On Monday, May 18 the Raleigh News and Observer ran an article entitled "Parents Nurture non Belief". The article explains that group gathers on Sundays to form community and support one another. The group is comprised of people who consider themselves atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, or people who just don't believe in organized religion. The purpose of their congregation is to support one another in nurturing non belief in their children. For real? There are people who put effort into teaching their children to not believe? How hard is that? Some of the folks report that they are disillusioned and distrust religious organizations because of corruption. Well, hello folks! Wherever there is an organization of humans,religious or not, there is sin. It's in our nature. There is greed, there is abuse, there is impropriety and sometimes even murder. Look at what happened to Jesus. I don't feel outrage, just sadness. These people are exercising their God given free will. I can't imagine my life without God. Ironically, unbelief is a belief. It just doesn't require faith. Since the story ran there have been several heated responses in the letters to the editor representing both sides. One of the most critical was written by Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham. Ms. Lotz writes: "If there is one true living God who created us to know Him in a personal, loving relationship, then parents who nurture unbelief in their children are guilty of committing the ultimate child abuse." Frankly, I see her point. But when I look to My Savior, Jesus Christ, I hear, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." I will faithfully pray for them whether they believe or not. Peace.
O Lord, Today we remember and give thanks in a special way for all men and women serving in the armed forces for our protection. We also remember with gratidude those whom have retired and those who have died, especially those who gave their lives defending our freedom. We ask you to bless, guide and protect those in this world, and commit the faithful departed to the peace that is forever, in Your Awesome Presence. For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are Yours, now and forever more, Amen.
1) Today we have a two week old! We survived a week by ourselves as a family of five. Three of which are children. Our house hasn't fallen into neglect. Every child is being fed, bathed, dressed, etc on schedule. We have been blessed this time with a newborn who loves to sleep and boy does that help with two super-active toddlers!
2) My bathroom is somewhat organized. As organized as can be expected with all the newborn clothes in there, but that is where the organization started. We welcomed this newborn sans dresser, so we are using wicker baskets to hold his clothes. I keep them rotating and so far, we have not gotten out of control. Yeah!
3) I had a semi-date night with my husband. The kids were still awake but last night we watched Paul Blart Mall Cop, which is too violent for kids and inappropriate for them as well, (ours were watching their own movie in another room), but we enjoyed laughing at some of the silliness and liked the endearing relationship between the main character and his daughter.
I have a one-week-old, but that has nothing to do with baby fatigue.
In fact, I have less fatigue with two toddlers and a newborn than I did with just one newborn.
No, baby fatigue has nothing to do with me, it has to do with others.
Babies bring joy and hope into our lives, no doubt, but it is inevitable that sometimes, when it is a second, third or more baby, we will encounter people who are less than enthusiastic. People who are more flat in their assessment of the situation. First babies get all the glory. But the excitement fades after that. Kind of a been there, done that for some friends and family.
There were elements of my non-Catholic family who definitely reacted in this way to my recent pregnancy and our new son. Their apathy has shown itself by not asking the usual progress questions on the pregnancy and the "oh, that's nice" response to the news itself. The lack of interest in visiting the baby after birth was further evidence of this type of "baby fatigue."
To offset this were my grandmothers, one a mother of 3, the other a mother of 6, who were thrilled and delighted at the prospect of another great-grandchild. Perhaps being mothers of what we would consider to be many at this day and age swayed their thinking. Perhaps it was age and the idea that their legacy would live on. In any event, their happiness and excitement was contagious.
And I had many friends, both Catholic and not, who were supportive and who are always offering to help. I think of these friends as the "baby lovers patrol" for them, it's not a matter of what number baby, but that it is a baby. Many of these friends are parents themselves to no more than one, maybe they are living vicariously, I choose to believe they are acting out of love for Jeff, myself and all three children.
I don't think that the baby fatigue is intentional, I think it is institutional. After all, we live in a world where human life is considered disposable through the atrocities of abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, genocide and human slavery, to name a few. So, what is another life, to most people. I pray for the people who view life through the lens of apathy that their eyes may be opened and that they may value and love all life.
Thank you to my mother for posting Will's birth announcement. Our beautiful son was born May 7, 2009 at 7:54 am. His full name, William Christopher, means strong-willed Christ-bearer. His demeanor is quiet and sweet. He adores his older sister and brother who are in love with him as well. Joey did, in fact, call Will "dd," his word for dog when he saw him, but that is Joey's highest compliment as he loves dogs. Shelby sat next to him on the way home from the hospital and just smiled down at him the whole time. Many feel as though a child on the autism spectrum just "wouldn't get it" but it is clear Shelby knows what is going on and is loving it!
