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.

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.) 

Catholic Sistas Post: Why I Veil

So I’m super honored and happy to be able to write for the amazing Catholic women’s blog Catholic Sistas. I had my first post published earlier this month. 

“As a mother of two young kids, here’s what my preparation for Mass looks like. I get up (probably late) and run around like a crazy person making sure we’re all dressed and have the diaper bag and everyone is wearing shoes and coats and underwear. My son is mad that he can’t wear his football shirt. My daughter is mad because she doesn’t like to go anywhere or do anything if she has to, but would prefer to float through life without any obligations. (Me too, kid. Get in the car.) My husband stands in the wrong place or something and annoys me because he’s not in my head and I’m mad at him for not doing what I’m thinking of asking him to do because I didn’t leave enough time to get ready. Once we get to church it’s an hour of picking up thrown books, handing out this week’s Magnifikid to my daughter if I was smart enough to bring it, handing out last week’s Magnifikid to my son to color on and having him flatly reject it (sorry, you can’t read, so you don’t get your own subscription), and convincing both children that Daddy will, in fact, come back after being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He didn’t go away to war.

Wearing a veil has become a physical reminder to myself that I am in the presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament. I am participating in literally the most important thing I will ever do. Not that the obligations of my family go away, but I am able to switch my mind back much faster and focus much more after distractions.”

Read the rest of the post  over on Catholic Sistas. And follow them for some seriously amazing spiritual reading!

What even am I?

I’ve spent a lot of this last academic year changing my mind and figuring out what I think about things. A lot has changed in the last year- in the world, in the church, in my family, and even in my children.

We’re in a…precarious position in the United States. We’re in a…precarious position as traditional Catholics. Seven and four is way different than six and three for kids in terms of needing explanations for things.

So it make sense that this blog, which has always been an opportunity for me to vomit on the computer screen whatever it is I’m thinking of or worrying about make it remotely funny, has been changing a little bit this year too. I finally made my mind up that I would post regularly on Tuesday and Thursday, mostly because I love a schedule. But I dabbled in makeup and stuff and…meh.

I’m not a beauty blogger. I won’t ever be a real beauty blogger. I realized I just don’t care enough. It’s not my passion. I love makeup. It’s super fun. I’m still going to write about fun new makeup I get and stuff if it makes sense to, but I realized that I’m not a beauty blogger.

I feel like we hit our stride with homeschooling this year. Last year was such a mess with me being…a mess, and Squeaks being…a mess, and just…well, mess. This year though, we’ve been great. I’ve made an effort to take care of myself spiritually too, which has completely changed the way I relate to my kids and their education.

I love homeschooling. I’m super happy homeschooling. I love writing about how it impacts our family, and the changes it has led to in our family.

I love exploring my faith and growing even deeper in my knowledge of the Church. So long I was focused on academic understanding, and that’s great. It has helped me so much to understand the history of the Church. But in the last year I’ve begun to experience it more fully and I love that. I love writing about that.

I have an opportunity to start writing for a Catholic blog, and I’m super excited to begin that.

It won’t change anything here- I’m still going to post twice a week with ridiculous things that cross my mind. But it did make me realize that this is who I am. I’m a homeschooling mom who loves the Catholic Church who swears sometimes. And also likes a good long-wearing eyeliner.

And I’m fine with that. I don’t need a YouTube channel and a go pro and followers. I love just writing about what is really important to me right now at this season of my life.

Ordained

I have been so blessed to have many wonderful priests throughout my life. Good men, good confessors, good guys to drink with…they ran a gamut. One of the most special was wour old associate pastor from when I was little. He left right after my First Communion but he was one of those priests that even though I was eight the last time he was my priest, you love him exactly the same.

He gave me my First Holy Communion. (Well, okay, some mom in our class did. Because it was the 90s and no one realized that using EMHCs for First Communion kind of cuts down on the symbolism for the kids.) He was my first confessor (although I was eight, so probably not terribly exciting.)

He was a wonderful family friend and just a really good guy. Humble and just so genuinely interested in helping others come closer to God through His Church.

And on Friday, he was ordained a bishop  for our archdiocese.

