Literary Mom Musings

Two days before Christmas we received some stunning news for our family.

We stink at gender prediction!!!

The newest member of our family appears to be a GIRL. That’s right, sweet Girl #5 is coming in May. She is the tie-breaker. The boys could always count Jacob in their number if the sisters ever decided to be superior about their numbers, but it is now official. The reign of pink continues.

When we found out Posey Pie was a girl I immediately downloaded the theme song to the 1994 movie “Little Women.” It struck me that I too would have a house full of four precious girls, and who wouldn’t want to be as capable a mother as Marmee? I mean, she solves anything with poise and mildness, controlling her temper and smoothing out the crinkles in her daughter’s lives (all the while braiding their incredibly long hair). She receives word that her husband is ill and in a military hospital and can actually leave her daughters and housekeeper in charge because she has everything so organized that they can find household accounts and charitable works without a problem. Oh, and then she comes on a red-eye train ride from her husband’s hospital bedside in time to cure her daughter of scarlet fever. And in the book of course her Faith comes to the fore and her common sense and all the while you’re like, why aren’t there parenting classes taught by Marmee? Marmee and Caroline Ingalls? They win literary Mom awards.

marmee21

So now I’m going to have five little women in the house. Five. Who in literature has five daughters?

Oh NO!

mrs bennet

“Girls, will you tear my nerves into shreds?!?!”

I already say that! This isn’t a good sign….

ūüėČ

 

 

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“Each of us is necessary”

¬†I’m sorry to say I missed the coverage of World Youth Day in Rio this year. Last week we bustled about getting school started for another academic year (yes, it’s early, but trust me, it’s good) and working to get the Old Haus back on the market since the renters have gone on to a new home in another part of the town closer to their work. I was able to catch snatches of WYD to tide me over until I can once again read snippets of Pope Francis’ homilies with my morning coffee thanks to Vatican Radio. I love his homilies.

And I really REALLY love it when he does something like this:

Pope Francis has personally requested the presence of a sick child when he presides Sunday’s closing mass for World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The little girl, who suffers from anencephaly, a condition which means she was born without a large part of her brain, will be brought up to the altar during the Offertory procession. Most children affected by anencephaly do not survive this condition or are aborted before the pregnancy comes to term.

The little girl’s parents presented her to Pope Francis as he was leaving Rio’s Saint Sebastian Cathedral following Saturday’s mass with religious. The couple said that though they could have legally aborted their sick child, they decided to celebrate her life.

Fr. Lombardi said, ‚Äúthe Pope will welcome this very tiny girl during the Offertory procession of the final Mass for World Youth Day as a sign of welcome and of offering of life to God.‚ÄĚ

http://en.radiovaticana.va/m_articolo.asp?c=714611

WOW! ¬†I can see why her parents would have wanted him to bless their child–who doesn’t want their baby blessed by the Pope? But after all the stress of the birth and the pressure they must have received to end their child’s life, to have this moment to present her to the Holy Father, and the result?

Pope Francis asked for that girl to be there at the final Mass to show the world that, as his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said:

“Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”

Each of us, no matter who we are, where we are, what abilities we have or lack. Each of us is necessary.

Each of us is loved.

And on that note, belatedly, but with sincere intent:

A candle for Hanson

Counteraction!

Being in a postpartum state of wardrobe transition, body image and the fashion world have been on my mind a lot more often of late. Over the years I’ve come to gain a bit of the wisdom that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be beautiful, and also that not everyone (contrary to modern thought) has to have an hourglass figure or certain dimensions to be beautiful, either. Now that I have four daughters, I want them to grow up knowing this. Far too much of my junior high years were wasted comparing my awkward box-like frame to the “beautiful” girls around me, wondering what foods I could give up to make myself look like them (note: I was a healthy normal teenager. I just didn’t know that no amount of dieting was going to change my body shape from a “box” or a “banana” into an “hourglass.” I have since learned, however, that motherhood could make me a “pear” and also expand my shoe size, but that’s workable. haha ;))

And one thing is going to be certain.

FAT IS A BAD WORD. And we don’t call anyone “fat” even if they look it. It’s just not polite and we’re not going to label people by appearance.

Don’t misunderstand. I intend to instruct all my children about healthy food choices and ensure they get exercise. No one would call my children obese! But now that they’ve seen me pregnant and otherwise, some of them are overly observant of other people’s waistlines. And last night, when a very generous woman brought my family a homebaked meal to welcome our baby, one of my daughters mortified me by pointing out to that woman that she was fat.

I know kids do this unintentionally because I did once, too. However, we don’t call people “fat” in our house and nor do I allow anyone else to, either. But kids pick things up, and now one lesson this week for my kids to absorb is this:

God makes people in all different shapes and sizes. All of them are beautiful. And if we are going to tell someone about their looks, we are going to point out something beautiful, or keep our mouths shut.

Zealous

One morning last week Rascal came over to me as I dressed Miss M. He had a very somber expression on his face.

RASCAL: I need to tell you something.

He begins most of his speeches this way, or words to that effect. He has a lot to say, this one does.

ME: Hmm?

RASCAL: I think we have enough toys. Let’s sell the ones we have and give them to the poor. And our beds. We can sell those too. We have sleeping bags.

