Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I was raised a Catholic. My relationship with the church, and with my own faith, has not been the easiest of journeys. The first major bump in the road came when I was a first year in college and a high school friend died in a car accident. I was angry. I was angry in a way that came from living a life that was filled with light and laughter and love and blessings. My parents did an amazing job sheltering us from the world and so this, this inexplicable, sudden, shocking, tragic death rocked me to my core and made me question so much of my world, and most especially my faith. I became angry at the people that said the platitudes--things like "God needed another angel" or "It was her time to go." She was 17. She hadn't been drinking or doing drugs or speeding. The two other people in the car walked away without even a broken bone. And my friend died. I didn't get it and I was pissed. I wanted an answer, I wanted to know why....
It took me awhile to figure out that there was no answer. It just was.
My second major bump also came in college....after my friend died I avoided church for awhile. Then I started to go back to it--slowly. I admit a part of it was for the social aspect--my roommate and a number of close friends were Catholic. Then I started going to a liturgical group on campus. We'd talk about upcoming readings and help the Chaplain with her sermon. It was a time where I came to struggle and question and wrestle with the bible and I enjoyed it. Until the other members of the group would say things like "if you don't believe ____ then you aren't really a Catholic" Wow. I didn't understand this....I was on this journey and taking some pride in not having blind faith. In questioning and struggling and discarding those beliefs which didn't make sense to me. To hear someone say that I wasn't truly a Catholic because I didn't believe every single teaching....well, that confused me and made me wonder if maybe I wasn't a true Catholic. This time it took me awhile to figure out that you could talk to a hundred different people who called themselves Catholic and discover that they each had their own set of beliefs.
After college I started going back to church with my mom and dad. I love this time that I get to have them all to myself. I love that Sunday morning has turned into my weekly dose of calm and reflection. A time where I get to stop and breathe and stand in awe at the blessings I have in my life and start a new week feeling lighter. I imagined, years ago, bringing my child with me to church with my parents....and now that dream is a reality.
Now I wonder what Aliza will learn from the church. Interestingly, my husband does not attend church, and, of course, I have never pressured him to do so. Because he is the amazing person that he is, he supports me--even getting married in a Catholic ceremony because he knew how important that was to me. He also supported the decision to raise Aliza Catholic, even though he himself doesn't believe in much of what the church has to say. Whenever we talk about faith I find myself frustrated with him. How do you explain a belief system that you have spent your whole life learning and defining? Especially when so much of it is indefinable....He approaches faith and spirituality in an intellectual way--talking about the history of the church, analyzing the beliefs that people hold. And I approach it in an emotional way--knowing what I believe comes from my own struggles and questions. Knowing that when my friend died, it was, at the end, my faith that helped me through it.
What's most interesting is that I actually believe my husband to be a rather spiritual person. Not in the believing in God sort of way, but in the way he lives his life. He is a good man. And he has a good soul. You can spend less than five minutes with him and learn that right away. And when I think about Aliza, and raising her in the church, I realize that what I really want for her is to take away the most important of lessons: to be a good person in everything that you do. I believe my husband is a good person, without being raised in the church. And I try my hardest to be a good person. So I hope that she finds that, in the church or out.....
Thursday, July 17, 2008
(Both of these put her in about the 75th percentile)
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Thirteen things I love about Aliza:
(Of course, there are a TON more than 13, but Thursday 2,571 just sounds weird. And these are in no particular order...)
1) Her pinky toe. This may sound odd, but it is the cutest, teensie-weensiest little thing ever. It's about the size of a.....well, I honestly can't think of anything it is the same size as. Smaller than a piece of corn. Seriously. It's just adorable.
2) How, when you put her down on her back, her arms automatically raise above her head and her little hands clench into fists. That's how she sleeps--arms up above her head.
3) When she is eating she makes cute little noises. Contented little "eh, eh, eh..." sounds. It makes me smile every time--even at 3 in the morning!
4) In the morning, when she first wakes up, she kinda hangs out in her bassinet, looking around, checking out the world. And, if I'm lucky, as soon as I say her name or come into her field of vision she'll give me the biggest, happiest smile. As if she is just so thrilled to see me in the morning. It melts my heart....
