My Mr. Darcy

Comments 8 Standard

Today is 15 years since Tom first told me he liked me, in a gazebo in between our dorms at the end of sophomore year at Franciscan University. I thought it was about time I ‘published’ this long dusty draft that’s been sitting in my submission folder for some book Chicken Soup was putting out. I like it better here, it belongs on the blog! When the world keeps getting ickier, I kind of like to just reread and share love stories. Can’t we use more of them nowadays? This of course is only the first chapter, and I won’t burden you all with the entire book. But, it is nice to share the beginning with my faithful readers! As I was reading it over, and recalling all the details it struck me suddenly- Is it just me or is this surprisingly similar parallels to Pride & Prejudice? Well more like Bridget Jones’ diary.(without all the R ratings!)Because I’m certainly not as refined as Elizabeth Bennett.  But Tom is everything as aloof as Mr. Darcy. Why has it taken me 15 years to realize that?! I think it’s very safe to say God has a GREAT sense of humor. And I am particularly grateful.

In my sophomore year of college I met him. When I first saw him, his dark brown hair was so bushy and his beard so scruffy I wasn’t sure what to make of him. Emo? Angry? Lazy? He was tall, broad shouldered and tan. Very tan. I thought he was middle-eastern because he was so….tan and…well…hairy. But he wasn’t. He was Italian and in need of some hair gel and a girlfriend. Once he cleaned up it was easy to see he was really good looking.

We were in brother/sister households…which were kind of like sororities and fraternities just centered on prayer instead of booze. It was the day after my nineteenth birthday that I first talked to him because he had prank called my room on my birthday night. He pranked called about seven times in a row. Something about being the “Sheik” and having seven wives. I don’t know.  My phone was ringing off the hook and it was ridiculous. All I knew was that it was him who called and I marched up to him at lunch the next day to confront him about it. He was wearing a blue and white pinstriped button down shirt with jeans, and he was hunched over his table with three of his friends talking. They looked serious, not so much in a joking mood. However, I was feeling confident in my new clothes and my hair which I had just learned how to straighten. I briskly walked over to his table and tapped him on the shoulder,

“I know it was you last night who called my room. I know you’re the “Shiek” !”

I held my posture and looked at him smugly with my hand on my hip.

Slowly, he put his water cup down and looked up at me with a completely annoyed and deadpan look with piercing green eyes. He raised his eyebrows in confusion,

“What are you talking about?”

I nearly died. I never felt so humiliated. His coolness killed me; I turned around faster than lightning and scampered back to my lunch table where I hid myself among my roommates to cringe in embarrassment. That was how I introduced myself to Tom.

Exactly how that moment went down. I think Tom had the same expression on his face.

 

Pinstripe shirt!

………….
Every night before we fell asleep, my roommates and I would lie awake in our beds, staring at the bunk above us and go through our “lists” out loud of who we were interested in. It was a numerical lists with about five guys or so but I never counted Tom on my “list” of guys I was interested in because I was convinced he was going to ask my roommate, Shannon, out. Tom and Shannon hung out nearly every night, talking in the dimly lit courtyard between the boys & girls dorm.

The courtyard was the place that couples met and spent time together because we went to a strict Catholic college, boys weren’t allowed in the girls dorms and vice versa except for a few “open hours” on the weekends. So couples would spend time with each other in the cobblestone courtyard between the two dorms.There was a big gazebo, a couple of picnic tables and plenty of benches and large planters. On warm nights the courtyard would be packed with students playing Frisbee, surfing the web or talking romantically to each other. I was usually staring out my dorm window at all the couples while I daydreamed of my “someday”!

When I came up the stairwell in our dorm from doing laundry in the basement, I would look out the big glass windows and often see Shannon and Tom sitting together for hours on a wooden bench just talking, and laughing. I was happy for Shannon, she was such a sweet person, a really kind roommate and I knew Tom was a gentle guy. He made her laugh so much, and I knew she deserved a good guy, someone who was totally crazy for her. For two months or so that went on. All our household sisters were expecting Tom to ask Shannon out. They were hanging out practically every night. I couple times I was the third wheel, if I passed them while I was heading into the dorm for the night or if I was bored.

Right when Shannon and Tom first started hanging out, Shannon urged me to take Tom to the Sadie Hawkins dance that was coming up. Mostly because the guy I was going with dumped me at the last minute and Shannon insisted that Tom was a good household brother and he would go with me if I asked him. So going against every rule I had ever lived by, I ran out of the cafeteria after him shouting

“Wait! Mario!” (his nickname was Mario. I don’t know why.)

His tall, lumbering figure stopped walking to class and quietly, coolly, turned around.

I breathlessly blurted out my predicament to him, how all my friends were going and I had been rendered dateless and did he want to come with me. Once again, with total superior coolness, he pulled a black pen out from behind his ear and asked me for my number. Staring up at his towering figure from way down within my weak converse sneakers, I felt my knees wobble. I gave it to him nervously and he wrote it down on his hand.

Later that afternoon he called me explaining how he didn’t go to dances but invited me…and Shannon …to come over to the common area to play the board game Cranium instead, with all of his household brothers. I felt like I had made a total idiot of myself.

Too cool for school

That was awkward encounter number two. I brushed him off after that.

Household sisters: myself, Heather, my  roommates Shannon & Amanda

Household brothers hanging out in the common room

It was hard for me to understand Tom. He seemed nice but he was awfully quiet. Where I was outgoing, he was introverted. Where I was always excited and laughing (and big mouthed, often saying the wrong thing), he was serious and distracted (obviously smarter, more mature, and prudent). But being household brothers and sisters we saw a lot of each other.

Eventually he started to sit at our lunch table and our dinner table with his roommate. There would be about eight of us who started eating our meals together and pretty soon it was just the thing. I cracked jokes about him being too cool for us to hide my still embarrassment over the prank phone call incident. Tom didn’t talk too much during the meals, we girls did most of the talking and kept the chatter going. A few times I sarcastically made fun of him being so quiet and why on earth did his ears turned bright red every time I talked to him? This tall, broad guy who had intimidated me only months earlier was turning red when I talked to him!

At one lunch, I came bustling in late to the cafeteria and there was one seat available, next to Tom. I grabbed my tray and sat down next to him and quickly jumped into chatting about this and that and how are you and here’s the latest funny story, etc. etc.. Everyone at the table started laughing at a joke I told, and I turned to Tom who was minding his own business. Who never even looked up to say hello. Who wasn’t laughing. Who could sometimes come off as super high and mighty, and well… antisocial.

“Uh, hi Tom” I leaned next to him and patted him on the back.

Still looking down at his lunch, he made no reply then I saw his ears turn red again and I announced it to the whole table,
“Oh my god! Are your ears turning red? Tom! What’s the deal?” and we all burst out laughing.

I never paid much more attention to him because he was interested in my roommate, and he was weird for not participating more in our mealtime conversations or just being plain old social. I mean, sometimes he joined in our conversations and when he did…he was actually pretty funny. It just took so much gosh darn effort to warm him up.

Also,did I mention we ate all our meals together, and yet the two classes we were in together for the entire semester…he sat on the total opposite end of the room from me? What was that about? It was obvious he could not stand me. But I wasn’t too bothered by it. It’s not like he was on my list or anything.

…..
Right before Thanksgiving, I had fainted and whacked my head on a cement wall during a middle of the night-running-down-the-hall-to-pee incident. (Ever heard of vasovagal sycnope? I have that. It’s fine, you just faint from low blood pressure or standing up quickly) That concussion  landed me back home in New York on the sofa for a week of meeting with doctors and getting all sorts of tests for neurological and cardiological problems done.

