Wednesday, May 27, 2009

fill pockets with trinkets (closets with shoes)

Do you ever read something and then feel, literally, like you've been punched in the gut by it? Here is what I came across recently, or more accurately what was quite purposefully shoved into my field of vision, hammered into my consciousness by God, Himself, because I believe in things like that - in divine intervention for those of us who relate all too well to the Apostle Paul and his, "For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate," line:

The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit. St. Basil the Great 4th century  

Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. It's so embarrassing, but I adore them - I collect them like stamps or coins and it has all seemed so innocuous because I buy my flip-flops, clogs, heels and sneakers from consignment stores and at outlet malls. It's a couple of dollars here and a few dollars there and, good gracious, I'm harming no one. That's what I tell myself anyway when digging around through my closet, that happens to look like a Payless Shoe Source, for a match to my tangerine colored sandal. 

But what if it's not about who I'm hurting or not hurting? What if what I'm justifying here is an addiction to things, to my impulses? This morning, my coffee maker was acting up so at 8:00 am, still wearing my complete jammies, I piled the kids in our van and drove through a Dunkin' Donuts because heaven forbid I go even thirty minutes without caffeine. When was the last time I felt that same sense of urgency to feed, dress, quench the thirst of someone else? What's five dollars here, ten dollars there to someone who is truly hungry, truly in need of the most basic of necessities? I admit to you, it is hard, quite uncomfortable for me - like having a bone set back in place that's been broken. I want to be healed of this, this enslavement to my vanity and comfort, to regain my full range of motion - if only I can endure that initial pain of letting go of my desire for more "stuff" and trust that there is freedom and satisfaction in saying "no" to myself every once in awhile and "yes" to Christ's command to love others as I love myself, which is a lot, apparently, so I best get busy. I might have to go (whew) out of my way to make that happen.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

you're gonna make me lonesome when you go

I broke the news while we were eating dinner last week and it was about as well received by my family as a pro-hunting lecture would be at a PETA convention. You're leaving us?! wailed my daughter, Priscilla, looking all desperate and hurt and betrayed, offended. I'll only be gone a couple of days, sweetheart, I assured her, thinking she'd perhaps misunderstood my explanation, that maybe when I said, long weekend in Indianapolis, she'd heard, three month safari in Africa, but I was wrong. 


My friend, Jennifer, just had a baby, this gorgeous baby: 

and I am beside myself anxious to get my hands on him. There are three of us (all mothers ourselves) heading out there shortly to do what we can to help and to celebrate with Jen, her husband, Nathan, and son, Owen, this remarkable blessing named Finn. It's hard to believe that my kids are at an age now where my presence, while certainly preferable, is not mandatory. I am stuck somewhere between giddiness and nervousness because of it. 

I've taken a turn as of late - it feels like I've just emerged from a cave of hibernation, a sometimes dark, mostly cozy little shelter from the bigger, stroller-pacifier-nap-free world outside where people do things besides change diapers and breast feed (huh?), and my eyes are having a hard time adjusting.  For most of my adult life, I've been either pregnant or nursing (sometimes both) and there is an element of fear in starting over as a thirty-four- year-old woman with, because of my children's ever increasing independence, the energy and wherewithal to pursue dreams and ideas that up until this point have lain dormant. It's scary as heck to put yourself out there and yet, at the same time, sort of thrilling. I believe it's healthy for me to develop, at this stage, my own skills and interests lest I become an overly meddlesome, micro-managing, suffocating kind of parent whose entire sense of well-being rides on the actions and attitudes of my endearingly quirky and enigmatic off-spring.

