Seven Quick Takes – Parental Ineptitude, Siri Love, and Wow

— 1 —

 I frequently have an overinflated sense of my own parenting skills and thus, in my delusional state, I may attempt to offer you advice on how to get your children to sleep through the night.  In a rare moment of sanity, I’m telling you: Never, ever, ever take advice from me regarding your children and sleeping, as I have failed miserably in this arena with my own children.  Last night, three – yes, I said three – of my children slept on the floor. I’d like to tell you that this can be attributed to the storms that were passing through the area, but I’d be lying. Fact of the matter is, on most nights I’m lucky to have two of my kids kids make it through the night sleeping in their own beds.  The Dude starts most nights on the hallway floor, then creeps silently into our room once we’re in bed.  He’s been doing this for years (like, seven) and his siblings are following his example.  Bonita’s the only one that I can be reasonably sure will stay in her own bed all night.  It’s really annoying, but has glimmers of cuteness here and there, like this:

Dude and Boo sleeping

I’m quite certain that this stems from some neurosis we’ve caused in our eldest child, but, looking back, I have made so many mistakes that I can’t pinpoint which one it might actually be.

— 2 —

While we’re discussing my ineptitudes as a parent, I’ll share with you that I was seriously beginning to question my qualifications as a parent when, for days and days on end, we had at least two, sometimes three, and – yes – occasionally four children throwing fits.  Boo had a couple of weeks where she was throwing three or four per day.  I promise you she never gets what she wants, but somehow they still persist.  Add to that the fact that the Dude has a hard time coping with emotions and winds up going on rampages on a relatively regular basis, and poor Bonita and Bear decided, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”  Life at our house is truly joy.

— 3 —

When I mentioned “parental ineptitude” in the title, you probably thought I was going to tell a story about Walmart, didn’t you?

— 4 —

Ok, seriously.  We’re not all bad.  For instance, when Boo got a hold of my phone during Mass, and opened a noisy app, that app happened to be Rosary Audio.  If you’re going to disrupt Mass, do it with the Rosary, right?

And several of the fits that Bear has thrown in the past few weeks were because I was praying a decade with one of his siblings, and he wanted me to pray with him first.

I must be doing something right, right?

Right?

— 5 —

On a happier note, Boo broke my old phone, which was an iPhone 4. I was able to replace it with a 4S for a dollar, and guess what the 4S has that the 4 does not?  Siri.

Yes, Siri.  I’m in love with her.  But don’t worry, not in the same sex marriage kind of way.  I’m already married, after all.  No, I love her in the, “finally, here’s someone who gets me” kind of way.  She listens to me.  She responds when I have a question or ask her to do something.  She’s polite and respectful, and always attentive to my needs.

And get this.  She even writes my blog posts for me.  Last night, I dictated much of this post directly into my WordPress app, and voila!  I had the beginnings of a post!  OK, so she called Bonita “Anita” and Boo “Bill.”  She translated “my ineptitudes” as “Mayan aptitudes” and “innuendos” as “and you windows”.  But, hey.  Perhaps my ineptitudes were great aptitudes for the Mayans.  I’ll have to look into that.  And those innuendos that I didn’t end up writing about?  Well, they sure did have me thinking about throwing myself – or someone else – out of windows.  I think she’s on to something.

— 6 —

Getting back to happier notes, a favorite Rosary thought for the week:  This one isn’t deeply spiritual, but, you know how Pontius Pilate’s wife told him to have nothing to do with Jesus?  How different do you think the world would be if husbands would only listen to their wives?

— 7 —

And another happier note:  Have you ever sat down and prayed a fifteen decade rosary, straight through?  I did it last night for the first time, with the added bonus of being before the Blessed Sacrament.  Wow.

Wow.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Surrender for My Valentine

Surrender and Valentine’s Day?,  some might ask, incredulously.  Seriously?

Well, surrender is a funny thing.

Were I to surrender myself to the wrong thing, say sexuality, or drugs or alcohol, or the false gods of materialism and wealth, it would consume me totally. Ultimately, it would change the person I am, change my goals, change my loves, change my relationships.  It would become difficult for me to maintain relationships on more than a superficial level.

In some ways, I suppose, surrender to God is similar.  Surrender to the Lord changes me.  It changes the person I am, changes my goals, my loves, and my relationships.  Yet, our surrender to the Lord will never consume us, not in the “All used up and good for nothing else way.”  It’s an amazing thing.  Rather than being consumed – used up –  we are given more.

In fact, it is only through our total giving of ourselves to the Lord that we can totally selflessly give to others.

I’ve witnessed this first hand in these past few weeks, as my husband has grieved the tragic loss of his best friend.  I knew he needed time to grieve.  I knew that, in his grief, he needed loving arms to come home to, and caring ears to listen.  He needed the security of knowing that I was there, no matter what.

For the first few days, I was completely immersed in prayer, knowing that I could not possibly give him everything he needed without much needed support.  And, for those first few days, I must say, I was pretty spot-on.

But then I began to slip a bit.  Quite frankly, that whole self-donation thing isn’t easy, especially when the person that you’re giving, and giving, and giving to is in no shape to give anything back.  And my husband wasn’t.  In that first week, all he could do was take, and take some more, and then a bit more.  And that got hard.

We had received the news Saturday afternoon, and already, by the time I was in adoration early Tuesday, I was begging Jesus to help me overcome the anger and resentment that I was beginning to feel.  I was disappointed in myself, but I knew that I never could have gotten through the previous three days without clinging to Christ, and that I would never get through the days and weeks to come without continuing to do so, humbly aware of my own inadequacies.

And that’s when it hit me: Surrender.  I had already taken it for my “One Word 2014” two weeks prior.  At the time, I didn’t know how soon it would come into play in my life, or that my surrender would be so important to others around me.

That morning in adoration, I realized that, only by my total surrender to Christ, could I give my husband the support he needed.  Only by giving myself utterly and totally – every shred, every desire, every need- over to Christ, could I allow Him to use me as His servant in support of His precious son, Ray.  Only then could I be the hands and feet of Christ – His loving arms, His caring words, His supportive presence.

Our God is pretty awesome, isn’t He?  He’s a jealous God (Ex 34:14; Deut 6:15; et al), yet His jealousy is not like that of humans.  He doesn’t attempt to keep us for Himself, like a jealous husband or boyfriend.  Instead,  when we give ourselves to Him, He essentially multiplies us, making us more for others, and giving us back to those around us in a fullness that we can never achieve on our own.

Love and marriage are all about self-donation.  And self-donation is hard.  But we can do it, when we are surrendered to Christ.

Last Saint Valentine’s Day, I was Meek but not Milquetoast.   This Saint Valentine’s Day, I’m Surrendering to the Lord.  Perhaps not the box of chocolates or lacy lingerie that my Valentine had in mind, but I think it will serve us well in the end.

And maybe I’ll throw in some chocolate and lace just to keep him happy tomorrow as well. 🙂

Belgium Chocolates