In my absence from school, I got an e-mail out of the blue…from…Tom. No one was more surprised than I was. It was a funny e-mail too.  The day I got that email, I was wearing one of those holster-heart monitors at the time (like with all the nodules attached to my head to be monitored remotely) so I’m sure the technicians on the other end saw a major leap in my heart activity when I read his e-mail. He was just writing to check in on me, and to keep me posted on all the ridiculous things our professor was saying in media class. Then he continued to write me an e-mail every couple days until I got back. He also ended each e-mail mentioning how he was praying for me.

Well, that was very kind, I thought. And very surprising.

Since I knew he was crushing on Shannon, proper roommate/friend protocol called for me to just accept his messages as a sweet gesture and nothing more. So I did. I literally put him out of my mind as a possible chance ever. And I told Shannon all the more how I approved him for her, because he was willing to take care of her friends just as much her. That really said something about a guy. How sweet.

I bumped into Tom later on campus right after I returned from my absence. We were in the cafeteria and I was chatting with his roommate, Josh.

“Tom!”

I shouted joyfully when I saw him. I skipped a couple steps forward in my squeaky converse sneakers, to where he was standing and gave him a big hug, which for me meant standing on my tippy-toes to reach over his broad shoulders.

“Thank you so much for your e-mails! You are so sweet!” I was smilingly huge, but Tom didn’t hug back. He didn’t even speak.

He just kind of stood their balancing his tray of food and nodded his head in agreement, then proceeded on his way to go eat.
I was taken aback, but yet, not surprised.

“What is with him?” I thought to myself but then figured he was Shannon’s problem, not mine so I went on my way.

Tom, Josh and Matt

Two weeks later was formal. Our mealtime group decided to skip formal and instead head to the movies together to see “The Incredibles”. We were all really looking forward to it. Such rebels we thought. We were ditching the dresses and the dinner and heading to a Pixar film.  It was kind of a special moment though, because the whole group of us except myself and two others, would all be leaving in January to spend the following semester in Austria. Tom, Shannon, all my friends would be across the pond for the next six months. Going out to the movies was our last hurrah before we broke for Christmas, then we’d all see each other the following May.

We all squashed and triple buckled in someone’s rinky dinky car, and drove up to the local theater. Piling out of the car, me and a couple other girls ran inside to get online for popcorn and candy while the rest of the group went ahead to get seats. As Shannon and I walked into the theater with the snacks, our whole group had taken their seats and were murmuring and talking among themselves. Shannon scampered ahead much quicker than me and sat in the last available spot next to our household sisters. Leaving only one seat available with our group. A seat next to Tom.

In front of the whole group, I tossed Shannon a “great. thanks a lot” look and rolled my eyes and plopped down next to Tom. Tom, who by the way, was still wearing his puffy winter coat zipped all the way up to his nose. I got such tense vibes from him. He was definitely not relaxed.

“Sour patch kid?” I titled my box of candy towards him and he actually spoke to me,
“No thanks.”
“Are you sure?” I looked at him with a slightly exasperated annoyance. He shook his head no.

Great. He’s probably not even going to laugh at all during this movie. Just my luck. Whatever. I stared ahead at the screen and zoned him out the rest of the movie. We didn’t talk at all. And I was right, he had no sense of humor. I wasn’t even sure why he came to a movie if he wasn’t going to laugh.

Well, one week later is when everything came crumbling down. Tom had been taking an interest suddenly in Christian “courtship” and was asking me a lot about it at our mealtime gatherings. I happened to have a couple books on the topic so he asked to borrow them, and I loaned them to him. I knew the time was coming soon he was going to ask Shannon. Shannon, though, didn’t seem as interested in him lately. She would just kind of smile and shrug her shoulders when I mentioned him. She started to tell me that he was a really great guy, but he wasn’t for her. She seemed perfectly happy though with being caught up in another guy she was interested in. Cest la vie.

As it would happen, on December 7th, the first morning of finals week, a crazy rumor started circulating very, very quickly around campus. A rumor that Annemarie was dating Tom. My close friends Dan and Dave- also not going to Austria, so we were the 3 amigos- were eating breakfast with me on that icy Monday morning when halfway through hash browns and scrambled eggs Dan leaned over the table towards me and half whispered,

“So, congratulations.”

“Uh, why?” I crinkled my brow and shook my head at Dan in total confusion.

“You know, about you and Tom.” He was being totally serious, he raised his eyebrows like I was supposed to know what he meant.

“What? What the heck are you talking about?” My eyeballs practically fell on my plate.

Dan leaned back in his chair with an “ohhhhh” and told me to nevermind, and that he thought Tom and I were dating, blah blah blah.
Shocked and totally caught off guard, I got really animated and poor Dan got the brunt of it.

“Tom?! Tom Thimons? You’ve got to be kidding me. That guy is totally not interested in me. He’s into Shannon. He NEVER talks to me. There is no way we are dating.”

I made sure I clarified with both Dan and Dave that I was not in fact dating Tom Thimons. I added how hilarious it would be because he’s spent four months ignoring me.

After that weird morning, the day continued to get weirder. By the time I went to eat my lunch, Tom’s household brother came up to me with a big grin on his face going

“So I heard about Tom, huh? Nice!”

I felt like I was loosing my mind. I was irritated and I let it show

“What on earth? Why is everybody saying that? What the heck is going on!”

I stuffed my mouth with French fries and started to cry a little. My head was spinning. I felt excluded from some very, very pertinent information on my own life. How rude. Was this guy literally strutting around campus telling people he was dating me? How could it be even possibly be insinuated that Tom was interested in me when he spent the whole semester pursuing my roommate? This was too much!

I rushed back to my dorm room and found Shannon . I blubbered everything to her that had happened during the day. She was just standing there with this funny little smile on her face.

“Here, friend” she put her freckled hand on my shoulder and gently ushered me out of our room to the common room where there were some cozy sofas, plentiful pillows,- more importantly privacy- and sat me down.

Shannon pulled up a chair very matter of factly and sat herself square in front of me.

“We should talk.” She said.

What Shannon told me I couldn’t believe. I still have a hard time remembering all of it because I had never before in my life felt as caught off guard as I did then. I never, ever, ever felt more like an idiot or so oblivious. Although who could blame me, it’s not like Tom was making great strides expressing interest! She told me that Tom had been interested in me, and that he was trying to get to know more about me from her…and that he was going to ask me out…tonight. He’d been planning it with her. She said it was supposed to be a secret but he must have told his household brothers about it, and the plan got derailed . And since I was in such a tizzy, she’d just have to tell me everything.

Yes. He was going to call me tonight to ask me out.

WHAT.

I was stunned. I felt a huge gulp in my throat and kind of nauseous. Then I felt sweaty and I just kept saying over and over again,

“But no, he likes you”

“No, silly. He likes you.”

You have got to be kidding me.

We went back to our room and I weepily climbed up onto my bed on the top bunk and I sat there. I sat there for a very long time with my coat, scarf and gloves on, waiting for the call. The nerves were so overwhelming because I was trying to process everything, every word we exchanged the past semester. I remember watching Law & Order SVU just trying to distract myself from the nerves. But I was so glad I found out beforehand because I had so much time to pray and to really think about what I was going to say to him in response. I mean, after I handed him his head on a plate for being such a jerk for 4 months! Ha!