I was so honored to be able to attend. And by honored, I mean I was bragging about how my sister got to go because she’s a reporter with a job and a life and blah blah blah I’ve got to go do some more laundry. And one of the women I was talking to was like oh man I’ve got a ticket for that do you want it? um only hell yeah sorry is that the wrong reaction to attending an ordiation?


I was lucky enough to go to a very good friend’s ordination to the priesthood a bunch of years ago back when I was young and single and I’m pretty sure I wore a dress from the Kohl’s junior department.

(Not so this time. I had to find childcare and spanx.) Lipstick on point though, thanks to my sister-in-law. (Lipsense you guys- so fun!)


But I’ve never been to an episcopal ordination, and it was so beautiful. The ceremony and the prayers of ordination and just everything…so lovely.


And it was so special that it was for one of the best priests I’ve ever known.


I’m short, so most of the pictures aren’t very good. And he’s short, so most of the pictures don’t include him at all. But my daughter saw me receive Communion on YouTube, so she’s pretty impressed by the whole thing.

 

Raising Strong Catholic Daughters

I read this article over the weekend. It’s an interview with seven Catholic homeschooling moms on what they’re doing to make sure they are raising strong daughters. I absolutely love all of their answers, and it got me thinking about the kinds of things that I’m doing to make sure Squeaks is becoming a strong, capable woman of God.

Mostly there are things I want her to know. I want her to understand why we do everything we do and why it’s important. I want her to know these things.

1.) I love you. I will always love you.That doesn’t mean I won’t ever be mad at you.

2.) I can disapprove of things you do or decisions you make, but I will always always love you.Speaking of which, disapproval or righteous condemnation of sin is not hate or fear or being mean. It must be followed with loving urging to return the path that God intended for them.

3.) That goes for your own sins too. Go to confession often, and confess well. Find a priest that understands you, and pushes you to address the sins you commit most frequently. I don’t know what those will be yet, since you’re only seven, but I know that you will have them. You’re human.

4.) I am not going to be your friend at the cost of being your mother and keeping you safe (morally and physically.) That being said, I hope that we will be best friends, like I am with my mom.

5.) Your sibling(s- if I ever get not crazy enough to give you another) are the greatest gift and best friend God will give you for this period in your life. Treasure him. Stay close to him, even when you’re grown up.

6.) Your father loves you more than you will ever know. Fathers are so important, especially for girls. And yours happens to be a wonderful man who is full of faith and love and he genuinely tries to do what is best for you every day. Never forget that.

7.) I am making you work hard in school. I will continue to do so. Study hard, so that you can have all options open to you. Know how much I loved and treasure my education, and how important education is to our family. You will never have a worthless degree. You will always learn something about the world and yourself through a careful study of anything you care to set your mind to.

8.) If and when God calls you to be a wife and mother, know that you will feel used by God in a way that you never thought possible. And it is amazing.

9.) You are a daughter of God, and no matter how strong you are, you cannot do it on your own. Go to Him.

10.) Anxiety and depression run in our family. (It’s the only running we do. Hah!) Being stoic and refusing to acknowledge that you need help (like I did for what seems like an eternity after your brother was born but was actually like 12 days) is not being strong. Being strong is taking care of your mental health, even when it’s scary and overwhelming. I can help you. Come to me.

11.) I can help you with almost anything. I still go to my mom and dad for things literally every day. I want you to feel like you can do that with me and Daddy too.

12.) Don’t worry about your body. Yes, be healthy. But I have been a size 2 and a size 22 and literally I felt better about myself at 22. Being skinny doesn’t turn you into the person you want to be. It doesn’t make people love you. It doesn’t do anything except change the number on your dress. So run around, eat good food, keep eating vegetables, and be healthy. But never obsess over your size. Because it. does. not. matter.

13.) Learn your manners. Teach your children their manners. Don’t get mad at me for forcing you to learn your manners. Always send thank you notes too. They’re awesome.

14.) There is literally nothing that cuddling with your mom, taking a nap, and an hour in Eucharistic Adoration can’t make better.

15.) This world is over in a minute. Being a strong woman usually doesn’t mean doing things that make you popular or your life easier. Your goal (and mine) is to get to heaven, where the strongest women ever, Our Lady and the Saints, will be waiting for you.

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The Best Laid (Lent) Plans- For You!

