Archive of ‘Catholic’ category

8 High Hopes I Have for My Girl

Hand­some #3 stood on the deck in noth­ing but his Under­oos, his chub­by lit­tle bel­ly pro­trud­ing and a big smile on his face.

Look at him. He is so sweet and hap­py, let­ting it all hang out, not a care in the world. Can you imag­ine hav­ing that kind of self con­fi­dence?” I asked The Grillin’ Fool.

What do you mean? I do!” He said with a smirk.

He was only half jok­ing. If he didn’t think any­one would call the cops, he’d be on the deck in his under­wear too. But instead, he parades around the house in his box­er briefs and a t-shirt with his bird legs danc­ing and doesn’t think twice. I, on the oth­er hand, feel like I should have on Spanx under my night­gown just in case the door bell rings in the mid­dle of the night.

My hus­band has no shame when it comes to his body. He’s a forty-some­thing with four kids just try­ing to make it through the day like every oth­er man sup­port­ing a fam­i­ly. He pur­chas­es zero self-care items and will use any bot­tle in the show­er. He has nev­er in his life looked at a nutri­tion label for sug­ar, fat or calo­rie infor­ma­tion. As long as it doesn’t smell too bad he will wear it. He is so hap­py in his own skin, that noth­ing phas­es him.

I have birthed three sons who are exact­ly like him. Hand­some #1 is thin and lanky. He loves to brush his hair over to the side and lath­er him­self up in body wash. He doesn’t care one bit about what his clothes look like and will let me pick what­ev­er I want from his clos­et. Hand­some #2 is a bit more of a fash­ion­ista. He has a very par­tic­u­lar opin­ion about what to put on,and will fight for a win. Even if that means a sweater vest and a pair of ath­let­ic shorts. He’ll wear that com­bi­na­tion proud­ly. Hand­some #3 has more con­fi­dence in his lit­tle fin­ger than the rest of them com­bined. They are pre­cious, per­fect lit­tle boys and I want to be just like them.

For years, I wor­ried about what would hap­pen if God ever gave me a daugh­ter. How could I pos­si­bly set a good exam­ple of body image and con­fi­dence if that is the one thing that I tru­ly strug­gle with on a dai­ly basis? For my first sev­en years as a mom, I par­ent­ed my three boys know­ing that their father would have a pro­found impact on the type of men they will become, but not wor­ry­ing that my self image would affect them.

Then a sur­prise preg­nan­cy brought the biggest sur­prise of my life, a daugh­ter. I was thrilled beyond thrilled, but equal­ly ter­ri­fied that I would screw her up. I am the one who she will look to for strength and guid­ance. She will come to me for advice and help. I will be her exam­ple of self con­fi­dence and wom­an­hood. I want to do it right.

DMT

Thank­ful­ly, she is only a few months old and I have some time to get my act togeth­er. Gone are the days of look­ing in the mir­ror and list­ing all of things that I hate about my body and face. The inse­cu­ri­ties that have plagued me for years have to die before they begin to rear their ugly face in my daughter’s eyes. When I look at her, I feel inspired to be bet­ter. She is inno­cent and pure and beau­ti­ful. She is so beau­ti­ful. I nev­er want her to doubt that. I do a lot wrong, don’t we all? But, there are a few things that I have picked up along the way that I hope that she might think are worth­while nuggets of advice.

1. Laugh- Laugh Loud­ly and rau­cous­ly even if you are the only one who gets the joke. Most impor­tant­ly, laugh at your­self and know that every­one makes mis­takes. Make oth­ers laugh and know that there is no bet­ter med­i­cine. I would also be extreme­ly proud if you were the third gen­er­a­tion class clown at a cer­tain all girls Catholic high school, but I will not put unfair pres­sure on you to be any­thing that you are not.

2. Fall Hope­less­ly in Love with a Boy Band- There is noth­ing bet­ter than cov­er­ing your bed­room walls with pic­tures of the men that you are cer­tain you will mar­ry one day. I will hap­pi­ly down­load all of their music, buy crazy expen­sive tick­ets and sob with you when you see them in per­son for the first time. Trust me, you will want to keep your t-shirts, ear­rings and every over­priced acces­so­ry you can even when you think you are over that part of your life. I will glad­ly help you hoard them, and hide them from your father, so that when your favorite band goes on tour in 20 years, you can squeeze your post­par­tum body into that shirt and feel like a kid again.

3. Be a Friend- Not just to the cool kids or the pop­u­lar peo­ple, be a friend to every­one who needs it. The shy lit­tle girl in the back of the room wants to play in the game too, invite her. Always be the nice girl, not the mean girl. Years from now peo­ple will remem­ber the slight­est bit of kind­ness that you have shown them. I’m sure at some point, you will feel the wrath of a mean girl, and it will hurt, but please do your best to be kind, to watch your words and to walk away with a smile on your face, it will make you stronger.

