Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Triduum 2016

On Holy Saturday, my SIL, Will and I took the girls to our local park while the in-laws took well-deserved naps. It was sunny and beautiful, and extra special since Aunt E has not seen Laura walk around the park yet.

Grace's favorite part? Swings with Dad.

On Easter morning, Grace went right for her basket and made her mama proud by going straight for the Peeps.

After breakfast, I handed Laura her basket. New jammies!

Hooray! Easter grass! Everywhere!

After mass - Will worked later in the day, so no bleary-eyed smiles after a night shift this year! 

Another one with my sweet in-laws!

The rest of the day was very low-key. Will went to work. Grace was not feeling well, and the Easter egg hunt lasted... 5-10 minutes. Grace found a few and was satisfied; Laura found a few, and then a few more in Grace's basket. 

I was in total denial about going back to work the next day and ate a box of peeps.

Happy Easter, indeed. Here's to new life!

From Catholic Online:

"In his Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul says 'If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth'". However, Benedict XVI emphasized, the apostle "is far from inviting Christians, any of us, to shun the world in which God has placed us. It is true that we are citizens of another 'city', our true home, but the path toward this goal must be traversed every day in this land. To participate, from this moment, in the life of the resurrected Christ, we must live as new men and women in this world, at the heart of this earthly city." 
"This is the path to transform not only ourselves but also to transform the world, to give the city a new face that favors the development of humankind and society within the logic of solidarity, goodness, and profound respect for the dignity proper to each ... Easter offers the newness of a profound and complete passage from a life subject to the slavery of sin to a life of freedom, inspired by love, the force that breaks down barriers and builds new harmony in our hearts and in our relationships with others and with things." 
Every Christian, just as every community, "that lives the experience of this passage to the Resurrection, cannot help but be new leaven in the world giving themselves without reserve to the most urgent and just causes, as seen by the witness of the saints in every age and place. The expectations of our time are also great: believing firmly that the resurrection of Christ has renewed humankind without separating it from the world in which it builds its history, we Christians must be the radiant witnesses of Easter's new path". 
"Easter is, therefore, a gift that must be welcomed in faith more deeply each time, to work in any situation with the grace of Christ, according to the logic of God, the logic of love". --Pope Benedict XVI, Easter 2011

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Friday, March 25, 2016

They Call Today "Good"

Every Triduum, starting with Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday, I re-read T.S. Eliot’s “The Four Quartets”. It is four of his best poems, and for anyone who only knows his poetry ala in “The Hollow Man” or “The Wasteland” (critiques of modernity, not praise), his words may be surprising.

For instance, it is in “East Coker”, the second of the quartet, in which Eliot wrote,
The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

How can this Friday be good? Today Jesus was denied, whipped, humiliated, crucified. And why? In today’s gospel, John remind us that all this happens to fulfill the Scriptures. Jesus accepted the cup his father passed him – he accepted, fully, what must happen. Did he have the power to prove himself, as Satan tempted him to in the desert? Of course. But the hardness of the high priests should not be softened by might, but by truth.

What is truth? asked Pilate; a question so modern still that audiences cannot help but relate. Good Friday is the day when Jesus seems the most human. He is condemned and he dies. We are reminded in the second reading that “we do not have a high priest/ who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,/ but one who has similarly been tested in every way,/ yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Indeed, as the reading continues (Heb 5:7-9):
In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

The goodness of this day lies in Jesus’ very passion for us all; a love to conquer death, a truth that “I AM” is a witness as well as a declaration. Today, the veil has been torn and we enter Golgotha, the place of skulls. The King of the Jews is dead, and so Eliot finishes his poem: “In the end is my beginning.”

Today was hard. Today was terrible. Today was good. We wait. The tomb is close by…

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Life is Pain, Highness.

Teaching is hard. Motherhood is hard. Residency life is hard.

How do you develop a shell while still remaining soft to the world? I'm still learning.

For as hard as intern year was (adjustment-wise), second year has been harder. Part of that has been the growing pains of our family. Part of that has been with our jobs. Part of that is the daily wear and tear of parenting + due diligence with therapy. The other part is laundry. WASH AND FOLD YOURSELF LAUNDRY.

I've had a few tough parent situations this school year - we just never saw eye to eye. I still don't quite understand why everything was perceived so singularly; I try really hard to be available and patient, so when something else happens... it hurts, a lot. I was crying on the couch when Will got home from another long shift. His last patient overdosed and was probably gone by the time the ambulance arrived. He ran a full code. Then, calling the family. There was a lot of grieving; doctors are not immune to that kind of pain, even if they seem unswayed. They have a job to do.

He told me I needed to close my computer, not reply, and move on. I did my job. My boss told me I was fine, so what was the point of re-hashing? Because I care, and I don't understand, and I love my job, and I love teaching my students, I cry. Will fills in the blanks: Do your job, learn from your mistakes, and move on - you're never going to make everyone happy.

