Monday, November 25, 2013

on long silences and empty spaces

One of the most difficult things about being a mother-writer is that sometimes my callings get in each other's way. Anyone who mothers and writes about it knows that it's a delicate balance...the children who share my space and my life sometimes require me to leave this space empty for a time so that I can better meet their needs.

In the last month, that's exactly what I've done- left this as an empty space. I needed to clear my head a bit and focus on my children. It was a needed break for me, but I am sorry to have been silent for so long with no explanation to you all.

The thing about empty spaces is that they are never really empty, at least not for long. They fill with thoughts that trail off when we get interrupted. They collect sentence fragments and unfinished paragraphs and ideas that pile up high like the unending jumble of life's mundane bits and pieces that collect on my countertop in front of the stand mixer: bills and catalogs and requests for money and children's art and marker caps with no markers in them and a few crumbs and a healthy amount of dust to top it all off.

(It is healthy to have a little dust around. It builds up your immune system. I'm sure I read that somewhere.)

In the time since I last wrote here, a lot has happened.

  • We had a great visit with my sister from Alaska, immediately followed by a great visit with our friend Gerald (the children's godfather) from Minnesota. It was a blessing to have both of them in our home and to watch the children get reacquainted with them. 

Nora and Aunt Laura take on the slide
  • I ran the marathon in Richmond and set a personal best time (by 37 minutes!). It was a wonderful experience...and just over a week later, I'm back to running and feeling strong. No injuries to report. 
George and me, a little excited to see my best running friend at mile by best running friend

  • I sang The Star-Spangled Banner (by myself, in front of people, what's wrong with me?) for our local Turkey Trot 5K/10K race. I did a good job. It was in tune, I hit the high note and held it for an appropriate length of time, and I didn't embarrass myself. I'm glad I had the experience. All the same, next year I'll be recommending they get a "real" singer to do it. It was a bit of stretch for me, and I got anxious about it. 
  • We got a new oven...finally. I expect to be baking all the time for a little while. SuperSam was so excited, he made the oven a "welcome to our home" picture.

"It's Here" - complete with time of installation and portrait of the oven.
  • We found out that we would be adding a new baby to our family...and then, with barely enough time to adjust to the idea, we found out that we had lost the baby. This is really the main reason for my silence here. I've never been very good at pretending things are fine when they aren't fine at all. Feeling very raw, emotional and unprepared to talk about it, I just couldn't go on writing posts about homeschool projects we weren't doing and feast days we barely celebrated with take-out pizza and how our oven was still broken and how we were using disposable diapers because no one had the energy to wash the cloth ones. Grief is a strange, draining thing. It knocked me down and sucked all the life out of me, then left me to sort out the meals and the laundry and the three living children clamoring for my attention. There's definitely more to say about this journey in progress, but that is enough for now. Long silences happen when things feel too difficult to talk about, but leaving this space empty of words has given us a chance to ponder things in our hearts. I know more words will follow in due time.

As we try to move forward, I'm preparing for this Advent season and the new liturgical year with special anticipation. Advent is the darkest time of the year, where we all sit around and wait for the Light to show up in our midst, and no matter how dark it is, the Light always comes. I'll be sharing tomorrow at CatholicMom about this very thing. There will be a link posted here so you can go check it out.

Have you thought about starting to celebrate the seasons of the liturgical year but haven't known how or where to start? Do you think you might want to know more about St. Nicholas and Advent and all the other great feasts in December, but you get so involved in planning for Christmas that you never have time to think about it?

If so, I have great news for you. Tomorrow. So come back tomorrow and find out what it is.

(And if you're totally not into this liturgical year stuff, I hope you'll come back, anyway.)

It's good to be back with you.