4 . Lis­ten- This is a tough one, because you come from a long line of peo­ple who love to talk. But, trust me as much as you may want to speak, wait your turn and let oth­ers talk. It isn’t always about what you have to say, some­times it is about what you don’t say and the time that you take to hear some­one else that makes all the dif­fer­ence.

5. Pray-Every sin­gle day of your life take a moment to talk to God. Thank Him for what you have, who you are and where you are going. Ask for for­give­ness and guid­ance. Your faith will guide you in life’s most dif­fi­cult times. When all else fails, close your eyes and whis­per, Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in thee. This has got­ten sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions of wom­en in our fam­i­ly through tougher times than I could ever imag­ine.

6. Wear Red Lip­stick- Wear bright lips, shab­by over­alls, plaid high heel shoes, or pink gloves. Your friends may tell you that it is too bright, or too bold, or too much, but if it makes you feel good, do it! If it makes you feel pret­ty, then wear it, use it and flaunt it often, no mat­ter what it is. You will devel­op a sig­na­ture style that screams your name, make sure to scream it back.

7. If You Can’t Do it in Front of Me, Don’t Do It- This isn’t a threat, and it isn’t meant to be scary, it is just some­thing for you to always think about. I learned this from my own moth­er many, many years ago. And to this day, it still rings true. The old­er you get, the more time you will spend on your own and you will be faced with chal­lenges and choic­es to do things that you may not feel right about. If you would be com­fort­able doing it in front of me, you are gold­en. If not, it’s prob­a­bly not the best idea.

8. Be Hap­py With the Skin You Are In- You are not fat, not today, not tomor­row, not ever! You are gor­geous and per­fect and exact­ly as you were meant to be. Don’t ever let any­one dim your sparkle, espe­cial­ly not some­one who wants you to fit in to some kind of mold. They aren’t worth your time if they think a sin­gle freck­le on your nose needs to change.

As I read over my words, it was very clear to me that this advice is just as impor­tant to my boys as my girl. All I want is to raise chil­dren who are kind, lov­ing and respect­ful mem­bers of soci­ety. Each day I try to be a good mom and I real­ize that par­ent­ing will nev­er end, it will nev­er get eas­ier, it will always change. And it is the great­est chal­lenge I have ever accept­ed as it forces me to set an exam­ple and thought­ful­ly work to be a bet­ter per­son. To my chil­dren, I am so grate­ful and I love you.

Because I’m Bad, I’m Bad.….….…really, really bad.…..

I should have seen it com­ing. I should have been pre­pared. All of the signs were there. How could I have been so stu­pid? There were both phys­i­cal and behav­ioral changes, and yet I did noth­ing to pro­tect myself or to be proac­tive.
He began to grow a majes­tic, yet angry mane
He danced on tables with­out fear
As his broth­er looked on in hor­ror
This hap­pens to novice par­ents, not experts like me. But this morn­ing, as I gazed into those beau­ti­ful blue eyes, it was as if I could see the flames flick­er­ing. I real­ly only have myself to blame.  I have got­ten cocky. One good week at Mass, and all of a sud­den my son is ready for can­on­iza­tion? Not quite, after this morning’s per­for­mance, I think that he may be closer to excom­mu­ni­ca­tion.
It start­ed out inno­cent enough, real­ly it did. We arrived at 10:30 Mass, my strap­ping lads and I, and made our way to the cry room. Bren­nan was get­ting a bit rest­less by the end of the first prayer, but with Thomas the train in one pock­et and a bag of Kix in the oth­er, I was gold­en. He began with the cho­rus of “Up, mom­ma, down, mom­ma, up mom­ma, down, mom­ma.” So, I plugged his mouth with a sip­py cup of apple juice and went on about my busi­ness. Unbe­known­st to me, Hand­some #2 was wind­ing up on the pitcher’s mound ready to beam an unsus­pect­ing parish­ioner in the head. I watched in hor­ror as the cup went fly­ing through the air, miss­ing a gen­tle­man, by mere cen­time­ters.  Humil­i­at­ed, I sheep­ish­ly made my way to the front of the room, apol­o­gized and sat back down.
(Please note, this was tak­en after Mass, and is mere­ly a rein­acte­ment, well sort of, he was real­ly try­ing to get out)
As I made my way back to the pew, he stood on the bench, looked at me and cack­led. He ran back and forth, taunt­ing me with his eyes, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, you can’t get me.” It was like try­ing to catch a fish with my bare hands, I final­ly grabbed hold of him and he slipped right through my arms and made his way to the cry room door. “Help, help. Peasseeee help!” He screamed as if he was locked in a cage filled with live ani­mals. I grabbed him again and attempt­ed to sit him on my lap. But instead he made him­self as stiff as a board and howled in agony.
At this point, poor Hand­some #1 tried every­thing to get him to calm down. I think he was afraid that the child was either going to burst into flames right there, or that I was going to make good on my threat to leave some­one behind. After hand­ing over trains, cere­al, cups and his own prized pos­ses­sions Hand­some #1took a leap of faith and lead his broth­er by the hand to the stained glass. At this point, my heart melt­ed. He stood and patient­ly told his baby broth­er about the col­ors as Hand­some #2 point­ed and repeat­ed. It was beau­ti­ful to see the love that my boys had for one anoth­er and I beamed. That was until Hand­some #2 caught my stare and imme­di­ate­ly began to scream. “House, Mom­ma! House now! Now! Now!”
Imag­ine this with­out Mau­r­mi and wax fig­ures and insert stained glass and peo­ple try­ing to pray in silence

