A Library Scene

Scene: Midday, suburban library. Kathleen and Squeaks and Buddy enter, and go to the front desk.

Buddy: Excuse me. I am sorry for dis book.

Librarian: Pardon.

Buddy: Dis book. I ripped it. I am sorry.

Kathleen: We need to pay for a replacement for this book.

Librarian: Ah, I see. Well, we accept your apology. Sometimes things happen. (struggles to hold back a smile.)

Buddy: I very sorry. Thank you.

Librarian: Okay, let’s see here. I’m not sure how to…*asks other librarian* Do I mark it as lost?”

Other Librarian: Well, were they just damaged or were they ripped out?

Buddy: *pipes up* Dey were ripped out. I’m sorry.

Other Librarian: (also trying not to smile) OKay then, thank you for apologizing. Yeah, just mark it as lost and they can keep the item after paying.

Kathleen: Oh. Good. A $22 board book. At least we’ve all learned something here.

Buddy: I sorry.

END SCENE.

Things That Keep Me Up At Night

I have trouble sleeping. It hasn’t always been this way, before Buddy came I could pass out with the best of them. After Buddy, well, let’s just say I discovered the joys of Unisom. And now that I’ve weaned myself off of that (not for any reason like it was good for my body, but rather because it was making NyQuil less effective and I really need to keep a NyQuil shot in my back pocket in case of colds, you guys. BECAUSE CHILDREN.) it’s back to insomnia.

***

“I need to go to the store tomorrow. Ugh. I ┬áhate going to the store with the kids. I hate going to the store period. I want to buy stuff. I want to buy waay more stuff than we can afford. I wonder how much money I spent on Gwynnie Bee this month.

Hmm. I could check.

Nope, you’re not supposed to use your phone before bed. Blue light or something.

Need to go to the library too. Don’t have time to do a real library trip with the kids, so they’ll be super cranky. Yay.

I wonder if I read to them enough. I know Squeaks reads all the time, but does Buddy get shortchanged? I mean, he does speak in a British accent from all of his Netflix shows.

Does he watch too much Sarah and Duck?

He pronounces “shallots” “shal-LOTS” now. Ugh, I’m a horrible mother.

What about their other subjects. I’m probably not doing enough. I mean, how am I going to teach her division this year? I hated division.

We’re going to fight so much. I hate fighting with her. I expected fighting when she was a teeanger and realized how quickly I married her dad, but not now.

Ugh, did I marry her dad too quickly? Did I completely mess her up?

What about religion. I mean, that’s the most important thing. Division won’t matter if we’re all rotting in hell because I’m a horrible mother.

I should say the rosary with them more often. That’s like the thing that people say kept their kids Catholic. But SO MUCH FIGHTING.

And I mean what does this matter if there’s a schism and then I have to probably buy new materials anyway so whatever, not worth worrying.

Oh God. What if there’s a schism?

No, no, not my problem. Not my monkeys. The gates of hell shall not prevail and all that.

I feel like I’m forgetting something. I wrote down Irish dancing on the calendar. I can’t believe we’re an Irish dancing family now. Ugh. I hate having obligations. I just want to have them be little and nap and cuddle.

Maybe you should have another baby then.

NO NO BABY RIGHT NOW.

But…

NO YOU ARE STILL CRAZY. YOU ARE STILL LYING AWAKE AT NIGHT WORRYING ABOUT HOW BUDDY PRONOUNCES VEGETABLE NAMES.

Well yeah okay. But then I’d have someone that wasn’t taking lessons and shit.

Yes, but you’d have to bring them to the lessons. Squeaks isn’t going to get younger because you have another kid.

True.

GYMNASTICS.

I forgot to sign Buddy up for gymnastics. I’ll bet they’re full. I promised him. I know he doesn’t remember but I feel badly. He’s being raised by a cartoon duck.

And Sarah.

Meh, I didn’t really want to take him anyway. And I’ll bet he’d have to be potty-trained for the next level.

Seriously. He needs to be potty trained.

But he’s not ready. I know but he should be. That’s stupid, kids should not do anything they’re not ready for. I KNOW BUT SOCIETY.

Honestly, schism is less concerning than my kid’s diapers. Those are HORRIFYING.

Maybe I should just say the rosary and that will help me fall asleep.

But I should say it tomorrow with the kids too. So they don’t leave the Church.

Okay. Good plan. Grocery, library, rosary. Then nap.

Oh goodness, then a nap.