The phone rang, and Shannon handed it to me and I took it from her, up in my perch on the bunk. Looking back, it was such a silly, solemn young love moment of seriousness. The ‘here it is’ HERE’S THE PHONE CALL. It was 9 at night or something ridiculous. He had let me sweat it out since 8 in the morning.

He asked if I wanted to meet him out in the gazebo.

I didn’t tell him I knew, I let him lead the way. I walked up the steps into the gazebo and he was sitting at the picnic table like the Don. Like he owned the gazebo, and he summoned me to his picnic table to bestow on me the honor I’d be waiting for.  I sat down opposite him. I smiled with my lips closed and shrugged my shoulders like it was NO BIG DEAL

“Hey….what’s up?”

I was impressed by how he just cut to the chase.

“So, here’s the deal.” His green eyes were looking straight at me. I was feeling so light and swoony , I almost couldn’t bear looking back.

“I like you. But I’m going to Austria.”

My nerves got the better of me and I burst out laughing. I mean full on, hysterical just cracking up from the lunacy of it all.  I just couldn’t believe what I heard come out of his mouth. He just told ME that he LIKED ME. This was unbelievable! Also the timing was nuts, and the picnic table, the way he was just sitting there like he was offering me a job,

He tilted his head to the side with a questioning look,

“Sooo… is that a yes? I kind of need to know how you feel so I know what to say next”

“A yes? A yes?!? Tom! I cannot believe you! I mean. All semester you ignore me! You don’t sit near me in class, you never talk to me, I thought you were in love with my roommate and now what am I supposed to say? Wow.”

Not quite.

 

Bingo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I kept shaking my head in utter shock and he suggested we go for a walk. We must’ve spent about thirty minutes just walking in the icy cold December air, hands stuffed in our pockets, coats and scarves zipped up around our noses. Shivering. Freezing. We made a couple loops around campus before he finally just started coming out with it. I barely did any talking. I was flabbergasted. He was telling me how intimidated he was of me that day I came up to him in the cafeteria, confronting him about the prank calls. And how the time I asked him to Sadie Hawkins he realized he was interested in me. He was just so nervous, and he thought I was out of his league so he kept trying to figure out how to make his move. He told me the time I came up to him and hugged him in the cafeteria, he was so stunned he didn’t even know how to react because literally the night before he had a dream that I gave him a hug and he had just told Josh (who I was chatting with) about it that morning. He went on to say how all of his household brothers knew what a crush he had on me and how he was just waiting for the right moment. He kept stressing he was spending all that time with Shannon to learn more about me.

I asked him about being rude at the movies. He said he was so nervous because we were sitting next to each other. The more he said the more I just couldn’t get over it. And the more it made sense, and the more I realized how could I have not seen it?! My whole world had been flipped upside down. And here he was pretty much asking me out at the last possible moment, and we wouldn’t even be seeing each other for 6 months since school would be ending and he was spending his spring semester studying abroad in Austria.

I got my New York tough self on him,

“Well. I don’t know what to tell you, really. I hardly know you. I mean, I haven’t even been trying to get to know you because I thought you were going to ask Shannon out. And I don’t date guys for the heck of it. I just want to date the man I’m going to marry and be done with it.”

“I agree.” He said. He pointed out to me why he had been borrowing my books on courtship, “I’m just asking if you would be interested in pursuing a courtship with me.”

I told him he would have to ask my Dad that one. He agreed quickly. I figured, if a guy has enough guts to ask Dad, then they really must be interested. It was a good way of weeding out the men from mice. His immediate willingness surprised me. There wasn’t a hesitation or anything, he literally asked me for my Dad’s cell phone number in the the next breath. As we talked more, my image of him melted and completely transformed, I began to see so much why he really was a very, good, worthy, holy man. He was gentle, not pushy, respectful and kind. He wasn’t tough. He was sensitive and intuitive- I surmised it was because he grew up with seven sisters. (any man who can quote Little Women is a keeper!) He was extremely patient and really, very sweet. After we walked and talked for nearly two hours I found myself excited. He had agreed to talk to my Dad, but he also agreed that neither of us were ‘bound’ to the other, since we would be apart so much and what if we were to meet someone else? That told me that he was selfless, another check mark went off in my head. No pressure. We agreed to simply be friends,to pray about our interest in one another, write letters and see what happens in six months.

That was December 7th, 2004. So many more wonderful stories since then!

Six months , several long distance phone calls, dozens of handwritten letters, and hundreds of daily e-mails later (there was no Skype!)- we went on our very first date. And two years after that ,finding out minutes before it happened (again! haha!) in the pouring rain, he proposed. And twelve years after that, with five babies between us, we sit at our very own dinner table and his ears still turn red when I talk about those times in college.

 

First date. Favorite pinstripe shirt!

 

View of the courtyard from my window.

View of courtyard from my dorm window. Icon brought back from Rome by him.

Household brothers

Tom’s household brothers & the wives

Josh & Tom

Standing on tippy toes

Who knew? The big mouth and the Shiek?

 

 

Crew.

 

 

Category: Uncategorized

Re-Cap & Back

Comments 4 Standard

My oh my! Where have I been for the past months   year?  Things have been quite an adventure-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-and-try-not-to-puke over here for the Team since the middle of the summer 2016.

Let me bring you up to speed with a birds eye view of Team Thimons since our last meeting: (take note, reality TV producers: I’ve got TONS of material for you!!)

The scene where we left off was late July 2016, Tom was working in Wisconsin. Pregnant me (with Baby Tommy #5) was holding down the fort with the newly listed house for sale. The house went on the market beginning of July after Tom finally relented. I had been complaining that we had no more room and the kids could not grow up around the block from a tattoo parlor. Especially now that they could read the graffiti. Also, they couldn’t go for walks or ride bicycles since the recent discovery that the Burger King at the end of our block was pushing heroin and now providing bio-hazard trash cans for their customers. (to properly dispose of used needles…how nice.) I argued this was no place for a brood of curious kids to be raised. Tom thought about it. Then Tom got an e-mail from the city police alerting him that not 1, not 2, but 3 ‘predators’ moved into the house a few doors down. Tom had tiny heart attack, recovered, then put house on market. House has 15 showings in first week. It sells in 4 days flat.

Team Thimons was not expecting their house to sell so quick. (please read the above description …) However, it sold in 4 DAYS for our asking price (what?!) on the feast of Saint Philomena. So Team surmises it must be providential. Or the buyers were legally blind. In any case, the next 6 weeks until closing consisted of house hunting to no avail, as it magically turned into a ‘sellers market’ and virtually everything dried up overnight. We joked that we would be pregnant and homeless soon. (insert nervous laughter) and as the packing/purging intensified… our prospects grew thinner and thinner… the closing date crept closer… the baby belly grew larger… the novenas/masses/praying grew more and more loud. Still nothing.

Team literally went door to door, knocking.. asking people if they’d be willing to sell their house. LITERALLY.

Team “Heyyyyy nice house. Want to sell it to us? We have 4 kids and one on the way and …please sell us your house.”

How about now? If I stand like this, does it change your mind?

 

One particularly amazing house was located two doors from my parents. We knocked, we sought, we asked. Neighbor  agreed to sell us her house. Bank got involved. We agreed on a price. Neighbor goes on vacation. We were 4 weeks away from our closing, when neighbor calls us to say she changed her mind. That was ironically a ‘false alarm’ labor day too. Lol. Must’ve had something to do with all our belongings being in boxes, a descending infant in the womb and no place to live.

