29 November 2009

5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Happy New Year!

Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear!
Arise, O Sun so longed for, over this benighted sphere!
With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth's redemption that sets your people free!*

*LSB 515:4

24 November 2009

Humph day

The nursling is eight months old this week, which means in about eight months I could (DV) be pregnant again!

It's good to have a system.

The commissariat is growing less stubborn, perhaps.
Though it still enjoys a good spit.

22 November 2009

One, two, three, five

Wise reader Moore Mama observed that the paths of pregnancy following miscarriage are not clearly marked. And how.

Exhibit A: “How many children do you have?”

I list off our three children and say, “And another baby is due in May,” not, “We’re expecting our fourth child.” I haven’t corrected anyone for referring to this baby as our fourth child, though I never hear that without a moment of painful inner confusion. I just don’t like making people feel sad and awkward, especially since it’s not their fault that the numbers are all screwed up.

Truthfully, I don’t really know how to count, especially publicly, from here on out. Maybe this gets less weird over time, but maybe not (?). There will always be a gap, a silent skip, in the numbers. Since this baby will be but 26 months younger than his toddling brother, there’s not even a dramatic pause to mark the lost one. Miscarriage can be a silent sorrow, indeed.

For now, if I feel like it, I mention the lost one in my baby list. If I don’t, I don’t. But I always, always think of him when I name off my children.

‘Tis an unmarked path indeed. I’m grateful for the guard rails (and fellow travelers) that keep my wandering missteps from tumbling me over a cliff on the dark nights: Ultimately, it matters not how the world, or even I, number my children. No matter how I count them, they count for nothing, unless they’re numbered with the saints. Thank you, Jesus, for choosing, excruciatingly, to etch your love for my children on your very flesh, indelibly.

Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands
( Isaiah 49:15-16)

19 November 2009

It's a tossup

as to whether I expend more effort undoing what they do, or doing what they undo.

Sure, it was a big rock, and a bit repetitious and discouraging and whatnot, but Sisyphus had only the one task. Mothers find multiple rockslides every time they turn around.

16 November 2009

Bulimics and hyperemetic pregnant women can’t both be wrong

Ice cream is the ideal food: Easy down . . . and . . . easy up.

Ew. Sorry.

I know way too many women, including myself in my last full-term pregnancy, who’ve been on anti-emetics—not for comfort or convenience, but because the safety of Mom and/or Baby was at stake. Which got me to wondering: Was it ever thus? What did they do before anti-emetics? Is there some great homeopathic remedy for the inaptly named “morning sickness” that we’ve lost over the years? Or have women undergone a serious devolution from our stronger foremothers?

We hear lots about the sobering infant and maternal mortality statistics of yesteryear, but those usually deal with childbirth and the first year of infancy. The only historical reference to morning sickness that comes to my mind is a brief mention in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The First Four Years. (NB: My mind is like a steel sieve nowadays, and I didn’t actually research this. Please feel hereby invited to do my homework for me.)

Did pregnant pilgrims and pioneers puke to the point of dangerous dehydration? And if so, how did they survive, to say nothing of carrying on with the myriad daily tasks that had to be done? (And I mean really had to be done, not geez-this-place-looks-like-a-wreck done.) Even when the nausea and vomiting knock me down hard, I can summon heat, light, and water with the minimal exertion of a finger. When I can’t make it into the kitchen, the people in the house who are inclined to eat can usually still find something edible in the pantry or freezer—and if not, Dad can make a quick grocery store run. There may be an overwhelming pile in the quadrant formerly known as the hamper, but I’m pretty sure that if I had to hie me down to the crick and scrub the duds on the rocks, the laundry would for real never get done.

Probably women have been cursed with hyperemesis gravidarum ever since being booted out of the Garden, and, like so much of mother-related history, the story hasn’t been told because the matrons of yore were too busy industriously living their lives to waste time blogging about it. :P

15 November 2009

I just gotta know

Help me out, America. Amazon's Kindle: Yeah? or Meh?

It's the "read to me" feature that's got me wondering. There are a lot of spaghetti sauce book fatalities in my kitchen; Kindle might save the day, there.

But then again, screens = phhlbbbt. kwim?

And then again further,
that inevitable coffee Kindle fatality would be baaaaaaaaaad.
These things aren't Cylon basestar cool,
whatever they might cost.

14 November 2009

Smell ya later

Big. Tired. Hibernating. Or perhaps brumating, considering.

Posting responsibilities have been indefinitely pushed off on my beautiful associates to whatever extent they feel like assuming them.

13 November 2009

True Marsh eyes

I mentioned awhile back how I feel about the girlie men of Hollywood. There are others who find the preponderance of girlie men to be problematic.

I've also mentioned, via my friend's post, how I feel about fish. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you suitable evidence that the real danger of Hollywood's girlie men is that they are not men, but fish:

I shall plan my cousin's escape from that Canton mad-house,
and together we shall go to marvel-shadowed Innsmouth.
We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and
dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean
and many-columned Y'ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones
we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.

The only notable difference: Mr. Pattinson is clearly wearing makeup. Beware, America. Beware.

HT on the Derbyshire bit: Mr. Jones.

12 November 2009

Estate planning

For all the contemporary angst about how terrible it is having to care for aging parents, I'm surprised more people don't see the wisdom in making some effort to allow the burden to be more widely shared. Someday Dad and I may well be old and decrepit. But the chances that our care will become the heavy task of one person are comparatively low. God willing, the responsibility will fall to at least five adult children rather than one or two.