Wait. Do I have dinner planned?

***

The struggle. It is real. And insane. And kind of funny.

Marriage

Guys, I went to a wedding on Saturday. And no offense to every other wedding I’ve been at, but this was the best. Like, it was the most beautiful wedding Mass ever. Like, it was better than mine.

Yes. I got more spiritually out of this wedding than I did my own.

(To be fair, I had Gather Us In as the opening song. Oh, the way we were.)

This was a Novus Ordo, Versus Populem Mass. Totally normal, totally in English. Nothing exceptional. Except- it was exceptional. It was so well said and reverent and joyful that the utterly unbelievably exceptional experience of transcendence that happens at EVERY MASS (even the ones with Gather Us In) was able to shine through in a way we don’t get to experience very often.

I was so proud of my cousin and his wife for doing it this way. I was so thankful to the priest for putting so much thought and effort into his homily and the way in which he moved through the Mass. I was so heartened in my vocation of Christian marriage that I wanted to have a baby.

Yeah, you read that right. A Mass was so beautiful and made me so happy to be in my position in life that I WANTED TO GET PREGNANT.

Buzz and I had been bickering most of the day. I was late getting up and selfish getting ready and cranky driving and just generally in a bad mood. He was in a bad mood too, and doing things that annoyed me and being annoying and we were just not at our best. Even in the church before Mass we were fighting. Not about anything big but I was being obnoxious and he was being annoying.

And then…this Mass. This Mass you guys. It was so gorgeous. The homily was so beautiful, all hinging on the sacred nature of the vocation of Christian marriage. How through Christian marriage we will save the world. And finally, the altar of sacrifice. How we take vows in front (or off to the side of- because again, GATHER US IN) of the altar of sacrifice because we are offering our marriage and ourselves to God through this vocation.

We don’t ever hear that. Marriage should just be funsies, all the time, right? I mean, weddings are just one big party! But they’re not. They’re the beginning of a life devoted entirely to each other and your family. You lay down your life for your spouse every day, and you do it joyfully because that is your vocation. Even when you’re feeling obnoxious. Even when they’re annoying.

And that? That is amazingly beautiful. And it made me look over at my husband and apologize to him because I was not being a selfless wife, I was being a cranky person who did not care about anyone except herself. And he apologized to me too. And then we went and drank and had a lovely night.

And as far as getting pregnant? Well, the homily was pretty awesome but unfortunately it did not remove the psychological and physical reasons to avoid right now. But I’m impressed with myself that I felt that way. Maybe soon.

Congratulations to Jack and Olivia, and thank you for sharing such a beautiful example of Christian marriage with all of us.

Snaps from a Weekend

We have had a weekend y’all. So much fun so much to do, so little sleep.

And waaay too many gin and tonics. Although that’s probably just me.

On Thursday evening Buzz had work dinner (see previous post for snark) and I took the kids to see their uncle run his open mic. And then they climbed up on stage because of course all the patrons wanted to see them. Obviously. 

$4 vodka mixers yo.


 

Friday was zoo ala Carte, when my father in law buys us a ton of food and it’s just delightful. 

(Even me. The girl that married his daughter’s husband. I get food tickets. That’s how nice these people are.) 

We wrapped up the day at Irish Fest with just me and buzz and I discoveee I really like dry cider.

Also how cute is my sister’s little family?
Saturday was my cousin’s wedding, and it was so glorious that om going to write about it next time. But here are some of the more superficial pics I snapped that day. 

I got to get dressed by myself. It was amazing.

I was really feeling my look. 

We’re related.


It was a really nice bathroom and I really wanted to stea stuff. 

Sunday was Irish Fest, now with 100% more my new lady love, Megan!

The misspelling belies how much unneeded the black coffee. 

Buddy was so mad that people were paying attention to Squeaks that he tried to climb back in the womb.

Monday we all took off to recover and watch the eclipse- for the three seconds the clouds parted.

Joey could care less about the eclipse. 

Fiat

When I was in college, I read Jaroslav Pelikan’s Mary Through the Centuries. Although I had known all this since childhood, it was the first time that I read a rational argument based on the contradiction between Eve and Mary.

Tradition holds that a “no” to God, uttered by a woman, doomed humanity. We also hold that a “yes” to God, uttered by a woman, saved humanity. 

How important then is woman? And how important then is every single one of our answers to God?