That day, we told the kids what happened, and we listened to the story of Saint Rose of Lima together. (It’s a book on cd, it’s so very well done!) At the end Saint Rose  urges

“if God has not given you what you need, then you simply must keep asking!

And the girl that played Saint Rose said it so convincingly that I was pretty sure it was Saint Rose of Lima herself whopping me over the head with the Boppy pillow and pushing me to keep nagging God.

SO I prayed, “this is it. Three more days. I can’t take it anymore, Lord, we MUST have a crystal clear sign where we are supposed to be within 3 days.

(3 days away (didn’t realize) was the feast of Saint Faustina, apostle of Divine MERCY)

Randomly, my grandmother came over on the 3rd day and brought me a novena to Saint Faustina ( she was totally unaware) Tiny fireworks went off in my head.

The next morning, Max came into our bedroom with a Saint Faustina Holy card ‘asking for graces in special needs’ and hands it to me. The Team is now utterly convinced something big is coming.

We prayed a laundry list of prayers together as a family and went out to look at houses with our agent that day to come up with….NOTHING.

The Team was disappointed. But came home, and that afternoon, a home nearby posted for sale. We were the 2nd people to see the home. Which was absolutely gorgeous.  So we put in an offer but couldn’t ignore this feeling of immense unrest. No peace, no click. Despite the house being a ‘dream house’ to look at, it just didn’t settle right with us.

The neighborhood wasn’t our preference. A bit too ‘keeping up with the Jones’ for us.The location put us out of the way from church, family, friends. Something just wasn’t right. Our peace seemed to have left us suddenly.

At morning mass the next day, the immense peace flooded us as we walked in as a family and I felt strongly that the most important thing was not the nice house, in the fancy neighborhood but togetherness and the Eucharist. Tom and I concurred that this was our ultimate goal. So we withdrew our bid on the fancy schmancy house then on a whim, called up the neighbor who previously accepted our  offer on the home next to the grandparents and asked them to reconsider.

It was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The priest’s homily was all about the rosary ‘changing the winds’ and changing hearts in the Battle of Lepanto. He urged us to keep persisting, keep praying, especially the rosary. I coached myself all day mentally that if the rosary could change the tide of an enormous battle, then surely, the rosary could change the tide of our luck with house hunting!

That day, Friday, we said 6 rosaries for a change of heart. We said 2 more on Saturday one on Sunday…. 9 in total.

On Sunday, October 9, the neighbor called us to let us know she had re-accepted our offer!!

Once our closing date was set for the house we were buying (set for the week before my due date!!), we had a 27 day interim between homes.

That’s right. Team Thimons that loud, crazy, homeschooling family of 6 needed to find a place to rent or stay temporarily for 27 days.

All hotels we called were like “HA you gonna need TWO rooms at TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS a night!”

All the apartments were like ‘ WHA YOU MEAN 4 KIDS ?? You can bring DOGS but KIDS? Nope.”

All the AirBnB folks were like ‘I’ll be needing, like, an extra million dollars for insurance because, lets face it. Your kids are going to destroy my  newly renovated bungalow.’

And then all the rest of our prospects were ‘ Let me call you back’

                   This is how calm I was.

……

(To be fair, we did have the option of staying with my wonderful in-laws in Pittsburgh but that would have meant changing doctors and possibly having a baby out of state. Also having to stop every two minutes of a 7 hour car ride to pee. It was an option but it wasn’t ideal circumstances due to how far along I was.)

So, there we were 8 months pregnant with a week until we moved out of our house and no place to go. Praying so urgently to Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin… please! Help us out!

All of our belongings went into storage. We were living out of duffel bags. I woke up one morning feeling a strong urge (not to push! HA!) but  to call the Carmelite sisters in our area and ask if they had any suggestions. After talking to a priest friend about it, I picked up the phone, and crazily rambled off the above tale you just read in under 1 minute to the poor, bewildered  nun on the other end.

‘Let me call you back’ she slowly said.

Thinking I’d completely shell shocked Sr. Richard, I hung up and prayed very, very hard. (I know, I know, so much praying for one small blog post.. but seriously, when you’ve got a baby on the way, and sex offenders living across the street and four little kids… you do ALOT more overtime praying!!)

Shortly, very shortly after that, Sr. Richard called us back offering us to come stay at the convent in a private, furnished cottage on the grounds which just so happened to be available for the dates we needed!

Then I glanced at the calendar and lo and behold. That very day they called us back was no other than the feast of Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin. And we would be staying with the Carmelites. God is SO good! He is never coincidental. Ever. (And the squeaky wheel really always gets the grease. So KEEP PRAYING!)

So it was that Team Thimons moved out of our house by the tattoo parlor and heroin dumpsters, and into the convent cottage bearing kids, bikes, suitcases and catching our breath. I was about four weeks away from my due date. The cottage was a welcomed retreat after what felt like an eternal rat race for 12 weeks.

Well, the retreat lasted one week until I went into labor.. forced labor essentially following an anaphylactic reaction to ambicillin administered for Group B strep (there is nothing as scary as literally suffocating while you are contracting. OMG.)

I was 36 weeks and 1 day. The stay in the hospital was extended 5 days because little baby’s blood sugars weren’t regulating and he was jaundiced. He was also a teensy weensy 5 pounds! This of course meant enormous amounts of help from Tom and my family juggling kids, commutes from the hospital 30 minutes away, and then… when I was finally discharged after 5 days.. being readmitted with a severe uterine infection which meant the juggling and craziness just continued through the following week.

I felt like our life was on the tilt a whirl ride at the fair. Everyone around me was gripping onto the scraps of normalcy we had left— everyone of us was functioning on minimal sleep and a lot of chocolate.

               But look at him now!

It’s not a part of the story I enjoy remembering quite honestly, mostly because the birth of my beautiful son was so sullied with a lot of terrifying moments in the middle of a very topsy tursvy nomadic existence. Not at ALL like the birth plan I had prepared for! LOL (BIRTH PLANS!!! LOL)

During the infection I was readmitted for (since Tom had to care for the newborn and my parents had the other children) I was left terrified, immobile and fevering in a back hospital room by myself overnight hooked up to a million and one machines that beeped in my ear if I even breathed to quickly. Which, anyone who knows me, or rather knows my nerves… it wasn’t pretty. I’m kinda a major wimp when it comes to 3 things: nightime, being alone, and pain. So it was just a trifecta of all kinds of terribleness during that hospital stay.

I did have this one intense dream that I was tanning on this gorgeous tropical beach somewhere, only to be yanked literally up out of (my dream) and my bed by nurses shouting at me that my blood pressure was dropping too low and I needed to wake up and “stay with them”.  Also, during the infection, my baby was not allowed to be with me. At all! He literally was five days old so he wasn’t allowed in the unit I had to be in.  It was like some hardcore emotional stuff happening then.

Disclaimer: 
Granted, I did not go through what other people have been through, and comparing notes, I’m sure this is nothing on the suffering scale. However, for my shoulders, it was quite the cross. And I’ve read that each of our crosses are carved just for us, because we all bear more or less differently. For me, being the weakling that I am, this cross nearly broke me. But now I can write about it… and it helps to look at it a little lighter. The Lord in all His goodness truly carried me!