Today we also remember Andy, my parents' nephew and our cousin who was healed and taken to heaven a year ago today. Andy, we thank you for your precious intercessions for Will and for protecting both him and our family throughout this pregnancy and birth. We are so grateful for the thirteen years we had, for your quiet dignity and for your accepting the awesome responsibility of evangelization through the sharing of your faith as your time with us in this life was ending. Your life was a blessing to us all. And through your birth into eternal life, you have eternally blessed us anew.
William Christopher HerrettBorn Yesterday, May 7, somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00 am est. He weighed in at 7# 9oz and is 19" long. He has dark hair and is perfect in every way.(That's not just a grandmother's point of view, it's also my professional opinion as a pediatric nurse- and let it go on record that his pediatrician concurred:
Mother and baby are both doing very well.
Gigi and Papa are holding their own with the 1 and 2 year olds-(did I mention the dogs?) we left the camera at the house ready to go, so soon and very soon we'll have pictures up. BUT,We've not missed a beat on meals, outings, sunscreen,bug spray,naps and baths. At the first visit Joey referred to Will as "DD"- his word for dog. Shelby, 2, was so happy to see Mama. She sat adoringly at the foot of the bed watching Kristen nurse Will. It seemed that all was bliss. But lo, the moment came when Kristen- still on bedrest, changed Will's diaper. Will, was not quite in agreement with the proceedings and began to- "how you say?" CRY. Shelby's eyes widened in a look of pure horror. Of course. It now all comes together. And by God's grace, all will be well. Peace and All Good to all! Lynn
I was reading a brief interview recently with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host on the popular daytime tv show The View.
In the interview, Elisabeth referred to women in their first pregnancies being referred to as pregnant goddesses and by a subsequent pregnancy or their third (as I am in now and she is as well) no longer being so.
Some of the comments to this article reflected that people disliked Hasselbeck and a few pointed out how she often draws comments to herself or her pregnancy on the show. I never watch, so I don't know. But it did make me wonder, are we narcissistic as pregnant women? I try not to use my pregnancy as an excuse too often as to why I can or cannot do something. A recent episode of the show Rules of Engagement also highlighted this when the character Audrey has a pregnant co-worker's work dumped on her. To add insult to injury, Audrey and her husband Jeff have been trying for several months to conceive unsuccessfully and the pregnant co-worker is constantly giving "updates" on her baby's growth (which she calls natal-nuggets) and requirements and telling co-workers where they can eat lunch because of her dietary requirements.
Being pregnant does make a woman feel special, no doubt about it. The awesome responsibility of carrying a life and the amazing journey of it are not to be downplayed. However, I do see a lot of women who expect the world to stop for them because they are pregnant. Now, I am not one of these who feels like pregnancy is a medical condition or not. For me, pregnancy comes with medical conditions, but it is hard for me to justify getting so much special attention or treatment. On a recent brief trip we took, I was amazed at how courteous people were, opening doors for me, helping me with bags. Then I realized why. I was pregnant. Had I been old or woman with a toddler, I doubt I would have gotten such treatment.
So how do we celebrate pregnancy but not overdo it? As I wrote before, pregnancy can be painful for those unable to conceive or carry a child. I have had friends who were unable to conceive after I was able to and I very carefully made sure that I was not "flaunting" my pregnancy while still including them. But what about the pregnant celebrities we all flock to find out about? What about the women who carry multiples and are celebrated with reality television shows. What about the super-sized families who announce pregnancies on the Today show? Sometimes I feel like, "good for them," but why do we care?
My mother told me once that after first pregnancies, subsequent ones are not as exciting for friends and family. My own family reacted in a very muted way to this pregnancy initially. They were happy and there were congratulations, but not the exuberance of our first. And I figured that pregnancy was a fact of life and while we celebrated the new life coming into our family, I cannot expect the world to share that to the extent we do. And I certainly can't expect the whole world to stop because I felt the baby kick either.
Pregnant women are beautiful and pregnancy is a wondrous thing, no doubt, but we must remember the world still exists outside of our pregnancy and we must respect that.
I swear, if you are pregnant and anywhere in the neighborhood of your due date and don't post for a couple of days, everyone assumes the baby is here!
He's not and we are grateful. I haven't been posting because we've been making last minute preparations still. We reorganized our bathroom so it doubles as the baby's closet/dresser and changing area. We are packing our bags and making lists for grandparents to help them while we are in the hospital with the two children and two dogs who are here at home. We are keeping busy with our son and daughter already here, giving them some last minute extra attention before they see less of us in a couple of days. We are cleaning and reorganizing. (and to update on last week's small successes, Joey's dresser is now organized, Jeff tamed that beast as well!)
Tomorrow morning I have my hospital appointment scheduled to give them my surgery orders, get my chart ready and my insurance info as well as get my pre-op info.
We are excited, nervous and happy. Did I mention excited?
First there was the sensation that was Susan Boyle. Now, there is Mine that Bird, the little horse that could.