Yes, all of salvation history hinged on Mary’s answer to God at the Annunciation. Yes, Mary, by virtue of her Immaculate Conception had the unique privilege of already having been saved by the Son she was agreeing to carry. But she was human. It was a decision. 

Our decisions will never be like that. But they give us a chance to say yes or no to God throughout the day, throughout our lives. 

Am I more like Mary or like Eve? 

I have never turned away from God for no reason. I always have reasons for my sins, for my “no.” But then, didn’t Eve have reasons? The serpent told me to, I didn’t think you’d find out, Adam did it too! Not reasons to turn away from God.

And didn’t Mary have reasons? Wouldn’t Mary’s life have been easier if she had said “ugh this really isn’t a good time,” to God? Certainly nothing in my life compares to having to agree to be essentially a single mother in 1st century Palestine and then watch my baby die on the cross for humanity. 

I’m selfish. I yell at my kids when I get frustrated. I have a reason- they’re misbehaving or I’m tired or I’ve had a long day. I am mean to my husband. I have a reason- he said something insensitive, I’m tired. I say no to God in a myriad of ways as He tries to work in my life. I always have reasons. Are they reasons good enough? Sometimes. Often not. Often I’m just selfish. 

Am I more like Eve or like Mary?

I want to do what I want when I want. I pay attention to all the big stuff, shouldn’t my life be easy? Eve’s no says yes, it should be. God wants you to be happy all the time. Mary’s yes says no. God doesn’t want us to be happy in this world necessarily. He wants us to be happy with him in heaven forever. That requires sacrifice. 

Our Lady, help me to be more like you. 


(Image via wikiart.org.) 

Stages of a Work Dinner

1.) Husband informs you he needs to stay late for a work dinner sometime next week.

2.) You agree automatically, probably because he could say something like, “Darling, I’m leaving you for someone without a front butt and taking the children,” during dinnertime and I’d be like. “Fine, whatever. Give Buddy some more toast, will you?”

3.) Stop and realize that you just agreed to more alone childcare. Ask husband where he’s going.

4.) He hems and haws and won’t look at you.

5.) “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

6.) *tiny voice* “Really expensive restaurant…”

7.) What?

8.) *ahem* “Really expensive restaurant.”

9.) Oh, you mean the restaurant we could never afford to go to? That one. Fine. Fine. Have a good time. “WORKING.”

10.) Stew about that for a week or so, passive aggressively dropping it into every conversation involving food, drinks, work, or evening.

11.) Decide screw that, if you get dinner and cocktails with real adults I get to order delivery pizza and invite my sister over.

12.) Eat all the pizza.

13.) Tell husband he has to stay away long enough that you can get a couple of solitary Criminal Minds episodes in. Because if he’s missing bedtime he sure as hell isn’t going to also take away a quiet evening to yourself.

14.) Yell at children until they stay in their bedrooms.

15.) Begin drinking.

16.) Text husband repeatedly about what he’s drinking and eating and who he’s sitting next to and doesn’t he miss you?

17.) Husband stops responding. Probs too busy with his martini and raw oysters.

18.) Remember you don’t like raw oysters. Or oysters at all.

19.) Don’t care. Still mad.

20.) Get to a particularly creepy episode of Criminal Minds. Text husband and tell him he’d better call before he lets himself in or I might accidentally call the police because he’s obviously trying to kill me.

21.) Ask him what he’s eating now. Get mad about whatever the answer is.

22.) Eat some more pizza.

23.) Husband says he’s coming home.

24.) Alert the police to stop the perimeter around your house.

25.) Husband gets home.

26.) Bug him about the whole evening.

27.) He assures you nothing fun happened, it was a work dinner.

28.) Don’t believe him, because probably no one sat on his head or threw a piece of bread at him. Probably.

29.) He assures you he’d rather be home with you.

30.) Don’t believe him, but thank him anyways.

Marriage. It’s about compromise.

Things Buddy Wants To Be For Halloween.

I’m sorry, I don’t mean for this blog to become omg look at my son he is so cute drooooolzzzz, but kid is in a particularly hilarious stage lately. 

1.) A priest. (Awww! My heart! It is warmed! I am a good mother!)

2.) A ninja priest. (Say what?)

3.) A ghost priest. (Um…)

4.) A turtle.

5.) A baby turtle. (Well yeah, don’t leave cute points on the table.)

6.) Darth Vader. (I think this is just a ploy to get to wear his uncle’s cherished collectible mask.)