 

Anyway,

The next 6 weeks following that drama -I like to categorize as

AH-NO-NO-NO:

  • recovering from uterine infection
  • heavy duty medictation with side effects (insomnia & anxiety! YAYYYY!)
  • newborn preemie not gaining weight
  • supplementing with formula (read: any last shred of sleep I could get was punctuated with having to heat up bottles first)
  • pumping trying to re-bring in the milk (read= OUCH)
  • 4 kids with respiratory infections (insert maniacal laughter)
  • moved into new home
  • mastitis (seriously?!)
  • boxes, boxes, boxes
  • winter weather
  • Jack gets concussion from falling off top bunk
  • Max falls out of crib, concussion
  • Max gets strep throat (toddler with strep= NO NO NO NO WHY)
  • New baby gets head cold! (I resumed fetal position and cry myself to sleep)
  • Charlie gets HSP (an autoimmune manisfestation of strep)
  • All kids get really awful respiratory colds A SECOND TIME.

4 urgent care visits, 2 ER visits, a BILLION doctors visits. Also Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all in there too. And husband away on business for a week.

You probably heard this screaming, wailing voice of a woman ripping her hair out sometime in the month of December of 2016. That was me.

And now you’ve heard the tale. The whole harrowing, unbelievable but totally truthful story of how our family by the grace of God (and the skin of our teeth) moved into our new home, had another baby and why it’s taken me so long to return to earth!

You now also know why I haven’t had ‘playdates’ in a year and a half. It’s hard enough organizing my kids to sit at the table and eat, let alone try to schedule group playtime with other individuals who have similar attention spans. I quite honestly gave up on play dates because .. well, #selfcare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Uncategorized

Let This Cup Pass

Comments 7 Standard

{{I wrote this about a year ago during a very difficult time following a traumatic birth and postpartum. What I was going through then was very painful but I felt connected more intimately than ever before to the Body of Christ and the cup of suffering we partake in. I share it with each of you now because I hope it will provide comfort to anyone who may need it. You are not alone! }}

.

.

.

I know where you are. It is so hard right now. This. What you are going through. It very well may be the toughest thing you have ever done. Sometimes, you think to yourself ” I simply cannot go on for another minute. This will break me. I am suffocating under the weight of it. I’m spiraling out of control…”

You feel crazy and sad because this is so very difficult. Will it ever end? Will you be happy again? Will you ever get back to those moments of peaceful joy that you so desperately miss?

People keep telling me there is a light at the end of the tunnel but in some of my darkest moments, I sit there and say no. There is not. There cannot be. Because this suffering is incessant. Non-stop. Every day brings something else.

But there is. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel and no matter what, one day at a time I will get through this. And you will get through this. Everything is at the mercy of God’s grace. God who clearly has everything under control and who has been lovingly teaching us that we have nothing under our control. At all. Morning always follows night, and spring always follows even the coldest of winters.

Sometimes we are the 3 year old who is having a meltdown when they see us making soup instead of their usual PBJ for lunch. They cry, they whine, they beg that we don’t forget how to make it, how to cut it…which plate is theirs. And of course we are getting around to it, in due time. We had every intention of blessing them with their favorite lunch routine… just today we had to start supper first. So we ask them to wait, be patient, and trust us as Mother, we will take care of their needs! We mumble to ourselves,

‘When have I not given you what you desire? Why do you worry that I will forget you this time? Or let you starve?’

And so it is with us. The light is there at the end of the tunnel we just have to keep walking. Keep reaching out for it. Never loosing communication or a relationship with our loving Father. Even while we are in our Garden of Gethsemane.

I spend so much of my time feeling guilty. When I’m suffering, I feel guilty for not buckling down and offering it up. I feel guilty to hate the suffering because  I know others are suffering much more than I. I feel guilty asking God what I really want to ask Him…to take it all away.

Then I remember, and you should too, that Christ himself- fully God and fully Man- asked His father to take it away.  What a profound act of humility! If Christ begged His father for this, then of course, I must also! Far from disappointing God, our ‘let this cup pass’ prayer is an incredible act of faith, of trust, of total dependence. It is declaring our littleness and weakness. Perhaps then it was my pride that bound me back from saying what was bursting forth on my heart,

“Lord! I cannot do this! You MUST take this from me! I am weaker than your weakest soul!”

Being reduced to such lowliness, rendering ourselves totally incapable is expressing confidence in the power of God. And it is there, in that moment, He so generously lavishes our souls with the balm of grace we need to endure.

Because He is a Father and what Father gives their children a stone when they ask for bread?

All of this has taught me something greater. That every single one of us has the same exact moment whether we share it or whether we keep it to ourselves. We all have those moments in our lives where we feel like we are crushed under the weight of our cross. We have to remember we are not called to be perfect. We have no control over anything. We are little, helpless, weak and that is beautiful.

Sometimes all I can do is clench my teeth and say ‘All for you Jesus’ ‘Jesus I trust in You’ but I keep saying it! When I feel like I am being overcome, I refocus, take one day at a time. Find the tiniest moment of peace. Even the tiniest moment can plant a small seed of gratitude. ” Yes! No one pooped in the tub today!” “Hooray! The sun is shining!”

Small seeds of gratitude grow joy and the joy is what squelches the fear.  Yes, there are so many things to be afraid of. Things that will happen that we cannot control. Kids will be sick, loves will be lost, someone will get hurt, disaster may strike, trials will come.

But I tell you, things are going to be okay. The Lord has brought us this far and he surely will not lead us astray at this point! Everything I have ever asked the Lord in prayer He has given me. I have to keep reminding myself, He has never denied me. All it takes is looking into my husband’s eyes to remember that. He is the face of my answered prayer. Our marriage is. Our children. Our home. How can I ever be afraid? God has provided for me always. Sometimes taking longer, but always fulfilling the desires of my heart. If not, He has changed those desires.

So even on the most difficult of days, still proclaim ‘Jesus I trust in You!’ just say it, even if you don’t feel it.  And then take a deep breath and be very very little in the arms of your Heavenly Father who will not leave any of His children alone and afraid. He will rescue you and arm you with all the grace you will need! And I assure you, most urgently, believe me…. He will answer the longings of your heart.

 

All for you, Jesus!

Category: Uncategorized

A Mother’s Day Reflection

Comments 2 Standard

My mother is the most beautiful person in the world.

Is there a person on this planet who does not think that their mother is beautiful? No matter what their personalities, flaws or quirks…our mothers, they are the most beautiful people in the entire world to us.IMG_2020

It seems as though we knew this before we were even capable of speaking. I know that we all did, because I gaze into the eyes of my newborn baby and I see it in his eyes:  love.  So much love, for such a tiny, unintelligent little human.  A human incapable of speaking or articulating their emotions… yet, innately aware of love in the form of sacrifice.IMG_0031

I want to argue that babies recognize our sacrifices as mothers for them. Truly.

For what is love but the willing of another’s good? That willing is, sacrifice.  So if  love is sacrifice, love is also realizing sacrifice, love is made manifest in sacrifice.

Therefore, if our babies love us, they must innately recognize sacrifice.

I know this to be true because of the fistfuls of dandelions I get presented with by a dirty, squishy toddler after I’ve just lost my patience with them not minutes prior.

From all the hugs and kisses that never cease to come even on my grouchiest of afternoons.

From all the ‘look Mom!” I get beckoned with, even though I grumbled to them about how messy they are…

I am no philosopher or theologian. I mostly stand for long periods of time at my kitchen sink washing dishes and thinking about things like this.

I usually think about them on the days I am most disgusted with all my mistakes and shortcomings, and while I’m sitting (standing) there wallowing in guilt…one of these five little people God has charged me with typically runs in bearing scribbles on paper they made just for my wall.  Or hands me a clay creation or paintings, or makes an announcement that they made their bed and ‘wait till you see! You’ll love it!”