Susan Boyle might not win Britain's Got Talent, but it hardly matters now. The happiness she has brought to people around the world is testament to the winner she is. And when you watch her sing in her audtion piece, if you don't pay attention to Simon's reaction or Amanda standing up or the crowd cheering...you can see that Susan Boyle isn't really there to sing for an award. She's there to sing her song. To let her voice be heard. To share the gifts and talents that God has given her. Winning would be great, but just being given the chance is more important.
Today, Mine that Bird won the Kentucky Derby at the odds of 50-1. He wasn't the beauty that Dunkirk was. He was a plain looking brown horse. No one expected him to show. He had nothing to prove. He wasn't racing the other horses, he was clearly in his own race. He was a late substitution. And he ran away with the crown.
As I wait out these last few days before Will is born, I am beginning to think that 2009 is not such a bad year to be born. The economy is not all it is cracked up to be, sure. The job market is not always pleasant, but there is something amazing happening. People are beginning to see that beauty is found in the most unexpected of places. That being flashy is not as important as being good. That in order to get a rainbow, you've got to deal with some rain.
A friend of ours recently came into a problem that I'm sure in the age of facebook and twitter is becoming more and more common.
A former girlfriend of her husband's contacted them.
The email I got read like this:
P didn't hide the communication from me. In fact, he called me right over to the computer and showed me the message when he opened his inbox. Something in my heart kind of sank. I know our marriage is strong, I just didn't think I would experience jealousy over someone he dated so long ago. I realize this person lives far away and is probably just trying to be friendly but in my heart I am freaking out about this. P thought it was strange she would contact him now, and told me it does make him a little uncomfortable because of how much time had passed and the fact that they did not part on the best of terms. I spoke with S, P's best friend, who also thinks that she is probably just trying to be friendly and reassured me I had nothing to worry about, he had never seen P as happy as he has been since we met and married. Why am I being so insecure?
My first answer, you feel insecure because you love your husband and you don't want to think that he may have for a second considered anyone other than you. I have been able to find out since I got that original email that this is someone that this friend's husband dated more than ten years before he met his wife, so there has been plenty of time (they have been married just under five years and have a set of twins) since he has had contact with this person.
It is hard to say why this ex-girlfriend has decided to try and reconnect now. Perhaps she feels badly about the relationship ending on bad terms and just wants to make a clean break. Maybe she is just being friendly. And there always does exist the option that perhaps she is trying to rekindle the past. But we really can't know for sure without asking outright and do we know if we can trust her answer?
It appears clear that this husband is not quite sure how to proceed. He feels awkward but did not hesitate to show his wife which I consider a merit for him. To me it shows a value of the marriage and her part in it as well as her feelings. Many men might have just deleted it which may or may not be a bad thing. Many more might have corresponded or read it and then waited to show their wives, which I think is a bit disrespectful of the marriage.
I think this begs a bigger question though. Can we ever leave the past in the past? Santayana says those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. And of course, we should try and learn from past mistakes and successes. I have written about what I feel is the futility of the high school reunion, to recapture days that are gone 10 years or more. But what of past relationships our spouses have had? I wish I could just tell my friend that she should just get over it that her husband chose her. The fact is though, that no matter how confident we feel in our marriages, something like this can shake it a bit. How wonderful it would be if we could marry a person we fell in love with at a young age knowing that neither of us ever had any sort of romantic feelings for another person. How wonderful if we all had the unshakeable confidence in ourselves that would allow us to just shrug something like this off.
I asked another friend of mine who does not know the couple involved what she thought. She has been in a few long-term relationships but never married. She said she felt that the past should stay in the past. She went onto elaborate that she felt if she were in the same situation as the wife here, she would expect her husband to take her feelings into primary consideration when he decides whether to correspond. She also went onto say that if she was the ex-girlfriend and was solely interested in just being friendly she would avoid talking about the "good ol' days" and keep things just light and somewhat formal. Since I don't know the exact nature of what was said in the email in question, I can't say for sure what the intent was.
I don't think there is an easy solution to this situation. And I reserve judgment on my friend's insecurities, because they surprised her and I believe this is another situation in which we don't know how we would feel unless we were directly confronted. We must believe in the sanctity and strength of our marriage and if communication between the spousees is open, I believe that chances are better the marriage would survive even an old boyfriend or girlfriend trying to pry into it instead of just being friendly. One thing is for sure though, I don't think I've met the last person who will find him or herself in this situation as we become more easily connected in this age of electronic communication.
Joey said, "Mommy." He struggled to get it out but he said it to me the other day. One time. He has been quite the expert at saying Daddy. We were so happy when we asked him where the baby was and a couple of months ago he stopped pointing to himself and pointed to my belly. Of course, this week when Jeff pointed to my belly and said baby, Joey shook his head and said no and then pointed to himself and announced, "BABY!" So, I might not hear Mommy again for a while...