a brave mommy.

And there it was, my lesson in perspective for the day. Regardless of how I feel about the Iraq war, here was a family who was making a huge sacrifice for their country. It just sort of put my petty problems in their proper place…and I was grateful for it.


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Lenten resolutions, the remix

February 17, 2010 at 3:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Here we are again…another Lent. It has been almost an entire year since I started this poor little neglected blog, and I have the strangest feeling that I’ve been here before. And you know what? I’m delighted to be back.

Yet again this Lent my daughter has set the bar for herself very high, as she intends to give up “making faces at my brother and whining” and to try to “give my sister space when she needs it.” I’m not going to lie. Those are going to be tough resolutions for her to keep, much harder than giving up candy or something similar. I’m so impressed with her self-awareness though. Those are really good goals for her, and I can tell she really put a lot of thought into what she would give up this year. She brought home a worksheet from school where she laid out her plans, and I’ve put it up, where else, on the fridge as a helpful reminder for her.

Riley's resolutions

Riley's resolutions

It will be a helpful reminder for more than just Riley. It already has. As Riley told us what she would be giving up on the way home from school today, Henry got to thinking what he could do. He’s going to try to “let Riley read when she wants to…sometimes.” Also an impressive and challenging goal for a four-year-old who loves to play with his big sister. (Although I also appreciate Henry’s inherent pragmatism with that “sometimes.”) (!!!)

Anyway, once again I find myself really grateful for Riley, for her school and for the Catholic education she is receiving. I often love being the parent of a first grader. Things get stripped down in a way that is really profound to me, and nowhere more so than when we are talking about faith. Could you see the words on the worksheet? Among others: “During Lent we think about how to act. We try to change the things that keep us from being as loving as Jesus.”

I’m afraid I still haven’t figured out exactly what I’m going to do. (Needless to say, it won’t be giving up procrastinating). I could easily repeat last year’s “no real estate porn, no aimless computer surfing” to much benefit. Or there are innumerable other things I could both give up (complaining, gossiping, bickering) and do (mass more often, rosary-saying, more blog-writing, reflecting and praying). Whatever I come up with, I’m glad to have my goals for this Lent broken down into words a seven- AND a thirty-seven-year-old can understand.

Blessings to all of you this Lent.

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The Perils of Catholic School

February 2, 2010 at 3:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Last week my first-grader was in tears when I picked her up from school.

What’s wrong? What happened?

“I had an argument with my friends.”

I’m so sorry. Do you want to talk about it?

“Well, they wanted to get lollipops from Mr. M, but I said we had to go pick up our brothers from kindergarten. They wouldn’t listen and I got mad and stomped off.”

I’m sorry you had a disagreement. Thank you for being so responsible, but it would have been okay for you to get a lollipop too.

“But last week in religion class we talked about ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ and I tried to explain that they WANTED lollipops, but we NEEDED to go get our brothers.”

(Can you believe this kid? Ladies and gentlemen, be careful! Children will listen…and learn! Happy Catholic Schools week!)

PS. Did you catch the “Into the Woods” quote?

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