Each one of them subconsciously, is aware of the sacrifice I make for them…the sacrifice that speaks mountains of love to them, whether or not they can expressly pluck it out of their awareness and put their finger on it, don’t doubt the intelligence of these creatures: they know. I know they know because of how much they love back.

Which leads me to finally in my adult consciousness expressly be able to pluck out my own awareness that this is how each of us were as children. Acutely, albeit unaware perhaps,  in tune with how much our mothers sacrificed for us, and how much they love us… which in turn makes them most beautiful to us.

Does not sacrifice make someone all the more beautiful?

I see it in my six month old’s eyes. He isn’t just happy to see me, I see love, I feel beautiful and I know it is only because of the purity of his soul. Despite all of my personality flaws and shortcomings all this baby sees and knows is my sacrifice…my love… for him. And I suppose in his eyes, I can be nothing but beautiful.

And so it is with our own mothers when we were children! Is that not a wonderful thought? When I stop and truly let that sink in I have to catch my breath sometimes.

094

Mother’s Day almost 30 years ago!

In a way, how very sad it is to be an adult! To loose that innocence. To become older and grow weary in our visions, allowing emotions and fleeting human flaws cloud our awareness of the depth of our mother’s sacrifice.  To dull our image of true beauty with the law of the world. The law that says judge, hold grudges, loose patience and focus on the passing… not the lasting.

It seems only through parenting our own children that the foggy glasses are lifted off of our eyes and the purity of vision once again restored. We can see the depth of love, through sacrifice that our own mothers have for us!

Oh and to think that this all is only a tiny fraction of the love that Our Blessed Mother in heaven has for all of us.

There may be those who say their mother’s did not love them, did not sacrifice for them… but if they are beautiful (and who, who among us can say otherwise?) If they are beautiful, it is only because of their love for you. Because of their sacrifice for you! At at least ONE moment in time, they made a significant sacrifice for you! (You are here, are you not?) And that one time, is probably the single greatest sacrifice they ever could have made for you!

Sacrifice and love makes the soul radiant with beauty beyond compare.

Saint Augustine says “ Love is the beauty of the soul”

No one’s beauty ever has, or ever will, surpass the beauty of my mother.

DSC09451.JPG

I can clearly remember being young and wanting only to look like her. How was it possible for someone to be grounding me, yet never falling from being beautiful? Nobody else’s mom was as beautiful as mine. And even on the most difficult angsty teen days, I never once stopped thinking she was beautiful.

Though she be fierce and at her wits end with me, she always remained: beautiful.

Though she be exhausted and trying to listen with all her might to my ramblings, still: beautiful

Though she have migraines and illness, fever blisters and injury: so, so, beautiful.

The farther I delve into my own journey of motherhood, the more beautiful my mother becomes.

Every middle of the night bedwetting incident, followed by another child’s nightmare needing soothed, followed by a baby up to nurse… the more tired, the more stretched to my limits I feel, the more beautiful my own mother becomes.

I so badly want to slow down and see this cycle for what it is truly being conveyed to us from heaven: this is true love. This cycle happens for a reason.KatieAdam-1515

We begin with purity, with seeing others only for their love and sacrifice and finding beauty only in that love and sacrifice. Along the way we get a little clouded in our vision but then we have children of our own and come back full circle to see the beauty of the human soul. Especially our mothers. Perhaps this is what Saint Therese means when she teaches her “Little Way” and encourages us to be childlike. Maybe it just means always remaining aware of the sacrifice and love. No matter what’s been said or happened in the past, at the end of the day that sacrifice and that love is still there and will always be there (if I must…at the very least, our mothers did give birth to us!) That sacrifice is where true beauty lies.

The happiest of Mother’s Day to my most beautiful and always beautiful mother, and all the beautiful mothers out there!

 

 

Category: Uncategorized

Broken Mirrors

Comments 5 Standard

It is disappointing to me to hear so many fellow Christians expressing anger that Donald Trump is our president.

For starters, he was not my nominee of choice. I find him arrogant, rude, ridiculous and brash, among a host of other characteristics.

However, I cannot turn my back on the faith I profess. The faith which obliges me to remain hopeful and to be merciful.

As Christians, we are the Easter people! The people of hope! Our hope lies in the Word of God and His church. They have shown us time and time again that leaders and kings with massive brokenness and weakness are used to work wonders of the Holy Spirit.

If we walk around griping, moaning and predicting what a disaster the next four years will  be, what are we proclaiming to those around us? We are saying that despite a person expressing a willingness to work for good, their past, their faults, behavior and personality will impede them.

Is our speech evangelizing a faith of mercy and trust? Or are we saying there is mercy for some- the ones who are kind tongued and holy-but no good could come from the ones who are difficult to bear? This is not practicing what we preach.

How can so many ‘Christians’ not be hopeful in this circumstance? The more I pondered and prayed about this, the more the Lord placed desire on my heart to share this with all of you. I remembered King David. King David was a married man who was eying his best friend’s wife, then committed adultery, got her pregnant, then had Uriah (the best friend)murdered so she (best friend’s said wife) would be available to wed. Yikes. That some pretty nasty page 6 stuff going on for King David.

Lest we forget that King David also established the Kingdom of Jerusalem, he is Israel’s most beloved King mentioned a little more than 1,000 times in the Old Testament alone!

King David, that broken scalawag was solely responsible for bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem…’placing divine worship at the center of national life’ (Bible Basics, Bergsma)12767025195_f10e90ae8c_b

My guess is not many people who knew of David’s sins would have ‘voted’ for him or given him much support.

‘David? Yeah right. He’s out of control. He’s on a power trip. The guy thinks he can get away with murder!‘ (pun intended)

However, I am amazed at how far and wide the Lord’s power stretched through the broken mirrors of his soul. The Lord ends up making a covenant with David (no small deal)… and it is from David’s lineage that the Son of God comes forth. That’s quite a story of hope for all of us!king-david-nathan

Biblical history is littered with stories such as these. Saint Peter himself, publicly denouncing Christ. What about Samson, Noah, Lot, Thomas the Apostle, Jacob, Rahab or Saint Paul?  Saint Paul murdered Christians before he became the greatest advocate for Christianity. How is it that these types of men, with their faults, sins and difficult personalities were able to be used as instruments for immense good?

Perhaps there is an actual chance that victories for Christianity can happen through the Trump administration? Absolutely.

Any Christian who knows what our faith professes cannot deny it. The Bible proclaims it. Sunday’s second reading re-iterates it:

“Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing…” (1 Cor 1:26-31)

Looking through that lens, what Christian cannot be filled with joy? He’s a dang fool. Of course he is. But so am I. And you.  The joyful news that we must remember is after 8 long years of anti-Christian, a-moral, pro-abortion, un-open to discussion administration suffocating the life out of us- we have someone who is at least attempting to try!

Perhaps he’s not your top pick. That’s ok. But here is someone who has expressed a willingness to fight for life and on the side of our Christian beliefs. No matter what his past sins are or his personality is like, he is making strides in alignment with our faith beliefs. A fool who’s trying. Hmmm sounds a lot like, well, every human being on the planet earth.

If we vocalize contempt and doubt instead of encouragement and hope what are we telling those around us? What are we teaching our children? We will inadvertently teach them to focus in on faults, and we become the Pharisees. Who among us is that perfect?

I’m begging all Christians, in light of our faith, in light of the tremendous examples in the Bible, we have to stop the bickering and the belittling.  You simply cannot say you are Christian and turn around, in such a time as this, and refuse to be joyful when a broken person does something good for the Church.