7.) A ghost. (Me: “Aww, like a cute ghost?” Buddy: “No. A ghost to scare people.” Oookay.)

8.) Sarah (of Sarah and Duck.)

9.) Duck (of Sarah and Duck.)

10.) A conductor. (Me: “Like on a train?” Buddy: *scoffs* “No. Like to teach people music.” Gosh, Mommy.)

Exactly How It’s Supposed to Be

Sometimes I’ll be hauling children into my house and fighting with them about whether it’s playtime or naptime and stumbling over toys that are left in my formal living room and the pillows that are not left on the couch like they OBVIOUSLY should be and I have to run after my son who is using my family heirloom dining table as a racetrack for his firetruck and my husband has left his dirty nasty underwear on the floor for the…well, how many days have we been living here?th day straight and I am struck by the thought, “This is not how it’s supposed to be.”

I’ve known I was going to live in my house for a long time. When I was pretty young I knew that it would be mine. And then when we spent a year fixing it up it was done expressly with the plan of my moving in. It was my house. I knew exactly what I wanted and where I wanted it and it was my house.

My being the operative word.

I was single. Really, really, really single. I hadn’t ever really had a boyfriend. I dated only occasionally because most people bugged me. The one guy I was interested in left me at a Starbucks because he was contemplating the priesthood. (So I got that square on Catholic girl bingo.)

I was in a profession where people either got married super late or not at all, and even if they did their fates were tied to whatever university would hire them. I was seriously limiting myself professionally by swearing to stay in Milwaukee, and I couldn’t really hope to find the perfect guy on top of it, right?

I was going to live alone in this house of mine. If I allowed myself to picture my life there, it was definitely alone. I would jump out of my car by myself and walk unhindered into my house. I would not have to brush away the tiny flying bugs that might be on the porch because my children are terrified on any bug at all (It’s summer. Get over it.) I hang my bag in the empty, clean closet and walk through my clean living room to make myself coffee or pour myself a glass of wine, depending on what time of day it is. The kitchen is of course spotless, because I only had to put away my healthy breakfast dishes in the morning. I flip on the TV to some ridiculous cable channel that I still know exists, and sink down at my clean desk that is in no way colored on to see if there is anything pressing that requires my attention. After relaxing and enjoying the evening I replace what little detritus there was from one person relaxing for an evening and go up to my bedroom that is decorated exactly how I like and painted gray without anyone whining about how “gray is such a depressing color!” and definitely doesn’t smell like adult male bottom. Just…all the time, I don’t know why. There is no lingering scent of diaper or little girl lipstick or whatever in the air. Because I have a library/office and a guest room/exercise room. Why would I keep diapers or crappy makeup in either of those?

I fall asleep spread out in my own bed, with the light of the timed candle in the window making the room all cozy and warm. Ahhh.

This is how it is supposed to be. This is what I expected.

(Ignore the fact that without my husband and his chemical engineering degree/job/ability to provide for us, I would be lounging on a futon I found on craigslist and my bonus rooms would be furnished with whatever I managed to steal from my parents’ house. Because I was underemployed in the way that only a Catholic girl with advanced degrees in Jewish Studies can be.)

But…not really. There have been a few times over the years we’ve lived here that I’ve come close to living this fantasy. My kids are in bed early, my husband traveled for work, I was essentially on my own. Yeah, there was the lingering ammonia diaper smell, but I could ignore that. I’m writing this now in a quiet, clean house while my kids are at a movie with their grandma(s.) It’s delightful. My coffee is hot. If I could still afford cable it would be on, but I’ve got Netflix going on in the background. No one is touching my throw pillows.

And I’m overwhelmed with the thought that…this is not how it’s supposed to be.

The fantasy I had at 20 when I was single? Is not the fantasy that 24-year-old married Kathleen had and certainly not the one that 29-year-old mom Kathleen has. As annoying as it is to admit to myself, I would not ever want to live without the diapers and the lipgloss and the cars and the pillows tossed away so we could cuddle and my desk drawn on and covered in pictures my daughter has left for me. I wouldn’t want to live in my dream bedroom because my husband wouldn’t be there with me. I wouldn’t want to have a spotless kitchen because that means I didn’t spend the evening relaxing with my husband and drinking G&Ts instead of washing the dishes. Heck, even the stupid candle I don’t like anymore because my husband has trained me to sleep in complete darkness over the last five years.

I guess my life isn’t what I thought it would be. I guess no one’s is.

And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.