Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Old Enough To Read

When I was eleven, my favorite place was the local library. It was about a mile from my house and I walked that mile almost every day in the summer, and once on the weekends. I enjoyed being outside too during the summer: riding bikes, playing baseball, swimming. However the library was my escape; a magical world where I could hide in books.And our library was magic itself. Housed in a wonderful brick building that looked like a castle, one would enter through huge intimidating doors that creaked loudly in the stone hallway. There were a set of glass doors that lead to the adult section but to your right there was a spiral staircase that lead to the second floor: the children's section. I knew the children's librarian well. She always had a stack of books for me.

But that summer, when I was newly 11, I was tired of children's books. I was ready to move onto the adult section. All summer I had heard whispers of a book called "Forever" by Judy Blume. I had read all of Blume's children's books but this one was rumored to be different. It was about sex. And in order to get it out, I discovered you had to have a note from your parent. I learned this the hard way. I walked through those glass doors for the first time, and found the fiction stacks. The book was in the Bs so I walked up the desk and asked where I might find it. The middle age woman at the desk, looked down her glasses at me, and said "Excuse me?" in a very incredulous voice. I repeated my request in a squeak. "And just how old are you?" she asked. "Umm...11" I said. "Well then," she smirked, "you'll need a note from your parents giving you permission to read and check out adult books."

I went home sad. I didn't think there was anyway my mom would write the note. I don't know why I thought this. She had never censored my reading and while we weren't allowed to watch much t.v. she didn't really censor what we did watch. But none of my friends had been allowed to the read the book so I suspect that I just assumed I would not be allowed to read it either. But I was determined to ask because this note would give me access to not just "Forever" but to the entire adult catalog.

After dinner, I broached the subject with her. "Mom, there's a book I want to read but the librarian said I need a note from you to get it."
Now this part was going to be a bit hard.
"It talks about sex and it's in the adult section."
My mom looked at me for a moment.
"Why do you want to read about sex?"
I shrugged uncomfortably.
She was quiet for a moment and then reached over for a piece of paper.
"Get me a pen." she said.

"Forever" was rather a disappointment in some ways. I was a bit young to understand the subtleties of a teenager losing her virginity. The boy's penis had a name which I thought was the most hilarious thing ever but I remember very little about that book. What I do remember is the feeling that my mom trusted me to read what I wished. She did not censor my reading material and thus opened up another level of reading for me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beastie Baby Turns Two

Today was going to be A Day in the Life day but I totally forgot in my sleep haze to start the days with pictures. But nonetheless it was a special day. Our sweet little baby beastie is two! How time has flown and how much has happened since her auspicious arrival on Tax Day. We moved out of our dear little house in NoDa after the home invasion when she was only 6 weeks old.  We spent a year in the old complex which was a pleasant year. And then we moved from Charlotte to Athens, GA. Little Baby Beastie has had quite the upheaval in terms of living space but certainly not in love.

In fact, it just feels like she's always been with us. She fits right in with the other beasties: fierce and deter minded, no one leaves her out of the fun and games. R was her own self almost at once. We did the Oh she's like so and we do with them all but then after you've gone through all three kids, you realize that well R is just R. She has a fearsome temper (proving that for some twos..well you know the saying). She is not overly cuddly but she likes to gives kisses and hugs when asked. And she still snuggles with her mama at night. She's curious and bright and funny. Can you tell I"m in love...again?

Her birthday preparations started last night...

The older girls and I made cat cupcakes for our family party. R likes "kitties" and in fact likes animals of all kinds.

We woke up early for Mass and she was a grump. R needs her sleep and the rude awakening at eight did not make her happy.What did make her happy was getting to pick out her own outfit. She choose her "fowber" outfit. She did okay for most of the service but was starting to lose it at the end (we hung out in the overflow room where all us parents hide) and was screaming if the other kids got to close to her toys. After Mass, we went and picked up a balloon since she loves balloons. She was pretty psyched to get her own balloon.

Once we got home, H put together her water table.

She loved it as did Piper. I foresee a lot more outside time!

Of course she has to figure out that it's not a kiddie pool.

After playing, we ate lunch (hot dogs which are one of her favorites) and then we all had cake and sang Happy Birthday in Spanish and English. 

She took a bite and then told us "Yum!" 

She's in a much better mood after a nap and is now playing with the other beasties. It's hard to imagine a time when she wasn't here. A time when we even debated if we were going to try for another beastie. I'm pretty sure we made the right decision.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Life

Lately I've been sunk back into my rut of just not doing anything. It's not good for me or for the kids. Just now I spent time pinning stuff on Pinterest and thought "What do would happen if you did those things you're pinning." And then I started to think about what I want my life to look like...and that maybe it was time to stop fantasizing about that life, or reading about it on other people's blogs, and start doing it.

I want to do things with my children. I want to do projects with them. Piper loves to make things. She loves to cook, to create with the materials around her, to draw. I want to be outside with them everyday. I want to exercise. I want to knit. I want to write. I want to organize our days a bit more than they are right now.

When I am sitting here doing nothing useful, I wonder why I do this to myself. I think perhaps it's that living in the realm of waiting. Right now I'm waiting for our stupid income tax to come in and I keep thinking "I'll make things when I can buy the materials." But perhaps I need to be thinking about what we can with what we have.

And then of course there is the waiting that comes from not knowing my future. As I let go of that concern, I find myself becoming more free while at the same time I need to fill the spaces of my day. And I need to fill it with more than cleaning the house and folding clothes.

