Tuesday, May 25, 2010

{is my hair on fire?}

Remember when you were little and thought adults knew what they were doing?

I distinctly remember a "fire safety" assembly from second grade during which the presenter drilled into our young heads {while we were packed tightly into the cafe-gym-atorium} that, if we ever see a lighter or matches, "tell a grown up!" The refuge for nearly every youthful peril was "grown ups." Yet, now that I am allegedly one of these "grown ups," I can't imagine why anyone would trust me with a stray pack of matches, given that I am far more likely than a 7 year old to set my own hair on fire.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have been waiting for the day when I discover that, magically, I "have it together." Even as a child (uh, by which I mean during high school) I would stare in awe at the girls who made it through the whole school day without wearing some part of their lunch on their shirt. Now, at 29 1/2 years old, I am a wife, mother, lawyer, and homeowner. And yet, I am so supremely far away from "having it together" that I can't even begin to imagine what "having it together" even entails. But I know enough to know that whatever I've got is anything but "together." I think that is probably clear to anyone who has met me for longer than 45 seconds.

Every single day, without exception, I forget either my phone, my keys, or my lunch. Sometimes I forget all three, breezing out the front door without a thought in my head, apparently. Sometimes Shawn finds my full travel mug of coffee on the hallway console or the porch stairs. The "replacement security badge" lady at my office rolls her eyes when she sees me coming. One of my co-workers told me that he once lost his cellphone, only to find it five years later in the same briefcase he'd been toting to work every day. He passed the mantle of "office spaz" on to me when I told him that I once lost my car keys for several hours.. after I'd already used them to unlock the car doors.

A few days ago, I pulled out of our driveway, on my way to drop CP off at my parents' house for the day. As I slowed to a stop at the four way intersection on my street, I heard a thump, then watched, slack-jawed, as I saw my stainless-steel Notre Dame coffee thermos bounce off the windshield and roll into the intersection. Yes, I drove away with my coffee on the roof. Of course, the four way stop was fully populated with other motorists and parents waiting with their children for the school bus. I got out of my car with all the dignity I could muster and picked up the still-rolling thermos from the road while the less spastic mothers just stared with some combination of horror and pity. I think I heard one of them whisper to her child, "if you see matches or a lighter, don't give them to that lady."

Yesterday, it took me three tries to leave for work. First, I walked to the bus stop, only to realize that I was still wearing slippers, not shoes. fail number one. So I walked home, put on shoes, and walked back to the bus stop. Only to realize that I didn't have any money for the bus. fail number two. So, once again, I walked home, and decided to take the car. My crotchety old neighbor sat on his porch, and watched me walk past his house 4 times in vain while uttering increasingly-exasperated profanity with each new trip.

I never have an umbrella when it rains. I don't have change for the tollbooth. Don't have cash for a tip. and I do not know where that $200 Babies R Us merchandise voucher is.

Most kids figure out that their parents don't know everything somewhere around 12 or 13 years old. Circumstances being what they are, I think Connor will have that lesson learned within the week.

{horseshoes & hand grenades}

if he were a fish, he'd be very advanced for his age. and his species.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Hanging with Grandma G

Talking with Grandma S

{happy mothers' day!}

Apparently, this year was my "first" Mothers' Day. However, I celebrated it last year, while I was pregnant with Connor. In my mind, I became a mother as soon as I saw those two pink lines last January.

Motherhood suits me. In being a mother to Connor, I've discovered more patience, more humor, and much much more love. Mothering is many things, and can't be easily reduced to quotable cliches, checklists, or needlepoint-ready adages. However, I recently read a brilliant reflection on motherhood written by Anna Quindlen, in which she observes that her children have done more than any other force to excavate her essential humanity. I don't think I could put it any better myself.

This Mothers' Day was a nice celebration of family. My parents came over for the 9:30 mass, then we had brunch chez nous {potato and spinach frittata and oatmeal muffins with strawberry sauce}. Future Pope Connor was angelic in the cry room, even while all of the other children lost their minds well before the consecration. He looked around at the tear-streaked, red-faced screamers with a disdain that made us all chuckle.

In the afternoon, we planted the flower boxes and hanging baskets that Shawn & Connor got me for the occasion.

Connor's tree made it through the winter!

In this picture, you can see his two bottom teeth. The top front two are almost in now, as well.

YDB, CP. I love you.

{letter to connor: 7 months}

Dear CP-

Seven months into your amazing little life, you are now revealing more and more of your budding personality, and charming the entire world with your chubby cheeks and two-toothed grin. Wherever we go, people exclaim over the wonder of your full head of hair and {even more commonly} your ruddy round cheeks. Sometimes when I am carrying you in the Moby, walking through a crowd, I'll hear a chorus of whispers trailing behind me of "cheeks!"

You love bouncing. You think every moment of the day is an occasion for bouncing. You would rather skip every developmental milestone there is and just bounce, bounce, bounce. You hold onto your doorway jumper with one hand, leaving the other dangling by your side as you pump your legs in chubby baby arabesques, lilting ever so slightly to one side.