The Man in Black said it best: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." This doesn't mean we should relish our pain, or feel constant sorrow; but acknowledging it as reality, and pushing on, past the doubts and discouragements. Life is beautiful. I see it in Laura's cheesy grins, smelling fresh air, Grace calling out "mama!!" when I come downstairs, life with Will. Life is worth living. Not in spite of the pain, or even because of it, but with it, in communion. To know pain means to also know happiness, health, love and virtue.

As a Christian, especially one during this Lenten season, I can't help reflecting (begging God) and praying the Litany of Humility


O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted; deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged; deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected; deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it!
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it!
That others may be chosen and I set aside: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it!
That others may be praised and I unnoticed: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it!
That others may be preferred to me in everything: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it!
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it!

How is the end of your Lent going? I'm looking forward to my last couple of classes, my in-laws arriving, finishing my grading, and spending part of spring break on vacation with my darling husband before Paschal Triduum with my in-laws and our daughters.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

A 28th Birthday Party

Today is my birthday! We celebrated yesterday since dear husband had the day off (finally!!!!!), and he spoiled me with lemon garlic shrimp linguine, candles, tulips and watching the girls all the while. It was amazing.

We lack counter space, so Will put the cake (in a box) in a reachable spot because he forgets that little people also live here. I came down to Grace Harriet happily licking her fingers. Hmm. 

After dinner, getting her (and Laura!) to smile/ look away from the cake was not possible. 

She was very upset when I put her down to blow out my candle. She loves this cake. 

Laura devoured her piece too!

Oh hey hey familia! 

Grace, meanwhile...

Two pieces. She deserved it. 


Today was family time in the morning, then I took three hours of alone time, and the girls and I had a relaxing evening together while Will works a later shift. It's a very, very good day. 

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring

As of Laura's birthday post, I've only posted seven times this year. This definitely bums me out; and still, 2016 continues to be really hard for any sort of normal writing schedule.

With a HUGE fingers crossed, Will and I are not going to wake up in the middle of the night (again) to Grace sobbing and more vomit to clean up. It seems the February flu we had is reappearing in March. Today is day 5. Laura is on day 6 for ear drops and antibiotic from a flu-caused perforated ear drum. Will and I have had twinges of nausea, which definitely does not help the food aversions/ anxiety/ exhaustion departments. Anyways. Typical Lent! Always more opportunities to offer it (all) up and unite ourselves with Christ.

(Bebe Baldwin is doing really great, by the way. Super active!)

The sun came out today, and after my AP US class today, the girls and I decided to enjoy the promise of Spring and rebirth. First time Laura was let loose in our backyard, which means she immediately took off towards the busy street once she figured out the right direction. Grace collected wee pinecones until we retired to the porch to play in the sandbox and enjoy the first swing of the season.

But first:

"Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –         
   When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;         
   Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush         
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring         
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush         
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush         
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.         

What is all this juice and all this joy?         
   A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,         
   Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,         
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,         
   Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.   

May the sunshine touch your face too this week.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy First Birthday, Laura!

Hey, so remember when Laura was born??

Are you my mother?

Yep, you're my mother!!

I think I'm gonna like it here...

It's apparently been a year. Happy first birthday, Laura! 

Fine, so a year ago at this time, I was still in triage. Small details. 

Hooray! It's Laura's day! Time for her very own Camelbak. She liked. 

She got her own box of tissues too, in the tradition of Grace's first birthday... Laura is not the tissue-puller of the family, however; she would much rather have a free pass to play in the toilet. 

This Camelback was the clear winner. There is no water inside it. (Yet!)

She was overwhelmed by the paparazzi. 

Her coping mechanism was to start eating her cake. Mmm, white chocolate. 

My parents came in town for the weekend to celebrate our Lady Laura! 

We sang Happy Birthday, and she suspiciously poked at her cake. Clearly her father's child.

She even handed her piece to Will at one point... but she did eat a few bites of well-deserved birthday cake. 

My parents left early that afternoon to catch their flight home, so we went to the park. It was a very fun transition of Laura walking around the playground!

Happy birthday, my Laura the explorer. 

At one, Laura:
  • walks and falls; picks herself up with a grin
  • climbs on everything; leans her head back (expects to be caught)
  • transitions off couches, beds
  • says "all done"; "dada"; "yes"
  • babbles and smiles
  • teases her sister
  • plays with blocks, stuffed animals
  • looks through books
  • plays chase/ tag 
  • initiates peek-a-boo
  • has eight teeth
  • loves fruit, cheese, veggie noodles
  • cuddles with her mama
  • head-over-heels for her dad 
  • constant playmate of her sister
  • shares a room with Grace
  • has the sweetest disposition

Possibly the hardest thing to imagine when you have your first child is how you'll love your second child as much. Laura smashed all doubts. She makes me believe we'll welcome our third with just as eager arms. She has the biggest smile, loves her family so much, and is always ready for the next adventure. 

Here's to many more, my sweet heart! Happy birthday, Laura Kathleen! 

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