I'm thinking that everyday needs to include writing and knitting so I can stay sane. And it also needs to involve being present with the children. It's good for us to have our space but we also need to connect and be together. It's spring and I feel like we need to be new. To do new things. To open ourselves up to some change.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Deed Is Done

On Saturday, I ended one journey to begin another. Funny how that works, huh? We begin a job, a quest, a path, and work steadily to the imagined finish line, only to discover that what we thought was an ending was really just a crossing over to yet another journey. One would be weary if there wasn't such joy in the ending and the beginning. These beautiful, joyful moments refresh us for the hard parts of our paths yet to come. Perhaps one reason I love the Catholic church so is that she recognizes that we need the rituals to light our way ahead.

Easter Vigil is not only a lovely, symbolic ritual of the resurrection of Christ. It is also a ritualistic retelling of the journey one takes in conversion. 

We began outside around the Easter fire in order to light the Christ candle which along with our "battery" candles would be the only light in the dark church. As I watch the fire, I am reminded of the many fires in religion I have experienced. From the fire of Pentecost in the the Pentecostal Church of my youth, to the bonfires of my Neopagan days as a young adult. Here in front of this fire, I wonder for a moment, only a moment, if I am in the right place. But the peace that has come to through all my doubts this past year comes again, and I feel once again that I am finally coming home. In some ways back to the my youth but in other ways to a very different view of Christ and God.

Inside the chapel, there are no lights. Only the Christ candle, and our candles. We stumbled into our pews through the dark,lost and looking for light. And indeed, while in many ways I had come home into the grace of my family, I was still searching. Still stumbling. Feeling like there was something missing but not knowing what it was until I felt once again the presence of God and Christ. There was still a lot of missteps this year. Doubts so powerful that I almost didn't sign the Book of the Elect. But luckily in the darkness, it is not just our candle by which we see the path. There are others holding us up and offering us counsel. I am blessed with support not just from the chapel but also from all over the world. We don't always agree but their words helped me to discern my own path.

And then after the Liturgy of the Word, we all sing Gloria and a single light is shown on the cross. Oh I swear my heart leaped up and I was filled with joy.Tonight I was coming from the darkness into the light. No the light might not always be so bright but I feel that it will always be ahead of me.

And then after a beautiful homily by Friar Tom, we come forward to be baptized. This is my moment of newness.

Made all the more special by Camille's presence and joining with me. I am moved that I am able to share this experience with my children.

And finally I am able to participate in the mystery of the Eucharist. Can I began to explain this mystery. Not yet. But partaking made me feel complete, part of the community around me, and one with Christ. It is not something for which I have words. It is a moment that is both shattering yet rebuilding.

Finally I am here. I am a Catholic. I have joined myself to this Church with her beauty and her flaws. She in only human after all like me. Like us all. I have joined her because this is where I feel God. This is where I feel both peace and a conviction to just be a better person.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Small Still Voice

Tonight was our last RCIA class before the BIG DAY. I discovered that my marriage HAS to be convalidated before I can be baptized thus making Saturday a REALLY BIG DAY. Tonight we reviewed what we'd be doing and when...important things like how to hold out your hand for the host, and to remember that the chalice was HEAVY and that not dropping it would be a good thing.

But we also spent some time mediating over the Nicene Creed (yes the new translation) and over the "Our Father." We were asked to pick a line that spoke to us and I choose the "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Funnily the two women I was sharing with at the end also picked this line. We talked a bit about not knowing the path before us,and not always understanding what God's will was anyway. Ever since we moved here to Athens I feel a bit like each step I take is kind of blind. I am not sure what is going to happen in the next couple of  years. I don't know what I'll be doing. It's a scary feeling for an anxious person like me.  I'm used to my lists, and my goals. I'm not used to not knowing or at least not having a plan.

In addition, I am not sure how I feel about the whole God speaking to one thing. It scares me a bit to use this kind of language because it reminds me to much of my religious past where God's voice was rather frightening and condemning. I'm trying to reconcile a few different theological ideas about God's voice as I struggle to figure what it means to follow God's will.

One part of me is inclined towards the idea that the answers lies with in us and that prayer/mediation is a way of encountering that which we already know. Or that praying is a way to settle all the different directions are minds go in and to reflect upon what we have read, heard, etc. Another part of me sort of wishes that a loud voice would just shout at me what I'm supposed to do...that someone else would make a decision for me. But that's not going to happen, I'm afraid.

After class, I sat outside wating for H and watching a storm roll through lightening blazing around the cross that rises up from the chapel. Even with the thunder, it was silent, and I sort of sat there, remembering the words of Sister Marie and Julie (a woman I greatly admired) who both said "The voice of God is often a small, quiet voice. You have to be in silence to hear it." What a simple, profound statement. I sat there in that silence and didn't think about anything. I didn't worry. I didn't ask for advice. I just sat. And then later at home, while I washed the evening dishes and in the silence that comes from children doing their own things, I thought you asked if this was enough, and it is. This life is enough. If there is nothing else, it doesn't matter because what you have is a gift.

Sunday, April 01, 2012


Sometimes, when the sun it shining outside, and the children are playing, and  I have my knitting, and the world is green, I think "This is enough." And as I sit in the sun with the "green light" shining over me, I wonder why I long for more.

Today as I sat there watching the girls splash water and make mud puddles, I wondered what I was looking for...why was I always feeling like I had to be doing something "more?" What would this more consist of and for what reason did I want to do more?

I brought this sun content feeling with me to Palm Sunday, and carried it with me as I followed Friar David into the chapel, palm leaf in hand singing Hosannah! And then I mediated during the gospel about this intense belief I hold that as long as suffering exist here Christ still suffers.He is crucified everyday as human bodies are tortured, starved, jailed, ignored, kicked, abandoned, and lost. And as I listened to the Passion on my first Palm Sunday in the Catholic Church, I stopped wanting something more and thanked the Universe for what I had been given. And I prayed that the something more I yearned for would manifest in a yearning to do something more for the world.