Friday, November 17, 2017

Numbers...

As I struggle to remember numbers (I won't tell you how long it took me to remember my husbands cell phone number- the convenience of cell phones having numbers saved).  or remember the doses of often prescribed my medication, my son appears to be an ace at remembering them.

He impressed my husband  with looking at the crosswalk numbers and as they changed reciting baseball players that had the numbers on the crosswalk.

The other day my son blurted out, "Mommy, I know your phone number."  Yes, my four year blurted out all 10 digits.  I then decided it was time to teach him how to use a phone.  Not my cell phone, mind you, the good old fashioned wall phone.  I figured it wasn't a bad idea to teach him how to call me if there was a babysitter or some other type of emergency he needed to get a hold of me.

My mom was helping me out with some items last week, and she needed to
 access my phone.  She looked somewhat offended when I told her, "No, don't use my passcode, just let me give you my thumb print."  I feel quite confident that my son would have no problem remembering my passcode, figuring out how to open my phone and doing who knows what on my phone- the few times he's gotten a hold of it he's shown me features I never knew it had.  No- the last thing I need is my pre-schooler re-organizing my email and schedule.

Numbers- I should be proud (and I am) that he's getting such a good grasp on them, but it's also going to mean I need to keep a lot better tabs on what numbers I'm giving out..

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Short Sleeve Time

We are not even past Thanksgiving yet and my son is already longing for summer.  We drove by a playground we just discovered a month or two ago as the weather suddenly turned cold and my son was caught without a coat.  He told me he wanted to return in "short-sleeves".

My son loves shorts and short-sleeve shirts, he's so active he stretches the time that it is still appropriate to wear them further than most people.

I told my son sadly- "it's not going to be short sleeve and shorts weather for a long, long time."  As I was sad as I said this, he chimed in, "well at least it's going to be Christmas and Easter soon!"  It's so intriguing to see how fast time passes for small children and they happily look forward to the passing of time, when I long to freeze time and hold onto it forever...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Childhood fears

My husband didn't realize it, but in his effort to try to caution me to be careful on a big bridge, he brought out a childhood anxiety.  Growing up in Michigan, at one point I recall hearing that a small car went off the bridge. I believe it was in the 80s, at a formative time in my life and it was a young woman.  High wind was an issue.  From that point on, I always had a fear of the bridge.  Not to the point where it would keep me from going across it, but definitely a fear.

I suppose, like my patients, fears don't get better with time, they get worse.  Anxiety gets worse if you don't deal with it.  My husband was shocked when I started searching the weather channel and found out there was a gale force wind warning for the bridge during the time span I was supposed to go across.  Combined with being in 3 days of sustained traffic jams and some inclement weather and my nerves were already frayed.

My husband had not seen me go into a state ever approaching a panic attack before, but I did last night.  I had a difficult night sleeping and was a little anxious approaching the bridge.  I had pre-programmed my phone so I could listen to the rosary as I went across.  I focused on the words of the rosary, even though saying, "Now and at the hour of our death" was maybe not the most comforting, but fleeing to my Blessed Mother was.  I made it successfully over the bridge both ways and even got to get a good view of the pretty water on my way back.  I guess I need to give the same prescription to myself that I give to my patients- counter condition yourself and an added piece of advice for myself.  Rest in the arms of a higher power.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fasting

Generally, when one thinks of fasting, they think of Lent.  Fasting is such a rich part of our Catholic faith that has many seasons- Advent, fasting and praying for the end of abortion to fasting and praying for our own intentions.

Last year, during the chaos of the election, my husband and I decided to fast.  We did not have a particular candidate we wanted to win.  We just prayed that God's will would happen and our country would be able to get through these turbulent times.  While that is still in our prayers, the urgency and anxiety isn't quite what it was during election season.  We have continued fasting now for our own special intention.

When we discussed fasting as a couple, we d

ecided to do a "mix" of fasting.  I let my husband be the leader and decide what things would be good to fast from.  We are both avid football fans, so we didn't want to entirely stop watching TV and miss out on supporting our alma mater's.  We both have sweet teeth and we also spend a lot of time on our smart phones and I-pads.  We already fast on Fridays, and try to stay meatless.  We decided to continue our fasting on the weekends.  On Saturdays and Sundays we decided, dependent on the schedule and also the temptations to fast either from dessert, vegetating in front of the TV or getting lost in electronics.  While our nation is still in turmoil and our special intention has not occurred, we continue to reap benefits from the fasting.

Our fasting has brought us closer together as a couple, taken a little bit of weight off of us and have allowed for some organizing time, communication time and just time to remember that we don't have to be zombies in front of the TV to relax.

So the "giving up" has a actually been an additive gift.  Not only are my husband and I closer, but it has brought us closer in our faith.

Advent is coming up and that's a perfect time for fasting.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Competition

For some reason, this subject keeps popping in my head lately.  I used to be very competitive.  You pretty much can't be a veterinarian without any competitive drive.  I've had more than one of my own "human" doctors say they would have been a veterinarian, but didn't get in.  I also worked with a veterinary neurology specialist who did spinal surgery on people before he did it on dogs- not kidding.  But more recently I've found myself getting annoyed with competition.