So last time I talked about what we’re doing as a family (specifically a homeschooling family) for Lent this year. Today I want to talk about what I’m doing as a real live actual adult person to make sure that when I get to Easter, it’s not just shoving the kids across the finish line. They can’t get anything from me if I don’t have anything to give them spiritually.

(They suck everything else dry. Might as well go with spirituality too.)

I’m pretty basic about my Lenten practices now as a mom. I stick to the three big things that the Church recommends- prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

I don’t want to spend any time writing about what I’m fasting from, because that’s not important and it bugs me when people are like “Well I’m giving up chocolate and alcohol…”* as though that was the important part. It’s not. The important part is that you fast from SOMETHING.

*It’s not chocolate or alcohol. I’d also have to fast from motherhood then and I’m pretty sure that’s not what God wants from me right now.

Fasting allows us to realize the earthly limits of our bodies and desires and turns us closer to God in a way that anything other than denial can’t. So it’s a pretty important part of anyone’s Lent, I think.


I try to ramp up my prayer life during Lent. I make an effort to go to Adoration more frequently, and daily Mass whenever I can. This year I’m continuing with my Bible/Catechism reading plan every day, and I’ve started reading the Ratzinger Jesus of Nazareth book that deals with Holy Week for my good-for-me reading. I’m also following Lent and Easter Wisdom from John Paul II because it’s super short and easy and a nice way to start the day.


I loved using the Magnificat Advent app, so I downloaded the Lenten companion as well. Like in Advent, I don’t follow everything in there, but I make it a point to read the reflections each day, as well as the evening prayer.

So much (all) of my prayer life is focused on morning before the day gets going and people need me for everything. I realized I didn’t have anything spiritual at night, except for the odd nights when my husband and I say a rosary together. So we’ve started doing that every night and I’m committed to the evening prayer from Magnificat.

Almsgiving is also a pretty personal thing I think, but something that we’ve done in the past is staying home from restaurants or allotting a portion of our budget that would normally be for something else for a charity. (In our case, I like to support local pro-life centers that help with postpartum care and adoption assistance.) Usually this practice inherently involves fasting as well, since you’re probably giving something up to have extra money to donate to charity.

I do think it’s important to talk about it with your kids and your close friends to get ideas about new ways to share your treasure, and it’s super nice to  have any opportunity to explain how blessed we are to my kids, who today told me they “COULD NOT LIVE” without tablets.

That made me want to drop them in the middle of the dessert and explain to them how the vast majority of the world’s population lives. It’s not all My Little Pony and Rescue Bots, guys.

 

The Best Laid (Lent) Plans- For Kids

Lent is almost here guys, and I’m super excited to PLAN ALL THE THINGS. Because we all know I love PLANNING. But actually EXECUTING IT AND DOING STUFF is…not what I love. So we’ll see.

(Like I’m planning on giving up swearing. We’ll see. But that’s a post for another day.)

But anyway.

So I’m trying to balance between keeping things simple enough to succeed (success is really important for my kids sticking with…well, anything.) and actually making them understand that something is different.

That’s a big thing this year- my daughter is seven, which is the age of reason and so she’s required to abstain from meat for the first time this year. And so that’s pretty cool and I really wanted her to understand what is happening. She picked something to give up all on her own, and we’re trying hard to make her understand that abstaining is not just a mean way to make her give up her happy meal from Grandma on Fridays.

The other major things we’re doing  are following a daily reflection book, weekly stations of the cross, attempting to get to daily Mass at least once a week (to be fair, I attempt this every week. And a lot of times it fails.) and doing sacrifice noodles. (Stay with me.)


The book is pretty typical. We have a copy that is the same except with teachings from Mother Teresa, but I wanted to focus on the Little Flower with the kids, since we have a family devotion to her. It’s nicely set up with a scripture verse, adult devotion, and a reading for children.

(And crafts. Of course.)

We’re also going to be doing the Children’s Stations of the Cross (just at home, so just praying them and not walking around or anything.) I’m aiming to do it every week, but we’ll see how far the kids’ attention spans go. More than anything, I don’t want to make them feel like Lent is a burden.


The sacrifice noodles are new, and I found it something on the internet. They’re technically sacrifice beans but I’m allergic to beans and I figured anything else my kids would put in their mouths. So uncooked elbow macaroni noodles are our new sacrifice symbol!