To say with our examples, “So you say you want to work on our side, but we all know the sins of your past and we’re going to hold you to your baggage and say it’s impossible…’

This is not our faith.

And the argument does not work for ‘the other candidate’ or the ‘previous president’ because in order for God to work through someone, there must be willingness. And on ‘her’ part and ‘his’ they avowedly expressed no such willingness.

If the banning of federally funded abortions, the re-institution of the Mexico City Policy…within the first week of office isn’t a step of willingness in the right direction than I don’t know what is. (Praise God just thinking about the babies that will be spared because of these two acts! Hallelujah!) Also, let us look to who is being placed in significant positions by this administration: good leaders like Andrew Bremburg, Dr. Ben Carson, Kellyanne Conway.

Let us recall that no administration has ever ‘fully supported’ the March for Life. This administration publicly mentioned at least three times that the March for Life has their ‘full support’. And their lack of comment on the Women’s March should speak volumes for which side of the abortion issue their allegiance lies. The issue of life, especially the life of the unborn, is the single most critical issue that we face today, and any victory in their defense deserves to be celebrated!screen_shot_2017-01-27_at_11-43-05_am_810_500_55_s_c1

If these aren’t hopeful signs and a reason to rejoice then thank goodness you won’t be the one in charge of judging me at the end of my life. Yikes! Tough crowd.

299x223px-ll-52e196e1_lighten_up_francis

This is not to infer that we all need to get on the bandwagon and love their personalities or their past. This is not to say turn a blind eye. This also obviously doesn’t mean that we need to support every future decision that this administration makes. But it is to say, how could there ever be hope for any of us if there is no hope in this situation? If we are stubborn enough to pout and doubt that tremendous wonders will be worked through Trump’s weakness and brokenness, than what are you saying for me? What about my weakness? How can I ever hope to be a good mother, wife, sister…fully knowing my own baggage and the weight of my own sins. If every rude thing I ever said was recorded, if all my mistakes were public knowledge, surely no one would think I was capable of any good at all.

I’ve got news for all the grumpy Christians out there who cannot find the silver lining in this administration: none of us are saints. We all have baggage, sins, personality flaws, and annoyances. I’m going out on a limb and guessing Trump isn’t the only person in the room who’s said some pretty mean things before. We are all just a bunch of broken mirrors. And yet, miraculously, through your willingness and my willingness to keep trying, God manages to bring good out of our measly efforts in this adventure.

Deep down  this tempest of opinions among Christians boils down to one very real, crucial thing. It is that we all think we have to be perfect. All of us despise our own brokenness and we hate seeing it in others, especially those who are leading us. We look at their ugliness and faults and it scares us, because deep down we doubt how good could ever come out of our own ugliness and sin. We naturally, want to see flawless, perfection, purity, holiness and success.

These feelings are distorted.  Yes, we are flawed and broken, but beautiful because of it. We are foolish.  We all have sins, sometimes awful ones, yet God still triumphs in us. In our weaknesses, He is made strong!

Some of the most beautiful pottery in the world is broken pottery. In the Japanese art of Mending, Kintsugi, broken dishes and pottery are put back together together with gold, silver or platinum. According to My Modern Met:

“This repair method celebrates the artifact’s unique history by emphasizing the fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original..”

ncpmbsoj3hses0xn9ke6_1065306615What was once weak, useless, garbage is transformed into dishes of increased value and beauty. Just like the astounding victories of saints and biblical heroes ahead of us, lighting the path… proving time and time again that as long as you are willing, God can work miracles through any of us. Especially someone who is trying. Even if they are trying for the very first time. Even if they are arrogant and rude. God. Still. Uses. Them. Without hiding or disguising sins, something truly beautiful can come forth.

If you don’t believe that it is possible, then you don’t believe it is possible for yourself. And I’m telling you, it is. So have hope. Have joyful hope!

I take incredible comfort in knowing that the eve of the election was spent with a national vigil of Holy Hours being held. Prayer in front of the Eucharist is so incredibly powerful that I felt nothing but complete trust when the election went to Trump. This was all in the Lord’s hands. eucharistic_adoration_credit_matthew_rarey_cna_3_ewtn_world_catholic_news_11_6_12

The thought I rely on is this: my kids are watching all of this. My kids need to know that despite their shortcomings, even on the days when they say they are Christian but then they go do some un-Christian thing…that I still believe they will rise to the occasion and keep their word. That no matter how many times they end up in the confessional, God will prevail and work good through them. I refuse to complain or be gloomy in the face of even the tiniest victories for Christianity. I will not teach my kids they are the sum of their failings, but of their efforts to keep trying.  Let’s all try to have joyful hope in this administration, for our children’s sake, to teach them the most powerful lesson we all struggle to accept in our darker moments:

God can still work through you. No matter what.

John 1:5 “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.”

Good bye, girly girl.

Comments 3 Standard

I really need to give up trying to be as girly girl as I used to be. It’s a futile attempt with three little boys constantly hovering over my every move.

Earrings get pulled out, necklaces broken, lovely sequined shoes cannot hold their own when dashing after an escapee in the mall.

Jeans, sneakers, sweatshirt and ponytails would much more equip me to tackle my darling offspring whilst they try to jump off the playhouse roof…for the 100th time in a hour.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Here’s the thing though. I grew up with only sisters! We had tea parties, and played dress up for endless hours and curled up in corners reading books. My childhood was filled to the brim with blissful adventures of domesticity like playing house and painting finger nails and baking. To this day, all three of us revel in our dangly earrings, sparkly shoes, and swishy dresses. And to boot, I have my dear daughter who aches for all of these things in excess but like me, is constantly rudely brought back to the reality of the fact that we can’t have them as long and Larry, Moe, and Curly are running circles around us.

Point in case: the Infamous Sunday Mass Debacle.

Ahem.

You ready for this one?

Well. To begin.

It’s not like I’m completely unaware that wearing stockings, heels and a flowy dress is a THREAT TO HUMANITY, or just, to my sons’ happiness… it’s simply that I had forgotten.

It had been SO LONG. So long since Jack was the toddler who dragged his rubber soled shoes down the back of my BRAND NEW (no. LITERALLY bought them on the way to church) new pantyhose, as I knelt in church and he sat on the pew behind me.

Dragggggg. Rippppp. Right before going up to communion.

It had been equally as long since the time Jack pulled down my jersey knit skirt as he waited on line behind me while, again, going up for communion. (Thank goodness I was wearing a slip!!!)

After such incidents as these, I had actually adjusted my Sunday attire to leggings (un-rippable by rubber soled boys shoes) and flats, and dresses (attached to my shoulders that cannot be yanked down)

For as long as I can seasonally, I never wear stockings anymore. Because otherwise I figured it would be easier to turn over my bank account information to Walgreens at the rate I was needing to replace pantyhose.

Anyway.  My pregnancy hormone ladened brain seems to have forgotten the ‘whys we dos what we dos‘ when we have little boys in tow. And on a particularly beautiful, sunny, breezy, Sunday I went to Walgreens, bought the silkiest stockings, put on my girly heels, and the flowiest chiffon dress in my closet.

It was a pink chiffon dress. If you must know.

It was lovely. And between the chiffon, the silky hose, the heels and my pearls (and the new pregnancy!) I was all girly girled up and bubbling over with feminity (and naivety) as we walked into Mass.

I feel pretty....

I feel pretty….

We almost made it to the Gospel when Charlie began to not resist himself. He swished my dress a few times, and I primly leant over and whispered to him to leave Mommy’s dress alone.