I also was a competitive college athlete.  I don't know if part of my competitive nature is due to having a sister who was just 18 months older than me- I think the fact that I never wanted to miss out on what she was doing helped drive me to excel (she didn't like me being in her "advanced 5th grade reading and math" when I was still in 4th grade.  She's very smart, but I think she didn't appreciate her "little sister" being in the same class with her.  Sisterly competition also got me to be a runner- which I still am today (I was going to quit track and field but when she told me she thought I should quit, I showed her- and beat her personal record for the 800 meter dash).

I think between twice being told I might not make it by doctors (once when I was 21 and then again prior to having my son) and just growing up and maturing I have lost a lot of my competitive drive.  There's just something sobering about having your doctors pray before doing surgery on you.  You realize there's something more to life than competition.  There's peace.  For the most part I've lost my competitive edge.

I realized the other day, when I found out there's a possibility I might be elected as President of my Lay Dominican Chapter that I have absolutely no desire for elected office (yes- this coming from the girl who ran for everything in school and college).  I wouldn't put myself up for election, but I found out that the Dominican way is that you can't take yourself out of the running unless you have a terminal illness and I was told by someone they already knew they were voting for me.   Hmm.  Maybe they should have told me this before I took my lifetime promises.  Just kidding.  Hopefully the Holy Spirit will persuade my fellow chapter members that I'm not the best person for the job.  It's kind of rough pressure to realize that you can't defer from office, it seems a little like a papal election...  I realized that I've come a long way from where I used to be with competitiveness- people who are competitive actually annoy me now.  I guess I have to realize that's where I once was.

The other thing that brought competition to my mind was that as my son approaches kindergarten, we found that there were a very limited number of spots for incoming students at the school of our choice.  I've been active in our parish since we started going there, but I stepped it up about 2 years ago, have been doing everything I can to volunteer, including baking cookies for a school my son doesn't go to yet.  Yep- I'm for real.  Apparently when the Mother Bear in me comes out that competitive nature rages again.  Hopefully I can refocus though so my son can realize that peace is more important than competition (But it doesn't hurt to occasionally really step it up when it really matters or when your team or kid is depending on you).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Holy Monsignor

Yesterday, my son and I attended a funeral of a holy man.  He was the retired Monsignor at our parish.  In his 90th year of life, I had seen him shopping at the grocery store just months ago.  He was going strong until the end.  At the funeral, there was a cardinal and four bishops and more priests than my son could even count.  Apparently when planning his funeral, he had joked with his priest friends, "I'm 90 years old- who's going to come to my funeral?  Everyone I know is dead."

Let's just say that the school was closed and parking was at a premium.  The elderly, dignified man had touched so many people there wasn't even room to stand within the church.  Someone had written a book about their life, and Monsignor was actually featured in a chapter.  Part of this was read at his funeral, "the dignified Italian man who was an old-school Catholic and his skinny assistant."  This passage took place in 1972.  Monsignor was still dignified and his skinny assistant was now a bishop.

Even toward the final months of his life, he tried to remember every kid's name who attended the school.  Apparently, even in his final days he schooled a non-Catholic doctor that, "No- those are not worry beads, that is a rosary and this is how you say it..."

Below is what I wrote about him over a year ago....

Monsignor is an 89 year old priest who regularly does daily Mass and is frequent on the weekends too.  As far as I can tell, he does a close to equal amount of pastoral work as the other priests and especially for his age.  He's "retired," but I don't think he knows what that word means.  He was inspired by and an acquaintance of Father Aloysius Schwartz, who is on his way to canonization.  It's not too often you know of someone who knew a potential Saint.  He's also a wonderful priest.  I love going to children's Masses where he presides.  I still remember one where he quizzed the children, "Who is the Bishop? Who is the Pope?  Who was the Pope before that?  All the elementary schoolers eagerly raise their hands and try to get his attention.  Happy with how many elementary schoolers knew the answer, he asked a tough one, "Who was the Pope when I was your age?"  Without losing a beat, one of the elementary schoolers said, "Peter".  Monsignor said "Peter?", and the student said, "The First Pope."  Monsignor laughed as the whole congregation got a little smile that morning.

I had told my husband a little while back that I didn't want to go to Confession with Monsignor, as unfortunately, his hearing is not very good.  I informed my husband, "Even though I'm a repentant sinner, I don't need the whole church to hear my confession."  A couple days later, we found out that Monsignor had a stroke during Mass.  He was rushed to the hospital.  As we talked with others in the Parish, we assumed he would be out of commission for a while to recover.  Even at a younger age, it takes a lot of time to recover.  I also thought, "if that was me, I think I might just say, I'll take a little recover time, read some books and take it easy for a while."  Were we surprised to see him, that next Sunday, just a week later, celebrating Sunday morning Mass.  Wow!  At 89, to recover and just have the willpower to get back to work, we were both amazed.  We are very happy he can share his gifts with us still.  He showed us a true love of God and his vocation.


Rest In Peace,

Monsignor

Friday, October 27, 2017

Breakfast Baseball and Pumpkin Patch

I found out I had been unknowingly volunteered for my son's "Fall Festival"on a day I was scheduled to work.  I was fortunately able to schedule my day today so that I could go in late to work.  I'm not sure that my employer was thrilled but this was one of those incidences of setting your priorities straight.

I offered my son a special treat because he didn't have to go to before care this morning.  I offered that we could go out to breakfast.  What was his choice?  Taking a pumpkin pop tart to the local baseball field and hitting a few balls.  It was cold and not what I'd ever want to do at 8:30 in the morning but I felt privileged to help him make this memory.