5) When she is done eating, she pulls herself away from me and sometimes she smacks her lips. As if to say "Yummy, Mom!". If she doesn't smack her lips then she has her eyes closed and her little lips pursed.
6) Reading her bedtime stories. She looks so intent. Like she is really listening and understanding and processing the story. OK, OK, I know that is the teacher in me, wanting that to be what is happening, but she's definitely paying attention!
7) As she wakes up she makes cute little grunty noises. And she stretches and wiggles. Then she'll fall asleep again for a bit, then wake up all over again and make those same noises. It takes her a little while to really be awake and the process is just adorable.
8) Pretty much anytime her Daddy is holding her. Those are the moments I think my heart might just explode with love--for both of them.
9) Her constant look of surprise. You can hold a spoon in front of her and it's the most amazing thing ever. Her little mouth makes an O shape and her eyes get all big and she'll just stare and stare.
10) The way she is changing every day. The other day I noticed her eyelashes...I'm not sure when this happened but they are darker and longer and curlier than they were even two days ago. And her eyes--they went from this slate gray/blue color to a lighter blue. I'm hoping they stay blue....
11) Her hiccoughs. I feel so badly for her when she has them because her whole little body vibrates from their strength, but they are so cute. Kind of squeaky and louder than you might think.
12) Pretty much anytime she is snuggling with me, which is often. She is cozy and warm and drapey and smells good and all of the amazing things a little miracle baby ought to be. I especially love when she falls asleep on me. It's the coziest, most peaceful thing in the world.
13) Her name....this may sound silly but her name feels really special to me. She is a little bit of Russ' family and a little bit of mine and a little bit all her own. And I love that.....
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I knew this would happen. I knew that it took nine months for me to gain the weight, and it would take awhile to get it off again. I also knew (and if you saw me that last month you would totally agree) that since the majority of my weight was in my belly (my God the thing was HUGE) it would take even longer for my belly to shrink to its pre-baby state. But knowing ahead of time and actually living it are two very different things.
I'm doing what I'm supposed to do--exercising, trying to avoid junk (although being home so much is dangerous. Too much temptation to just eat all day long), drinking lots of water etc. And I am shrinking. My husband had a new nickname for me lately--the incredibly shrinking woman. I've already even gone down a size. I refuse to buy a ton of new clothes. Why bother, I figure, when I won't wear them for long. This means that getting dressed in the morning kind of sucks. I have two pairs of maternity shorts that I still wear even though they are rather large. And two shorts I bought at Marshall's that are now too big of a size so they end up sagging in a most unattractive way within minutes of putting them on, and one pair of shorts that are my current size. That's it. It seems like a lot, but really, when you are wearing shorts every day, having only one pair that actually fits you..... Let's not even talk about shirts. My sister warned me that it would be difficult to find tops that fit across my newly enlarged chest as well as my protruding belly and she was right. I haven't even bought any new shirts, relying instead on the few t-shirts that I own that happen to fit me right now, and the three maternity t shirts that I bought for our February vacation. And the maternity shirts just emphasize the belly. So I try not to wear them if I know I'm going to be out in public.
So far my jeans have been the Test. I figure, when my jeans fit me again, and when I look good in them again, it means I have returned to my post baby size. Because we all know how unforgiving jeans can be. A few weeks ago, I couldn't even get them over my thighs and hips, forget about actually buttoning them. The other day, I tried again. This time, with much wiggling and grunting, I got them all the way on. Granted they are tighter than they ever used to be, and my rear fills them out in a way it never used to, and I couldn't even think about zippering or buttoning them.....but they were on and I'll admit I took some pleasure in that fact. I took even more pleasure in taking them off and putting on my cozy, loose, maternity shorts though.
The point I'm trying to make in the midst of all of this rambling is that it is amazing how clothes can make you feel. How a pair of shorts that actually fit can make you feel almost like yourself again. And the ones that don't can make you feel like a blobby bum. I'm looking forward to the day when I don't feel like a blobby bum....hopefully sooner rather than later!