He busied himself with something in my purse, then coyly wiggled his way back to me and slid his hand up and down the apparently irresistible stockings and flounced the back of my skirt up a bit. Not too high, just above my knees, but still not ok.

Blushing, I again, lowered my self ever so precariously in my  heels to his height and gave him “the eyes” while asking him to please not do that to Mommy’s dress.

Of course, he did it again the next time I stood up. Only this time, a wee bit higher than the previous time. About thigh height now. I noted that there was a family with hormone ridden teen aged boys sitting directly in the pew behind us, and upped my serious ‘stop it’ game with Charlie.

I went the ‘what did I just say’ route, with the bulging Stanley eyes, and some shameless bribery with tic tacs.

DID I STUTTER?!

DID I STUTTER?!

He knew I meant business.

Yet clearly, boys being faced with silky stockings and flowy dresses find it just far too tempting. Even when they are 4.

(things really  don’t ever change much for them, do they? How different is a 4 year old boy from a 30 year old boy?)

We managed to make it another five minutes or so, until the big reveal happened.

We all stood for the Our Father, after being safely hidden by my pew kneeling for a bit. I really had felt we’d have no more issues the rest of Mass.

Our Father started wrapping up and we were gearing up for the Sign of Peace. (Do they seriously plan the timing of these things?!)

When, faster than anything, Charlie grabbed the back of my beautiful, flowy, pink chiffon dress with both hands and parachuted it up as high as it could go, let go and let it fall down to his sheer delight.

Completely and totally exposing, um, all of anything that was underneath.

Nothing left to the imagination there, folks. Lucky for me I was wearing the most blah pair of Hanes Her Way that has been ever invented.

Did I mention there was an 18 year old sitting directly behind me?

And that we were just about to exchange the sign of peace?

How’s that for humility?

spanch-bob_17835913_orig_

 

So, we had a funeral for my panty hose. I retired the chiffon dress for the time being. I now have buckled down and have to view my clothes much more tactically adaptable to my environment as opposed to pretty and fashionable.  Football gear might be my safest bet at this point.

In any case, take this as a warning all you moms of little boys. Don’t let your derrière be the next unsuspecting victim of a toddler’s indiscretions, especially in the middle of Mass.

And if a pink chiffon dress and silky stockings lure you into some delusional thinking, I tell you with certainty it lies! Run the other way!

Nothing is worth loosing your dignity! Abort mission and succumb to to the sneakers and sweatshirts!

Of course I’m writing all this as a reminder to myself.

You know, the next time (in like a year) I find myself lured into buying silky stockings at Walgreens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Uncategorized

Gender Reveal?

Comments 8 Standard

So I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not to find out the gender of Thimons Baby #5 lately.  We have a daughter and three boys… and for the first part of this pregnancy, as I clung nauseous to the edge of my sofa, I told myself I needed the mental preparation if another boy was in store for us. 3 tiny tornadoes in one small house was already making my head spin. I would certainly need a good 9 months to brace myself for a possible 4th tornado.

Which got me thinking about the definite differences between boys and girls. Don’t get me wrong, I love love LOVE my boys, but in light of all the gender drama lately.. I’d like to grab the microphone and “Ahem, Ahem” address the crowd that gender reveals a whole heck of a lot about a person, right from the get-go. I don’t care what popular journalists and psycho-doctors want to say otherwise. I have lived it, baby.

Mia, my oldest, from the start was the easiest baby…great sleeper, great learner, earliest talker. By 16 months when our son Jack was born, she was toting around her baby doll, nursing her baby, nurturing Jack (who screamed constantly) and trying to help change diapers.  There was a distinct maternal instinct, from that early age that she was expressing as a little girl.

The boys, while sweet and caring brothers, greeted newborn babies differently. Taking risks by trying to ‘leap’ over them during their tummy time, or see how quickly they’d react to a bop on the head from a Lego. One time poor Max was littered with a pile of their toys, in their attempt to make him stop crying. I saw the distinction between how guys nurture and how girls nurture. Guys, ‘here, do something, just stop complaining and work it out’.

And now, as they are all growing older… the distinctions are broadening like never before. Mia pouts and gets sensitive if you ask her for the thousandth time to please clean the 79 books off her bed and re-shelve them.  She sulks when you reprimand her but she also writes us dozens of notes for every silly little thing that flutters into her almost eight year old head. Shopping lists, thank yous, reminders, and of course, “Sorry my room is clozed for repairs. Come again later!’. In the mornings, she likes quiet and she’s reached the point of exasperation with her brothers for ‘busting into my room when I’m trying to read’.

The boys on the other hand, wake up swinging from the chandeliers. They compete over everything: who can get downstairs first, who can eat more, who has more Legos, who can push Mommy over the edge by asking the same thing over and over again. They start their day on loud, fast paced energy, and crash at the end of the day like a Mack truck. When they get punished, they shrug it off… sometimes a little too quickly, but they don’t take it… or much of anything personally. All three of them don’t sit still for books. All three of them are super picky eaters. All three of them never want to ‘chill out’ or slow down.

I see clear differences, from the start, between boys and girls. And perhaps the differences are more exaggerated to me since I grew up with only sisters.  Just my observations though! All too frequently incidents happen where I find myself thinking, “girls would NEVER” or “boys would NEVER”.

Point in case, as I mounted the stairs one afternoon in search of my laundry basket, I came upon it. It was perched, teetering on edge of the top step of the staircase, with Charlie seated in it, tightly gripping either side of the basket. Practically flying up the steps, flailing my arms to ‘catch’ the prospective accident I was about to witness I screamed,

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

Completely unphased, he looked up and responded

“Going down.

(Duh, Mom. I’m GOING DOWN, can’t you SEE THAT?)

“In the LAUNDRY BASKET?” I asked/shouted/panted

“It’s a boat.”

Um, Mia would never, ever ever ever attempt to fly down my 15 step staircase in nothing but a laundry basket. Nope. No siree.

What Mia does do is quietly get out scissors, and fabric, and dolls and sit intensely working on the floor of her bedroom. By the time I notice the extreme lack of chitter chatter in my house, all of my scotch tape has disappeared….and my Sharpies….and I hear her triumphantly entering the kitchen with a basket (my bathroom basket that she swiped) piled high with…. garbage? No!

“Look what I MADE, Mom!” She’s giddy and proud

“Are those your new socks I just bought you?” I’m blinking non stop and sifting through the garbage pile   fabric creation she’s bearing in her basket.

“Yeah! I cut up my socks and made headbands for my American Girl Dolls! Look!”

I freeze in that frozen Mom face you get when you realize how no body ever has socks that match, so after weeks of forgetting, you finally remember to pick up a brand new 12 pack of socks… only to find them snipped to smithereens the following day by a very creative child.

The boys would NEVER. They wouldn’t even be nurturing enough to care to brush the dolls hair let alone redesign all their socks into accessories.

See what I mean? Big differences… even from little people.

So for this baby I was going to find out the gender, because quite frankly, it does reveal an awful lot about the tiny person I’d be charged with soon. But I opted not to.

Instead I thought about it and realized that my daughter and my sons have all done things very differently, but each peeled away a different layer of my selfishness…that only they could do. When I put it in that light, I reasoned, they were each sent to me not for me to form them, but for them to form me more… they were exactly what I needed to chisel away at my vocation and aid my spiritual growth. So with that in mind, I think boy or girl… this baby is the next perfect stepping stone that God wants me to take. And I’m super excited to meet him or her when our journey is set to begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Uncategorized