On Running with a Baby

On Running with a Baby

9:00– leave house motivated to run AND say the Rosary while pushing baby in stroller

9:02– get to end of the driveway and realize you have forgotten the binky, worry this could be a problem (despite the snacks/toys/drink you stocked the stroller with) but hope for the best

9:04– almost finish Apostles Creed…baby throws toy car out of stroller, run to retrieve and decide to start the prayer over again

9:06– toy car tossed from stroller again, prayer once again not quite finished, but this time just move on to the 1st Our Father

9:07– car tossed one more time, realize this has become a game to said baby and take away toy car, commence screaming baby

9:10– can’t take screaming anymore and totally unable to concentrate on 1st mystery, stop to give baby cup of blueberries

9:16– finish 1st decade, feeling good, baby has been quiet munching blueberries UNTIL…

9:17– baby somehow sees playground which you deliberately ran out of the way to avoid and begins whining and begging for the swing

9:18– stop to push baby on the swing, enjoy his happy smiles and convince yourself you deserve this break…even though you have not yet run half a mile

9:25– resume run, start 2nd decade

9:26– baby waves at woman walking down the sidewalk, woman is entranced by your adorable child (can’t really blame her) and stops you so she can wave back and talk to baby (but can’t you see I’m running here lady?!)

9:29– wave goodbye to nice, albeit annoying, lady and take to the road again

9:32– baby starts asking for a drink, stop to give him sippy cup

9:35– baby throws sippy cup out of stroller, so not playing this game again, promptly take it and give him a pinecone from the ground to distract him

9:38– realize the sun has been shining on baby’s legs for quite some time now, stop to put sunscreen on him… because you’re a mom

9:40– resume run, decide to finish Rosary later because it’s WAY too hard to give God your attention right now

9:45– five solid minutes of running and quiet, feeling great (a.k.a. finally warmed up)!

9:47– [scratch that] baby sees street sweeper truck down the road, excitedly yells “CAR CAR” and reaches out longingly, stop to let baby watch the car clean the road

9:50– baby motions for his Binky, you know this means trouble and decide to start heading back for home

9:56– pull into the driveway with a screaming child and feel utterly defeated that you have been gone an hour and have not even run 3 miles (at least it’s almost nap time now…)

10:00– in the house, baby has binky, he snuggles up in your arms and asks you to read him a book (not seeming to mind the sweaty mess you are…which is really just sad because in reality you only ran a total of about 8 minutes)

10:01– say a prayer of thanks for the sweet baby in your arms and decide that despite the fact that you will likely never be in shape again, you wouldn’t change one thing

Wash the Plate

Wash the Plate

“Wash the plate not because it’s dirty, nor because you’re told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.”

This quote attributed to Blessed (very soon-to-be Saint!) Mother Teresa very much embodies how I feel called to live out my vocation as a catholic wife and mother. Much of motherhood involves what seem to be mundane, thankless tasks. Fold the laundry, do the dishes, make dinner, clean the house, feed the baby, entertain the baby, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I have never taken for granted how blessed I am to spend every moment with my son, and I am eternally grateful to my husband for working so hard for us and providing in such a way that I am able to do so, I would not change a thing. However, I am also someone who thrives on outward signs of appreciation as motivation, and it was an adjustment for me to find peace in the behind-the-scenes service required of us in our vocation as mothers. There is never so much of a shift away from ourselves and onto others as when we become mothers, as the moment you feel your child growing within you and know that God has called you and found you worthy to bring new life into the world.

There is no question that I love my husband and son more than I could ever express, that they are my greatest gifts, but the selflessness of motherhood is something I am still working to fully embrace. I have asked God to help me live out His chosen vocation for me as best as I possibly can, from a place of only love and not expectations. I know I can’t do it alone and I will never do so perfectly, but with His grace I am striving to be the wife, mother, and Catholic He created me to be. So, I’m learning to love the dirty dishes, because I love the people who use them. (Loving the laundry though, I might need a little more (Ok, a lot more) of His grace for that one… :))

Special, All About You, Day

Special, All About You, Day

I decided that today was going to be all about Jack (I mean if we’re honest here, every day is all about Jack) but today I really wanted to do some things that I thought he would enjoy and which would entertain him outside of the norm. So I packed up his favorite snacks, loaded his wagon (his favorite thing, he would live in it if he could) into the car, and set out for a special park in Portland. This particular park is about 25 minutes away from the house, but it is an extinct volcano with stunning scenery and a beautiful reservoir and I really thought Jack would get a kick out of the surroundings and the “newness” of it all. I was excited to share it with him, and to be honest, I was mostly excited to pat myself on the back at the end of it for being A+ #1 mom and giving him a great day.

But you know what actually happened? Jack was all but oblivious to the fact that we were somewhere new, that mom drove all this way for him to have a special day. All he cared about were his raisins and his sippy cup and his toy cars and riding along in his little red wagon. He hardly even glanced up the entire walk, and we may as well have been walking down our own street. My picking him up and prompting him to look closer was just met with an uninterested gaze and an arm reaching longingly back towards his wagon. I felt some frustration building up inside of me. I had gone out of my way, had wanted to be an awesome mom today and expected some kind of reaction from him… but I got nothing, no small reward for my efforts.

And yet, how similar is this experience to our relationship with God? How often are we too caught up in our day to day, in what we think is most important, that we fail to see all of the special things the Lord is trying to show us? He makes so many attempts every day to pull us closer to Him, to show us His face, but if we are caught up in our raisins and cars… our iPhone, the laundry, trying to do everything to be perfect moms, how will we ever notice when God is trying to show us His plan? And sometimes even when we do hear His voice, asking us to serve Him, to come to Him in prayer, calling us toward His divine plan for us… how often do we want to retreat back to our little red wagons? To our safe space, where no more is required of us than what we are comfortably willing to do or give.

But God waits for us. He waits to be gracious to us.

“The LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show mercy to you.” –Isaiah 30:18

Can you believe that? God waits to be gracious to each and every one of us, because that is how incredible the love He has for us is. He doesn’t get frustrated by our thanklessness at how much He has done for us, like I did with Jack. He doesn’t keep track of the blessings He bestows on us and get angry when we don’t react to them as He intends. Instead, He remains ever present and patient, waiting to be gracious to us over and over again. God has our own ‘special, all about us, day’ planned for us… every single day. We just have to give Him a little bit of our time, and open our hearts to what He is trying to show us.

… And don’t worry, Jack will have plenty more “special, all about him, days” in the future. As his mother who loves him immensely, I can only hope that many of them are because he has heard God’s voice, not just Mom’s.