I soon real­ized that the rest of the cry room’s inhab­i­tants had moved far to the left of the room, I think that they were afraid that the pea soup he was cer­tain to spew was going to stain their Sun­day best. For the next 15 min­utes we fought, posi­tion after posi­tion for him to find com­fort. We nev­er found that mag­ic spot, but it was time for Holy Com­mu­nion and a nice walk. You would have thought that he was walk­ing on to a stage, his demeanor changed imme­di­ate­ly as we walked out of the door. As we made our way down the aisle, he sweet­ly waved bye-bye and said Amen! Mak­ing all of the old ladies smile.

As Mass came to an end, we walked out to the park­ing lot and I was stopped not once, not twice, but THREE times to tell me how dar­ling and well behaved my chil­dren were. I smiled sweet­ly, said thank you, and inhaled deeply to be sure that I was not know­ing­ly let­ting any­one who had clear­ly hit the Bloody Mary bar before church dri­ve home and kill any­one.
I buck­led Bren­nan in first and made my way to the oth­er side of the car to get Finnegan set­tled. He is a big boy and buck­les him­self, so it is a fast effort. As I turned on the car, buck­led my seat­belt and checked the review mir­ror, this is what I saw……….Perfect…….

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

With Pat Benatar as my inspi­ra­tion, I packed my chil­dren up on Sun­day morn­ing and head­ed to Assump­tion in an effort to have all of our souls cleansed of the week’s sins. Scott and I have already begun the sac­ri­fice of Catholic edu­ca­tion with our dear, sweet, angelic, nev­er mis­be­hav­ing or sassy-mouthed or tast­ed soap,Handsome #1, so head­ing to church is part of the pack­age.  He comes home with cute lit­tle prayers and songs and insists on pray­ing alone at the din­ner table, so Mass should be right up his ally, right? Not so much. Instead, the mere men­tion of church starts the win­ing, cry­ing and I am not going chant. Or, as I like to refer to it, the nego­ti­a­tions.  He is shrewd and cun­ning. He will begin with a ridicu­lous request like wear­ing his entire out­fit inside out or watch­ing 37 episodes of Pink Pan­ther before we leave, know­ing that I will say no and will even­tu­al­ly work his way into get­ting an entire back­pack filled with rub­ber fish for the trip. As we were get­ting out of the car, I noticed that he had swiped his train hat off of the hook and looked like he was head­ed to run the Zooline Rail­road. The con­ver­sa­tion went as fol­lows…..
Mr. Con­duc­tor
Me: “Hand­some #1, you may not wear a hat in church.”
Hand­some #1: “Why? Will Jesus get con­fused and think that I am a con­duc­tor.”
Me: “Just take it off.”
He is always so hap­py
Then, there is my Hand­some #2. He is pre­cious with his doe eyes and dar­ling lit­tle bowl cut. At just 19 months, his vocab­u­lary is explod­ing and he likes to share his gift of lan­guage with the entire con­gre­ga­tion as soon as it is qui­et. He prefers to yell things like, “Down, down, down, down, down, down. No, no, no, no, no, no. Out, out, out, out. Mau­r­mi, Mom­ma, Mau­r­mi, Mom­ma, Brudee, Brudee. Eye, nose, nose, nose. “And then comes the grunt heard round the world that caus­es that embar­rass­ing swift exit out of the pew, down the aisle and into the germ-infest­ed cry room. It is as if they keep it 20 degrees warmer to encour­age the growth of bac­te­ria. Every child is cov­ered in snot and slime and is rosy cheeked from their peek­ing fever.  Once in the cry room, Hand­some #2 pro­ceeds to touch every­thing and every child and Mon­day morn­ing we pay a vis­it to the pedi­a­tri­cian in an effort to iden­ti­fy the rash that has just popped up!
And well behaved
Nev­er in any trou­ble
This Sun­day; how­ev­er, was going to be dif­fer­ent. There would be no cry­ing, or scream­ing or infec­tions. Instead, I came pre­pared for the worst. Armed with trains, juice, books, hand san­i­tiz­er and snacks; I was tak­ing charge of this Mass. Most moth­ers would con­sid­er this stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure. I am much more of a grab a dia­per on the run, no wipes, pray­ing that there is no poop and if you get hun­gry let’s hope I for­got to eat my break­fast one day this week and there is a fiber bar in the bot­tom of my purse that will lead to that poop that I am not pre­pared for, so it can’t be a long trip and if you are scream­ing and thirsty, Mom­ma nev­er gets too far away from a QT, kind of mom.  This kind of par­ent­ing has always worked for me, so the over­ly pre­pared stuff was a new ball game.
