Happy Octave! (at* a trumpet…I usually get pulled away by baby cries before I have the chance to proofread.)
Three o’ clock is marked by a sharp wooden clack in place of the processional bell, and the clergy enters in somber silence through a parted sea of black veils and mourning wear.
We’re having our own tiny passion in the pew as my son arches, flails, whinies, and whimpers. Finally quelled by milk, he lays peaceful and heavy in my burning arms. We make a sweaty pietà.
When I kiss the Holy Cross, I silently offer my child to his Father to do with what He wills. It is a prayer I make perhaps too freely. Too unconcerned that He might will pillars, crowns, and crosses as was willed for her Son on this holy, haloed day.
Hope you’re having the holiest of weeks. (P.S. I probably will overdo it on the Dostoevksy. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it.)
Growing up I took our rhythms and habits of living for granted. After the non-negotiables of Sunday mass and school were other habits that shaped and structured our time and our dynamic of family life. Things like set bedtimes, Legion of Mary meetings on Saturday mornings, soup and sandwich lunches on Sundays, family rosaries on Sunday nights always centered round a little home altar glowing in candlelight. Constants (with room enough for a healthy dose of spontaneity) that my siblings and I rarely gave a thought about (in fact, which I often fought against) but which we depended on and gave us our own little rule of life.
And when I was in college, I was always thinking of the future and dreaming about what perfection my little domestic church would consist of. How many more rituals, rhythms, and habits would make up our lives than even the ones I grew up with. I hoped for a well-ordered, holy home lived in accordance with the Church calendar though I had only a vague conception of how that would happen.
And imagine my surprise to find it hasn’t just organically happened on its own. Jumping from college into marriage and motherhood finds me with one foot still in a world where bedtimes and waketimes spin on a random wheel of fortune. Where schedules are loose and often created on the fly. A world where time, largely free to be divided up and used in whatever way I saw fit, was underappreciated.
Enter this new world of interdependence with other humans (and total dependence for one small human). It’s a world that demands structure or else collapses into chaos.
So here I am caught in the collision of these two worlds and am far too concerned with surviving the hell that is the all-day serial catnap to even think about structuring and planning meals, prayers, and other activities harmoniously around the current liturgical season.
But! I have hope that someday we’ll get our act halfway together. And in the meantime I’m putting together a little posting series on my hopes for living out each liturgical season.
I’m going to try to tackle it by category. Praying, working, eating, wearing, enjoying etc…all those daily habits that we can consciously conform to an intentional philosophy for living or may haphazardly control us. I’m sure, as per usual, I’ll have idealistic and unattainable visions, but I can’t stop, won’t stop with those.
So coming up later this week: Lent.
Sunday: chicken thighs in creamy marsala sauce, mixed veggies, and pasta
Monday: Asparagus and spinach soup with poached eggs
Wednesday: store-bought quiche lorraine and mac and cheese
Thursday: sweet potato soup and ham, cheese, and pepper jelly sandwiches
Friday: open-faced caprese sandwiches
Saturday: hamburgers and fries
In honor of International Womens Day this week:
“Part of being a beautiful woman means being one that lifts other women up and choosing something other than judgement when confronted with confusion or difference.”
•Some truth with which to pretty up your walls.
•It’s as though the creators of International Womens Day meant to put it right next to the feast of two great female martyrs. Here is St. Perpetua’s first hand prison account.
“It was as though so great a woman, feared as she was by the unclean spirit, could not be dispatched unless she herself were willing.”
I want to be one of Mary Cassatt’s mothers. Or Rossetti’s St. Anne. Wise and tender. Luminous and lovely.
And my children’s earliest memories of me to be buried in a sunny haze like a bright and blurry impressionist painting.
But I’m wiry haired and red eyed. Can’t be helped by the most forgiving of filters. My cold, bitterly over steeped tea seems appropriately like a witch’s brew. The lullabies I come up with, flattened and sharpened out of shape as they are, probably sound violent to tiny ears. Too often I moan and wail as sleep regressions that can’t be helped are met with mood regressions that can be.
And then there’s the guilt as I let my attention be splintered and fractured. All my dreams of fashioning a golden childhood and gentle home lost to bright screens and loud noises. The guilt as a small face is awash in blue light at odd hours of the night.
But I continue to tap, swipe, type, and look away. Away from growing limbs and a blooming body and a bubbling font of smiles and coos. Joy unreserved. And undeserved by this mother enamored by those frozen prettily in paint.
Sunday: store-bought tomato soup doctored up with hardboiled eggs and goat cheese + leftover spinach pie
Tuesday: burgers, chili cheese fries, and cider to wipe away all the tears from a stressful day with the babies
Wednesday: fast food (which I’m realizing is an ironic phrase during lent)
Thursday: caprese tart on puff pastry with truffle oil with chopped Italian salad out of a store bought plastic kit (to keep it classy). And! Special mention for lunch, in which I shopped the pantry and made some mean cream of cucumber soup.
Friday: parish lenten soup supper. I contributed roasted red bell pepper.
Saturday: pork roast with goat cheese mashed potatoes and braised leeks. At least that’s the plan.
I got themey this week.
•There was a time in the eighth grade when I thought I didn’t like Homer. Silly me. I just had a lackluster translation. This delightful interview was my 3am nursing sesh reading material.
“Translators are the only ones who live in this place between languages, both as reader and writer. You move back and forth from being one to being the other, and you never stop.”
•A bit spiritual direction I desperately needed to hear this week:
“By your words, at every moment, become the eloquence of God.”
“It looks like syntax is being thrown out the window here and being replaced by grunts like animals would make.”
•And that last link brought me here which is sure to lead me down endless rabbit holes.