You'll be fine, I tell them, because they will be. Troy is more than capable of holding down the fort while I'm gone. No, the challenge will be in my head where feelings of guilt and apprehension will battle those of gratitude and excitement for control of my thoughts and emotions.  It's more than a weekend get away we're dealing with here, it's my embarkment into another, unfamiliar, more hands-off,  phase of motherhood - it's my chance, their chance, our chance to fly.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

reminding me of how good life can be

They came with their pack-n-plays, sippy cups and star wars figurines and we inhaled those tiny boys, those bright and brilliant little men - so busy, busy, busy and curious and delightful. We gathered together again to eat and laugh, drink and remember, sit out on the porch and just be for a minute. The weather cooperated, the inflatable pool drew in our kids and then some - the yard, our house was nothing short of teeming, brimming over, with activity. Twenty wet towels, four dozen donuts, two broken dishes and ten, No more talking. It's time to get some sleeps later, they gathered their stuff, we hugged goodbye and dispersed. Now it's back to our grind and to their grind, to our separate jobs and responsibilities. Thanks for coming and  for  reminding us of how good life can be. It was a wonderful weekend, my favorite, favorite kind of weekend! We love you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

days aren't long enough (yet another "pay attention!" kind of post because I'm so very forgetful)

I took these two pictures only fifteen minutes apart - or maybe I took one last spring and the other today. But then again, how in the world could the time have passed by that quickly?  When did Mary's hair and Benjamin's legs grow? How did their faces mature without me noticing? This morning I bought another headache of an inflatable pool, the kind that takes forever to blow-up and fill with water and then just as long to drain and put away again. What a rip-off, I grumbled initially, thinking I'd just spent $30.00 dollars (last week? last month?) on the now useless, leaking, blue and white pile of plastic gathering dust and cobwebs in our garage. I thought it was ridiculous to waste money again on something so expendable until it dawned on me that it had been two whole years since I'd last had to purchase one - that we'd gotten days and days and days and days worth of play out of our last pool. How is it warm enough already to go swimming?

I took a look at my calendar last night and scratched my head at all of the filled-in squares, at all of the events scheduled, at the brevity of summer. So much to do! So much to do! So easy to get lost in the details, forgetting the here and now. But my house is dirty! But my e-mails are accumulating!  But I don't know where to begin, how to catch up! But, hold it a second; don't I feel that way always? Am I not hopping right back on to the same tired old treadmill? Wait, life is blooming, my kids are blossoming, love is ripe for the picking, the devouring! Take it easy there, sister. Let's keep this all in perspective. The days aren't long enough, there's no extra time for brooding and moaning over petty things, inconsequential things, over things that simply won't count for much in the end.

In a living room in Indianapolis, sits one of my dearest friends in the world rocking her sweet and healthy newborn after the most horrific pregnancy and birth you can imagine. On Saturday, I'll see my godson, my delightful, adorable godson and his just as adorable twin brothers. They will splash with my children in our brand new extra large pool - oh boy are they excited. Tonight I will go to book club. I really like book club - what a treat! Yesterday, was my grandpa's birthday, my grandpa the prolific blogger. My brother's new podcast about film and culture is now up on Ancient Faith Radio and I am thrilled because I think he's brilliant. The weather? simply gorgeous! My kitchen? a disaster! My future? A complete mystery. Better to soak in, drink in, swallow all I can than to tune out those fleeting chances to participate in something significant and eternal.   Better to keep my eyes open, taking one - small - step - at - a - time. 

Another year has come and gone
Another circle ‘round the sun
Another thousand tears have fallen
I don’t ever count ‘em ‘cause 
I’m surrounded by your love 
And days are never long enough

Four more seasons on parade
Show their colors then they fade
But that won’t happen to us, darlin’
We’ll remember how it was
Then begin again because 
Days are never long enough

Time’s never late 
Isn’t bound by our fate
Try as we may
Love might never be found if we wait 
Until the sun comes up
On another day my love
Days are never long enough

Time’s never late 
Isn’t bound by our fate
Try as we may
Love might never be found if we wait 
Until the sun comes up
On another day my love
Days are never long enough

 -Days Aren't Long Enough
   Steve Earle

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

before you met me I was a fairy princess

People are always telling me how lucky I am to be raising a real live princess. Isn't it fabulous, they ask, to hang out with royalty all the time? And then I laugh a little and try to break it to  them gently that it's actually quite a bit harder than it seems.  Because what they don't reveal in Disney films is that princesses, real live ones, require a lot of upkeep - they have many, many needs and opinions to take into consideration before heading out the door to run an errand or visit a friend. They break down sometimes in frustration when others fail to recognize their uber-specialness, their inherited right to be catered to. 