You designate a jar or a vase (we’re having a vase, because it pleases me aesthetically) and every time the children do something nice for one another, listen perfectly, or give something up for Jesus, they get to put a noodle in the vase. On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny (or mom and dad if you don’t do that) switch out all the noodles for jelly beans. The kids get to eat the jelly beans as they continue to offer things up or behave nicely. I think it’s a really nice way of concretely showing them that we need to offer things up for others as well as having a way to continue it through the Easter season and beyond.

What are you doing for Lent in your home or homeschool?

 

Advent for Kids (and Yourself)

Guys, I think Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I love the solemn nature of it- we’re not celebrating, not yet. But it’s not the same kind of solemn as Lent, which is mostly just a bummer.

(I’M KIDDING. Lent is lovely as well. Just more…intense.)

I also love that there are so many things that we can do as a family to mark the season. Again, Lent is so intense. Other than the stations of the Cross, it’s hard to come up with cute craft ideas for hey-let-me-explain-all-of-salvation-history-to-you. I know they’re out there, I do. But it’s just harder to ram home without being depressing..

And let’s be honest, I’m not doing any crafts anyway. I hate crafts. HATE THEM. Creativity and making a mess. Literally my two least favorite things.

ANYWAY. Homeschooling, we obviously have a lot of freedom to mark Advent and prepare for the Birth of the Lord. I have a six year old and a three year old, and frankly, the three year old is just phoning it in. He’s present for everything that we do, and we sing Advent songs with him and stuff like that. But he doesn’t really get it.

(Things he also doesn’t get: going to the bathroom IN THE BATHROOM. Fingers crossed by next Advent.)

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But Squeaks is almost seven, and she totally gets it this year. We have an Advent wreath (with flameless candles, natch) and so she “lights” it and we all read a devotion every night that we have dinner together. (Which okay hasn’t been much this week but hopefully that will get better.) We’re using the Catholic Family Advent Prayers and Activities book by Susan Hines-Brigger. I’m really loving it so far. It has a prayer, scripture passage, and discussion for every day of advent.

Also lots of craft ideas. (Blech.)

We also have an Advent book we got through Seton, the company we use for homeschooling curriculum. It’s int he Living and Celebrating our Catholic Traditions series, and it’s lovely too. There s a great story for each week that we use for school, and again, tons of crafts.

The one I’m actually going to do with her is a paper chain that leads to an empty manger, and then we glue Jesus in on Christmas morning. That sounds cute. (And easy.)  Everything in that book is reproducible too, so you can use it for years with different kids or even pass it on to family.

We do have an Elf on the Shelf, which I know is anathema to many Catholic families. But for us, it’s totally fine. I don’t see any reason to abstain from the non-heretical parts of secular life, and we have been able to use the Elf (Cooper) to talk to us about how it’s not important that we’re good for Santa, but rather that we need to make ourselves ready for Jesus to come at Christmas and the end of the world by being good children.

He hangs out at the Nativity a lot.

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The biggest, and also smallest, thing we’ve started doing is keeping Squeaks up with us to say a rosary at night. Buzz and I would say rosaries separately during the weekdays, but together on the weekend. And that was such a nice thing for us that we decided to include Squeaks for Advent. She LOVES it. She (against all odds) is able to sit calmly and quietly and say the prayers with us. She’s also learning a lot of the mysteries, which she is very proud of and makes my heart as a mother burst literally every night. It’s also a great way to teach her prayers that we’ve forgotten to pass on, like the St. Michael the Archangel prayer, and the Memorare.

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But it’s not all about the kids, right? I mean, I’m a firm believer in the concept that if your own spiritual life is empty, you can give nothing to your children. And also that the easiest way to pass on the faith to your children is to let them see you doing it. And we all know I am ALL ABOUT THE EASE OF THINGS. So I’ve decided to make sure that I made this Advent count for myself, too.

I’ve begun some more physical devotions- veiling, making sure I go to confession regularly, attending Eucharistic Adoration, etc. Those have been a wonderful way to make my actual time reflect my sense of waiting and hope and the desire to make myself ready for God, whenever He comes again.