Know­ing that Hand­some #2 was in no way shape or form going to make it through Mass among the parish­ioners, I opt­ed for the cry room from the start. I arrived ear­ly, go me, and was able to take the first pew. I strate­gi­cal­ly placed myself, my chil­dren and all of our bags across the entire pew as not to encour­age any of the sticky peo­ple to sit next to me. My plan worked beau­ti­ful­ly as we were the only peo­ple in the cry room and my boys were able to be there dar­ling selves and I could par­tic­i­pate in a prayer or two. That was until THEY walked in.
I am cer­tain they must be church hop­pers .You know, the kind that can’t attend the same church two weeks in a row because their chil­dren act so hor­ri­bly that the Priest asks for a reprieve. The par­ents, hag­gard and low­ly took their twin daugh­ters, who must have been about four, way too old for the crap that they were about to pull, to the back of the room. We hadn’t got­ten to the first, “And with your Spir­it,” –anoth­er bonus for me attend­ing, and know­ing some of the respons­es with­out the cue card, Mass since the change- before it start­ed.
The two chil­dren, who I will refer to as The Most Annoy­ing Whin­er on the plan­et, or Whiney for short, and You Have Got to Be Kid­ding Me, Shut Up, or Cry­baby, to pro­tect their good names, start­ed in with what can only be described as what I believe that a goat giv­ing birth must sound like. The par­ents just kept say­ing, “Shh­hh. Let’s be qui­et, please.” And, “That is enough Winey.” “Cry­baby, dad­dy doesn’t like that.” But when that didn’t cut it, they moved on to the, “If you don’t stop it we are going to the car.” Real­ly? That sounds like a reward, for all of us.
Then, the run­ning of the bulls began. They cir­cled the pews over and over. I felt like a spec­ta­tor at the Indy 500. At one point, it became so crazy, that my boys were hang­ing on to me for dear life Hand­some #2 was pet­ri­fied. He want­ed out, and he want­ed out fast. He began to bang on the glass win­dow as if he were a caged ape at the zoo. Peo­ple began to turn around to see what all of the com­mo­tion was about. They were shoot­ing ME dirty looks because my child was tap­ping the glass. Lit­tle did they know it was a cry for help. He was hop­ing that some­one would see him, hear him and help him to escape unharmed.
As the Mass con­tin­ued and the behav­ior con­tin­ued to degen­er­ate, the par­ents got out the sug­ary cere­al. Awe­some! How­ev­er, if it had not been for the cere­al inci­dent, I may not have noticed the oth­er strange goings on in the cry room. For instance, the cou­ple that was hold­ing hands, fac­ing one anoth­er about an inch apart as if they were renew­ing their wed­ding vows, the entire Mass. Nope, it wasn’t the sign of peace, nor the peti­tions, they were hav­ing a rehearsal of sorts among the tod­dlers. It was uncom­fort­able, but I couldn’t stop watch­ing. Then I noticed the man that was there, in the cry room, alone. Like, no kids, no spouse, just hang­ing out. Why would you opt for the germ farm? What­evs, dude.
By the time Com­mu­nion rolled around, I couldn’t wait to move. I mean, between the won­der twins, Angeli­na and Bil­ly Bob and creep­ster, I need­ed a break. I noticed as I was walk­ing through the line that peo­ple were look­ing, smil­ing and laugh­ing. I thought, how sweet, my chil­dren as so pre­cious. I am so glad that they are well behaved. Hand­some #1 duti­ful­ly held my hand as I car­ried Hand­some #1 through the line as he played with his beloved Thomas the Train…….or was that a Tampax…………God help me! Hand­some #1
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Mon­day I enjoyed a day off with my boys, Mau­r­mi and Uncle Jim­bo at St. Louis Mills. The trip proved to be too much for Hand­some #2, who passed out dur­ing his lunch. I hope will you enjoy the video and pics as much as we did. And no, he was not helped out of the chair until the prop­er doc­u­men­ta­tion was com­plet­ed.
Going
Going
Gone