Sunday, March 22, 2009

The List of What Went Right

The day wasn't a total loss, after all!

1. The choir sang at the mall, and no one threw rotten tomatoes.
2. We had french toast and scrambled eggs for dinner...always a good thing. And the kids cleared and rinsed their plates without a fight.
3. Mr. Redsocks had lots of here-there-and-everywhere stuff to do yesterday, and he made it home safely and without major incident.
4. I managed to get a couple of loads of laundry done so no one had to go to Mass naked this morning.
5. A skilled friend agreed to come and hang our old kitchen cabinets so we can use them until we can afford new ones.
6. My children, despite the fact that they drove me crazy, gave me hugs and kisses goodnight when I tucked them in.
7. I was kept in the hollow of my Father's hand, preserved from harm, and granted his provision for another day by his love and grace.
8. I have stuff to do today -- another chance to do better! And a reason to cut this post short and get busy, because my blessings are innumerable!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


This blog is subtitled "what went right when things went wrong...". Today, however, I'm having a hard time finding the "what went right." I'm feeling behind the game so far that I'm not sure I'll ever get close enough to eat last place's dust. I also suspect that no amount of chocolate, ice cream, or other mind-numbing, soul-soothing delight is gonna make this one better. In fact, a "pause" button is all I can think of that would truly be helpful -- freeze everyone and everything else around, take a moment to clear my head, make a well-prioritized to-do list, and then tackle it, uninterrupted, one task at a time. So far no luck on that one, either.

Here's the part where I grit my teeth, pray for enough sanity to make it until bedtime, and head to the kitchen to start dinner. I'm definitely wearing my red socks to bed tonight, and taking time to make a list of what did indeed go right today. I'm sure there's something. It's just going too fast to see from this close....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Springtime Reminiscence

BACKWARD, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!

I read this poem years ago, sitting in the chair at my grandmother's house. (Read the whole poem HERE.) I was young enough then that I could read and understand the poem, but not truly grasp the sentiment. Now, though, I understand. My thoughts turn to my grandmother and my mother-in-law whenever I hear the opening line. They've both been gone for nearly three years, and they'd both be celebrating birthdays this week. Now I know what it is to long for the honest, simple presence of these two women in my life.

My grandmother's hand in my childhood was my touchstone of stability and order, but it was also the hand that led me into new places, new experiences, and new arenas of thought.

My mother-in-law is the image I hold as the mother I want to be. She had a way of shepherding her children with a loving touch, tempering the passions of those around her, and inspiring the best in all of us. She was quiet and simple, instinctively patient, and somehow always held things together.

At the end of my days, I am tired. I'm aware of all that I have left undone, time I might have spent better, words I wish I'd never said, ways that I've not lived up to my own expectations or to the examples set by these women I so long to emulate. I want to hear them reassure me that morning will come with new grace, and that whatever my frustration, time and love will be enough to bring it into perspective. I want to feel a comforting hand stroking my hair, hear a gentle voice bearing wisdom born of faith and experience, smell the familiar smells of each of their embraces as I bury my face and let the rest of the world slip from my awareness.

And just so, I draw my children to me. I embrace them, kiss their foreheads, stroke their hair away from their eyes, and pray that someday they will take comfort in those simple memories, just as I will tonight when I close my eyes and let my memories rock me to sleep.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know it's March. I say "Happy New Year" for two reasons. One, I haven't posted since last November (Yikes! Where did that time go?). Two, I have come to mark this time of year as a new year in a spiritual sense.

I spent last weekend away at a Mothers' retreat at a local retreat center. It is an annual event, and it takes place the first weekend of Lent every year. So we begin with Ash Wednesday, a day to fast, pray, and focus on the penitential season at hand, and almost immediately find time away to pray, go to confession, and be instructed and encouraged by other moms and some perfectly wonderful retreat directors.

Over the last 20 years or so, I have come to more and more fully realize that to truly embrace the anastasis, resurrection, of Easter, we have to more and more fully embrace the aftothysia and thanatos, self-sacrifice and death, that precedes it in lent and Holy Week. So I begin another Lent, a "New Year," resolved to grow in faith, hope, and love, embracing the passion of my Lord with renewed commitment.

"Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to the cross where thou hast died. Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to thy precious bleeding side."