Sure there are plenty of time-outs on the "whining throne,"  plenty of lessons on how princesses ought to speak (kindly) and ought to share (generously). Surely, surely, it is labor intensive but along the way, I've been blessed by her conviction that what appears, upon first glance, to be ordinary and mundane has the potential to become majestic with but a simple change of perspective. Princesses, real ones anyway, find beauty in everything.  For now, I am the mother of a tiny queen in training. What can I say? It's the role of a lifetime and I'm trying my hardest to appreciate every minute of it - to curb the "give me-s," the sense of entitlement, without dampening her enthusiasm, imagination, confidence and spunk. Someday, I'll look back and recall only the sparkly, shining parts. I'll say to the mother of a crowned three-year-old at the library or in line at the grocery store, Well, goodness, aren't you lucky? My memories will, like all great fairy tales, remain charmingly biased and golden.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

when I see you smile

We could not have asked for more perfect weather in which to cruise down Lake Shore Drive staring at the sights, the familiar landmarks, the hordes of people jogging, biking, sailing, exploring. Saturday was museum day for all of us Sabourins, except poor Priscilla whose up and down fever kept her home with grandma and grandpa (where she was lovingly coddled and doted on). Mary had her first big alone adventure with her godparents, the Lamberts, at the Kohls Children's museum and Troy, Ben, Elijah, my sister-in-law, Carrie, and I headed to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was crowded, of course, which necessitated plenty of "Stay with us!" reminders but other than that, all went smoothly - except for that time when one of our boys (can you guess who from the pictures?), who had brought along some saved up birthday money, bought a souvenir in the gift shop causing his penniless brother no small amount of agony.   True to his nature, however, my little trooper got the envy all of out his system relatively quickly and was able to fully enjoy the many hands on, climb on, way cool  displays and activities the museum had to offer. It was a joy for me to watch them ooh and awe at some of the same exhibits I liked as a child. It made me smile to see them smile. And yes, in case you were wondering, you are listening to a cover of the song made famous by the 80's band, Whitesnake. Does it make anyone else besides me nostalgic? 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

come by storm

 I heard it out loud: CRACK!  A flash of light. A roll of thunder.  I was wide awake at 2:00 am - awake as a nocturnal newborn at the breast of her sleepy mother.  For the remainder of the storm I sat upright, half mesmerized by, half terrified of, nature's fury. I felt small, small and vulnerable but my husband, my children, they rode it out peacefully, kept right on dreaming. Finally, though, near the end, when of all that sparking and booming had, for the most part, run its course, Benji stumbled into our bed and I was grateful for his need to be comforted. There is nothing to worry about, sweetheart, I whispered confidently, repeatedly, just like I was supposed to. Hours later, I awoke to brightness, to a dry calm. I tend to be braver, coherent, less forgetful, when the sun is shining.

Mom! You've got to look at this! Out front my eldest son was pointing wildly to a massive tree limb blocking our sidewalk and blowing the minds of passers- by with its hugeness and gnarled branches reaching out into the street like the fingers of a zombied corpse. It was a haunting scene, one I couldn't look away from until they came in with their chain saws and, quick as a wink, cut the whole mess down into manageable, cartable sized pieces. And now no evidence remains, save the jagged, exposed, butter-colored, bark-less insides of a trunk maimed and scarred by the violence of spring. 

I think I need a nap but, boy oh boy, it sure is nice out. I'd kind of hate to close my eyes in the midst of such beauty.