I was not enthused at the idea of sleeping in a sleeping bag for the rest of this pregnancy.

ME: Well, you might miss your bed.

RASCAL: (eyes starting to brim) But Mom, there’s poor people. And they have¬†nothing.

I pulled him close and comforted him, explaining how we give to charities that truly help those less fortunate. I showed him a letter about a special toy drive and promised we’d participate. That made him feel better.

And then I got the e-mail from church. The one asking for baby and children clothes. I thought of Rascal–“those people have nothing.” I thought of the bin of boys’ clothes in the garage–the clothes that haven’t been worn in 1-6 years and likely not again for another 2, even were a nephew to show up. I texted my husband to see if we should give a little away.

HIM: Send ’em all.

I gulped. I went to the garage and pulled out the bins. I began to pile up all the winter clothes. I about cried over every one. I was not a cheerful giver at that moment. I wanted to cling to all of it still for memory’s sake. After all, I had already weeded out the stuff I hadn’t wanted to keep last summer. Going through this bin again was like seeing my big boys as toddlers–a very chaotic time in my life that somehow seems rosy hued at the moment. There was the sweats I bought the night I found the everlasting Pumpkin costume (which costume I still have). There was the wool coat and hat Trooper wore for his first Christmas home. Oh my, the matching sweatshirts that I bought for the boys when Dino was born. The sweater Trooper wore at Jacob’s funeral. The sweaters in Christmas card pictures. The sweater Rascal wore in the 18 month picture that his great-grandma loved. The helicopter jammies. The first John Deere shirt. Do I really need to give this all away?

Then Rascal joined me.

RASCAL: Hey, whatcha doing?

ME: (talking through the lump in my throat) The church asked us to bring clothes. Remember that big storm we heard about on the news? There’s a lot of people who lost homes from it. They need clothes for their kids.

RASCAL: (practically claps his hands and gets down to action) Okay, great! Toys–do they need toys? And look Mom–a Christmas tree (pointing to the Advent tree my father-in-law made)!

ME: Um, no dear, just clothes. That’s all the church asked for at this time. And we are¬†not giving the tree that Granddad made.

RASCAL: Okay, so are we giving this? And this?

And bit by bit he helped me take all the clothes to the laundry room for an out-of-storage freshening. Unblinded by sentiment, he was ready not only to “give your coat, but the shirt from your back as well” as the verse sort of goes. In fact, he was ready to give everyone’s shirt. Princess found us working and also saw the bin of girl clothes that I had moved to get to the baby boy bin.

PRINCESS: Oh! Oh my pink dress! Oh I want to wear it. (Nope–that’s a summer dress). Oh! OH! My swimsuit! I missed it! I want my swimsuit! Can I wear it?

Before I could reply, Mr. Zealous turns to his sister and says very matter-of-factly:

RASCAL: I’m sorry, [Princess], but we’re giving it to the poor.

And then I had to wipe away her tears and remind the boy that the church had only requested that parishioners donate winter clothes. Swimsuits are not required at the East Coast this time of year. That being said, I wish I had been less self-centered.  He was ready to give so much just because others needed it. I was ready to hold onto so much just because he wore it five years ago. Who was being childish there?

I’m grateful for the lessons they teach me.

Never “Poor”

This morning Rascal happened to be snooping in my closet and pointed to a hatbox on the upper shelf.

RASCAL: Hey Mom, what’s in there?

ME: Oh, that’s Jacob’s box.

In there? The only outfit he ever wore, the funeral remembrances, cards, the handprint kit the Hospice gave us, and the ultrasound photos from when he was alive. Those make me cry still.

ME: Today’s his birthday, you know.

He would have been eight.

RASCAL: Awww. Poor Jacob.

ME: No, he’s not poor. He’s in Heaven. He’s happier than any of us.

RASCAL: (realization dawning) Oh yeah, that’s right. Happy Jacob!

Always remembered. Always in our hearts. Happy 8th birthday, Baby Jacob. We miss you, but know you are happy and that comforts us more than anything.

 

Concerning the Hobbit… again

My sister called me this evening with the news that her husband had just read an article (confirmed) that there was so much footage for The Hobbit that it would be released as a trilogy.

My thoughts went as follows:

  1. Oh¬†NO, it’s hard enough waiting for the first one!!!
  2. Well, there¬†is¬†a lot of stuff going on in the book if you think on it….
  3. Hey, I now have three guaranteed dinner and movie dates with my husband! (We rarely go to the movies)
  4. What does the Hobbit blog say?
  5. EGAD! A new hobbit video blog already!!! (Some crude-ish humor in it, very brief, and not in the movie itself.) A glimpse of Dale, (gasp), Radagast (gasp gasp), and BEORN’S HOUSE (gasp GASP gasp). And where do we see the trailer they showed at ComicCon, because I sure don’t remember seeing the Stone Giant in the first trailer!!!
  6. How long is it until December 14th?
  7. And have they released a hint of the soundtrack yet? Single of the Dwarves’ chant?

YES I am a certified Tolkien geek. You couldn’t have been reading this blog at all without coming to that conclusion, what?