If and when that time comes, I hope our children will say, "We didn't get diamond chip earrings and X-Boxes for Christmas when we were five years old, but we're sure glad to have each other now." This provision for them which God has graciously enabled us to make seems so much more beneficial. People and families last longer than childhoods. I'm not clear on why "family planning" focuses so much on the latter.

10 November 2009

Jury duty

My qualification questionnaire wants to know what my occupation is. I'm going with "Mother."

Apparently I could get myself exempted if I were "essential to the care of [an] aged or infirm person." Being essential to the care of a non-aged-or-infirm person who cannot feed, clean, or protect himself from his own suicidal impulses, to say nothing of his only slightly more competent siblings, doesn't count for anything. So I guess I'm going to have to make my case as "a person [for] whom jury service would constitute a severe hardship." My husband advises that I also attempt a preemptive strike by letting them know up front that I believe in jury nullification.

Maybe the politically incorrect demographic info I'm putting up here will be enough to get me out of it anyway.

08 November 2009

Fearfully and Wonderfully

God has presented us with the imponderable: a child who would not exist if his slightly older sibling had survived. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being pregnant again. Have we forgotten the little one we lost? Is this child, who occupies the space that would still have been his sibling’s, some sort of replacement? Any mother knows how foolish those questions are—and yet I inarticulately feared that carrying another child “too soon” would somehow lessen the worth of the one we lost. Alternately, I yearned to be pregnant again (by no means a usual state of mind for me), and then felt vaguely guilty for hoping to find healing through another pregnancy.

God in His mercy, in His time, has fearfully, wondrously consoled us with this gift. Even as we long to live in the presence of the Lord with all our children, we look forward, God willing, to the tender awe of holding a squalling new baby in our arms on this groaning old earth.

Amid our joy, my heart aches anew for those who have lost a child and whose wombs and arms are yet empty. May our Lord hear the cries of the brokenhearted and answer according to His infinite wisdom and compassion.

05 November 2009

And now I don't know what to name this post

You may recall that we're very particular about baby names in our house. It is a matter of theological and historical precision and, this time around, an all new level of marital animosity. But we've reached a peaceable agreement.

Anyway, two great things happened. First, you know that thing people say about how you should think of what terrible insults other kids will make out of your kid's name? Well, we've never bothered with that. Then I was interrogated by some of the school kids of my acquaintance about the impending baby. They wanted to know what the name would be, and I told them. And a kid instantly, inspiredly opened his blessed mouth, from which sprang the perfect insultification of our boy name. It was hilarious. It was exquisitely idiotic in true kid insult fashion. It was SO OBVIOUS. It was awesome. I'm going to congratulate his mother for having raised such a fine son the next time I see her.

Then we were talking with another couple, pregnant with their first baby. We asked them if they had names, and if they were sharing. They were. Their boy name was the same fairly obscure, popularly unpopular though not prohibitively weird name of our selection. We all stood around with our mouths open. I mean, for real? You're kidding, right? Seriously, we don't know one living human with this name, and if the name trend charts are to be believed, pretty much no one else does.

The duplication doesn't bother me; I think it's a good catholic name and that people should use good catholic names, and I hope it doesn't bother them too much. And the insult doesn't bother me either because I think my kid will be able to handle it. But it's been a funny couple of weeks on the name front.

04 November 2009

Just because it's so darn funny

Once upon a time I worked in an office. A weird office. A weird office in which all my co-workers were women who attended churches with "Lutheran" on the sign out front. The sign outside our office building also included the word "Lutheran."

Occasionally in this office (it was an inbound call center), we office workresses would find ourselves trying to explain to confused callers what all the different kinds of Lutherans were. Here are all the different kinds of Lutherans:

ELCA: ordains women
LCMS: us (indicating the employer, not necessarily the worker)
WELS: doesn't let women vote

There you have it, folks. American Lutheranism as Lutheran women see it.

03 November 2009

I beg to propose

If I have one kid who's great with vegetables, another who packs away cheese, another who subsists primarily on one gigantic infusion of biscuits and gravy once a week, and one who only eats meat, there's some case to be made for our family having a balanced diet, right?

02 November 2009

The Good

In which I try to explain why I feel like often when I speak honestly it's sad and angry, because on the whole I don't feel like a sad and angry person, and if you ran into me at church or on the sidewalk you wouldn't think I was either.

The trying and tiring and disheartening and isolating are easy to write about, because everyone has known them, and we long to be known as we endure them. There is no mystery in weariness, because everyone has cried out "Why?" and "How long?" We share our sadness so that we will not be sad alone.

But while happy families may be all alike, the Good is much harder to share. It is too easily caricatured into the insipid, too quickly candied by a sentimental recipient mind. Finding a word truer than an innocuous "wonderful" to express the mystery of our private joys is dangerous. The Good is too intimate to describe or share; even, sometimes, to think about. To touch it is to risk cheapening it, and to share it is to risk turning it into someone else's boredom.

The weight of a warm, confused baby when you lift her from her nap; the way a little boy trotting along clumpily in overalls supersaturates the heart; watching how a bowl of grapes (!) can make a little one the single happiest person on earth; the extemporaneous sacred yodeling of an aspiring hymnwriter; the incisive question unexpectedly sprouted from the hidden mind of one's own child; that hour when everyone is together and laughing and a mother knows she's the center of all these people by God's grace--that is already being shared with the only people who can truly delight in it, in the moment in which it is real and now. It's Better that way, if you ask me.