You love the mirror. When you catch a reflection of your baby face, your eyes sparkle and your little mouth manages to lift those hulking cheeks into a thousand-watt smile. In short, you are delighted with yourself. {we can hardly blame you}.

You love grabbing mommy's hair and earrings {I, for one, am not as thrilled with this as you are}. You love giving people slobbery wet kisses on the cheek, grasping their face with both hands, and lurching forward with drooly mouth agape. You love your bottles. You love holding the spoon yourself. You love knocking all your toys off the high chair tray. You love being held. You love swimming. You love chomping on your bath toys. You love mickey mouse, of all things. You love your daddy, and save your biggest laughs for him.

The list of things you are not so fond of is considerably shorter. You do not love putting your arms through sleeves. You do not like pureed peas {again, can't blame you}. You do not like Ohio. {see prior parenthetical}. And you do not like sleeping alone.

Soon you'll need to start sleeping in your crib, as that {relatively} tiny 8 1/2 pound newborn has been replaced with a 25 lb wrecking ball, and we only have a queen sized bed. Although I know it is just about time for this transition, I'll miss snuggling with you, listening to your baby snores, and watching as you instinctively burrow into the crook of my arm, or grasp my thumb tightly while you sleep. I'll miss how you wake me up by pulling my nose or patting my cheeks.

There's no getting around the fact that you are growing up. Some days you look less like a baby and more like a little boy. I'm so lucky that I get to be your mom & cheer you on. Keep on bouncin, CP.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

{catching up: notre dame}

The weekend after Easter, Shawn, Connor & I were lucky enough to be invited to our friend Gerry's ordination at Notre Dame.

In my 29 years, I've been to a few weddings {and having married into Shawn's family, I'll surely be going to many, many more}. Weddings are special, even if routine summer Saturday events. Watching a couple pledge their lives to each other calls forth a catch in my throat and at least one tear every time. {except for my own wedding, oddly}.

So, nothing against weddings. But I have to say there is something particularly special about watching an ordination & participating in the celebration of a priest's first mass. When Gerry received his parents' blessing during his first mass at Notre Dame, there was not a dry eye in the house. Part of the mystique is surely the rarity of the occasion-- in my lifetime I'll likely only have attended this one ordination {unless Connor becomes the Pope, which has been my mother's fervent prayer since his birth}. But rarity aside, there is surely something more at work which adds to the awesomeness of the occasion.

Packed inside the over-capacity Basilica of the Sacred Heart, we were all witness to a small miracle: of the few that God calls to this vocation, surely very few have the courage, wisdom, grace, and quieted soul required to hear and follow the call. Particularly today, where there is no social expectation that men will become priests, and every social expectation that men like Gerry will go to college, eventually get married, and have kids, Gerry's decision to take the vows of priesthood, rather than of marriage, exudes authenticity. This is not a path you stumble down because you couldn't think of anything better to do {that path is called "law school"}. This is a path that you walk on with deliberate strides, because God has brushed aside the weeds, uncovered a hidden path, and said "Follow me."

On second thought, maybe a not-so-small miracle.

Well, the {normally, 6 hr} drive out to South Bend was Connor's first real road trip. At 12:12 Friday afternoon, we pulled out of the driveway, with a very full car.

{sidebar: On the way out of our neighborhood, we passed the Easter Bunny's headquarters. I can offer no explanation.}

At 2:02 we realized that we'd left home with a very full car, but all of Connor's bottles were still in the fridge. Oh, and he is due for a bottle at 2:15.

Parenting crisis on the horizon, we pull off the turnpike and semi-frantically search the Cleveland suburbs for a Target. We find one in a fairly nondescript place called Strongsville, Ohio. Parenting crisis averted! {but Parent of the Year consideration officially revoked.}

Please note two additional things about this photo: (1) Connor's 12-18 month size pants do not (i.e. can not, will not) snap at the waist due to his prodigious girth; and (2) the father of that little girl behind me eating pizza tried to make small talk with me while I was giving Connor this bottle by asking me if I went to Strongsville High School because I look familiar. I settled with a simple "no" rather than the much longer, and much more awkward response of "no, I'm not from around here, and frankly I don't think I could find my way back here if I tried-- I just stumbled into this Target because I left home on a multi-day road trip with no food for my infant child. "

{you left my bottles in another state? you clowns are in charge of me?}

3:28: Back on the road, Connor renders his verdict on Ohio. Cries, and cries, and cries.

Shawn, tormented by his child's displeasure, grips the wheel with a white-knuckled grasp, and repeatedly threatens to either (1) turn this car around and go home; and (2) check us into the first roadside motel we see.

5:34: Connor gives up his protest of Ohio, and blissfully falls asleep. Shawn concedes that, 5 hours into our trip, we might as well not turn around.

7:57: nearly 8 hours after starting out, we arrive in South Bend!

The nugget loves it.

Saturday morning, before the ordination, Gerry's friends cheered him on with a tailgate in the parking lot of Moreau Seminary. of course.

Connor got to hang out with his Uncle Steve while we were on campus.

The Morrissey RAs reunited.

{prayers asked}

{prayer answered}