Friday, January 30, 2009

Six Weeks Older (& Wiser)

Michael Ryan is six weeks old today. It feels like he was just born yesterday, and somehow, like I've never been without him. We are starting to get used to each other, but I don't yet feel competent in my role as mother.

For example: I'm still wearing pajamas (as in, just rolled out of bed, unshowered, messy hair, the works) and it's officially the afternoon.

Last week I was quite inspired by Michael's entry into the Church and decided to make attending daily mass a priority. All I have to do is walk across the campus parking lot, and there Christ is, ready for me in the Eucharist each day at 12:05 or 12:25pm. The little guy and I made it to daily mass three times last week and twice this week.

I've noticed a marked difference in how well I am able to handle my vocation in the past two weeks, especially on the days I make it to mass. I have a center to my day, I get up and moving, and my inability to be a perfect housewife & mother doesn't bother me so much. Actually, I am more likely to finish those chores & projects that constantly hang over my head when I go to mass!

It never ceases to amaze me how my inadequate efforts to pray and center my day around mass reap such an abundance of peace in my life. My hope is to make mass a habit in my daily life, the action that anchors my routine. And I think it will get easier as time goes on, as I learn how to better care for Michael and as he settles into his own routines.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baptism Day (or, Michael Ryan's De-Paganization)

Michael is officially a month old today. And today is the first day I've really felt pulled together since he was born. That doesn't mean I've finished all the tasks I've hoped to do. But mentally, spiritually, and emotionally I feel like I am on a better track this week. Good thing it's Monday (and not Friday!). At this moment I've got the little angel face tucked in a sling and he's making all sorts of cute little noises, like he's singing along to the music playing.

Yesterday, January 18th, Ryan & I gathered with family and friends to celebrate Michael's introduction into the Catholic church via the waters of baptism. It was a wonderful day. We had over 30 people who were able to witness our joyous event. I had sent out a mass email last week letting everyone know about the baptism and inviting anyone who was interested to stop by and join us at the church at 1:30pm. How exciting to see my grandparents, ladies from my CRHP group, and all our Steubie friends in attendance! Seriously, Michael is one popular little man.

Ryan and I chose to baptize Michael Ryan by full immersion in the water. It required a delicate dance to get him in and out of his diaper, soft fluffy white towel, and baptismal gown - but with the helpful hands of his godmama, Suzy, we were able to avoid any "accidents" during the baptism.

He looked like a new person after the baptism, he really did. The white gown revealed the difference in his soul in such a tangible way for me. Yesterday I fully appreciated and understood the reason for having sacramentals like a baptismal gown. He looked so pure and fresh in his new outfit! He even smells holy - all spicy and wonderful from his chrism. I love the fact that Michael is now a little saint, without the stain of sin on his baby soul. I hope he always stays this way! He has been smiling a lot today, another factor I contribute to his baptism. It seems like he is happier.

So, now the burden of Michael's pure little soul is really on my shoulders. I think that's why I felt compelled to get up and to mass this morning (well, noon, to be more specific). I want to give him every opportunity to grow in holiness - which requires me to pull my own act together. I think daily mass is a good way to center my days. So that will be my goal. If I do nothing else each day, I want to make sure Michael and I attend mass. Pray for me and my stamina!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nap Time

All is quiet round the house (eh, apartment, if you wanna be specific). I've discovered that I can relieve my lap of Michael's cozy little self if I put him in the bouncer and then bounce it with my foot. He just loves to be in someone's arms, that feeling of comfort and movement. And I just love to snuggle him - only it makes typing on my laptop very difficult.

So I have come to a compromise. I am able to see his little face and gauge his needs when he's in the bouncer. I can also do a little work on my computer because my hands are actually free.

Here's the funny thing: I am finally all settled, with Michael nestled down in his chair, and my eyelids are beginning to droop. It's mid-afternoon. The sun is beginning to fade away from the windows. Nap time. I guess all that computer work will have to wait...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Little Man Who Could (and Does)

Taking care of a brand new little person is a lot more difficult than I ever anticipated. Just when I think his tummy is full & he's clean all over - something inevitably spews out of his little body. The last day or so has been a rash of spitting up (and one projectile vomiting incident. Seriously, it looked like a fountain coming out of his mouth). The few days before that, peeing out the back of his little newborn diapers. Four outfit changes in less than an hour. Our laundry schedule is on serious overload.

[As I sit here now, with the little man on my lap while I type away, more spit-up arrives on the scene.]

But then an even weirder phenomenon occurs. I start to look into his little eyes, to watch the myriad of expressions that cross his face in the course of 30 seconds, and I fall in love all over again. This effect is strengthened when his little eyes stare back into mine, or when his tiny baby fingers grasp my own adult-sized finger.

Yes, Michael Ryan, I will continue to care for you, change your diapers, wipe the spit-up off your face, change those urine soaked little outfits & bedsheets - even when my OCD cleanliness factor can't stand it anymore (it's a genetic thing - just ask my mother, or grandmothers). I'll wash a load or 2 of laundry every day, even though it takes 3 days for the same load of clean clothes to make it back into the drawers. And, most especially, I promise to keep covering your face in mommy kisses and to always snuggle with you and hold you and rock you and comfort you. Because you are a gift. A very precious gift.