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I also downloaded the Magnificat Advent 2016 app. It’s available on all platforms for $1.99, or $2.99 for the ebook format if you want it on kindle. This  is amazing, guys. It has a really user-friendly interface, prayers for morning, evening, and night, the Mass for the day, and additional prayers, songs, and rubrics (like for a penance service, blessing of the Advent wreath, etc.)  I am really, really enjoying it. HIGHLY recommend, and I am not a normal Magnificat girl. I can’t get into it. But this is amazing for me.

(And if you do the app it sends you touch reminders. SCORE.)

Finally, I’m switching up my “good-for-me” reading that I do every  morning. I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but basically I take about half an hour before the kids get up to read a selection from the Bible, the Catechism, and a book about parenting or faith or whatever (anything except murders- I’ve been really into thrillers lately, guys.) I abandoned my Catholic Guide to Depression (ironically, AMAZING!) and am slogging my way through Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives. It’s a slim book, but if you’ve ever read anything Ratzinger has written, um, don’t expect a quick read. I’m absolutely loving being able to a.) focus on exegesis again, something I haven’t done since grad school, and b.) turning little parts of my day towards the anticipation of the Lord.

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So, what do you do for advent? I’d love more (non-craft) suggestions!

Haters Gonna Hate

I follow a number of homeschooling blogs, and mostly they just serve to make me feel badly because I  can’t get it together to post that much at all much less do it while educating my children so wonderfully. But hey. It’s good to have something to shoot for.

Maybe someday I’ll have opinions on things other than how Johnny Depp has aged and, oh, I don’t know, my hair or makeup or something.

(BEAUTY BLENDER. You guys. IT’S THE FUTURE.)

Today the lovely lady over at A Homeschooling Mom posted about “Forcing Religion on Your Children”, which is one of my pet peeves about the criticisms of homeschooling.

Along with socialization. And wearing your pajamas all day. And not shaving your legs.

(Okay okay okay. So I’m typing this in a robe and I haven’t showered yet so there’s obviously been no shaving. BUT IT’S SUMMER. I’m ALLOWED.)

Because I tend to hang out with mostly Catholic people because of my involvement in my parish and so forth, that isn’t a question so I get so much.

I do get “why are you trying to protect them from the world? You can’t do that forever, you know!”

*crickets*

Yes. Thank you, Target check out lady. I was under the impression that taking care of children was like one extended pregnancy where I just shoved them back up my birth canal when things got too scary and mean for them. Should I not be doing that, you mean?

My kids are six and three. They are pure, perfect little souls that I have been given to get to Heaven. Their souls are ON ME. And we all know how I feel about my hair in the heat. Eternal damnation? Not what I’m gunning for.

So guess what? I will protect them from the evils of the world (and it exists- as C.S. Lewis said, “The devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”) because THEY ARE MY CHILDREN. And I will bring them up in the religion I hold to be true. Because THEY ARE MY CHILDREN. I will also teach them to not run out in front of buses. Because THEY ARE MY CHILDREN. Same basic concept.

Somewhere along the line, in all of our desire for individuality, we forgot that parents are here to raise children. We protect them when they’re little. We give them a set of moral guidelines. That’s what we do.

We’re so obsessed with the “mommy wars” that we forgot to realize that it doesn’t matter one damn bit if I gave me son formula and had him circumcised or taught him baby sign language (yes yes and no) if he isn’t raised to be a good person and (I believe) enjoy eternal life with God.

Because one day, of course they’ll be grown up. I will not be telling them where to go, whose house they are allowed to play at, which shows are okay on Netflix. I will not be here saying the rosary with them and making sure they pray before every meal and go to Mass on Sundays. I won’t be explaining the Sacrament of Reconciliation by painstakingly detailing my own sins (some of them) so they understand what the point is and how it works.

They’ll be on their own. They’ll be making decisions about religious, ethical, sexual matters. The world will be telling them to act in a way that is contrary to the faith in which I have raised them.

(That is, if the world doesn’t implode immediately in November upon the announcement of a Trump or Clinton presidency.)

They will be in charge of all those decisions. I am not delusional. I know that I will not be standing next to my daughter the first time someone pressures her to have sex. (How awkward would that be?) But damn it, I am going to make sure that when she was mine? I gave her the tools she needed to make decisions that would honor her body, her God, and, yes, her parents too.

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