Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On My Heart: A Mama Entry

Passing out candy for Trick or Treat--
don't worry, we weren't actually passing out half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches
Tonight Evelyn fell on her face on a hard tile floor and got a fat, bloody lip.  There was a Confirmation event at another local UCC, and because the only chance of me ever being introverted happens when I'm around children/teens between the ages of 11 and 17, I brought Evelyn with me.  She's my conversation starter.  She was chasing a balloon around their Fellowship Hall with her arms up in the air screaming "YAY!  YAY!  YAY!" and her socks slipped on the floor and she fell flat on her face.  I heard the sound of her mouth hitting the tile, and then the prolonged silence of breath-catching, and then...the wail.  

This isn't the first time Evelyn has fallen.  C'mon she's 14 months old and I'm not perfect.  There was the first time she fell off the bed, when she was 5 or 6 months old.  Then there was the time when she thought she could get off the bed the same way she gets off the couch, without realizing it's a foot taller.  There's every single time Nos walks passed her.  There are more times.  But this one...I don't know what it broke my heart.  I felt like the pain was in me.  I couldn't stop licking my teeth and biting my lip as if it was my own pain.  

Things have been different lately between Evelyn and I.  Now that I work full-time, there have been several nights when she goes to bed and I cry for a minute or two--she doesn't need me now like she used to.  And it's not about age (although maybe some of it is connected to her weaning), it's about how 6 months ago I had never been away from her for more than a couple hours.  I was with her all but 9 or 10 hours a week.  We were like one entity.  I didn't know what it felt like to miss her.  I hardly knew what it meant to be without her.  

Sometimes, it's hard for me to accept the change in roles-- like that she and her daddy spend all their time together instead of her and I, or that Maic knows her schedule better than I do, or that only he is able to put her to bed successfully.  But on the other hand it's nice because I don't take her for granted anymore (not that I ever really did).  Now, it's like an event when I come home.  She jumps up and down when I'm the one to go get her out of her crib when she wakes up from a nap.  She grins from ear to ear when I walk in the door.  She wants to sit in my lap and give me kisses when I host Bible Study at our house.  

Nobody will ever have the relationship with her that I have.  The deep intimate connection that happens between a mama and her baby has nothing to do with the amount of time we get to spend together.  I don't know why I'm writing this all out, except to just express some emotions-- some Pastor Mom identity issues--I'm having.  It's nights like this, when I get to spend the evening doing my job while being with my baby, that I realize just how abundantly blessed I am.  When she gets hurt and it hurts me physically, I realize the wonder and uniqueness of the relationship we have.  I want to just live in this moment, cherish her toddlerhood, and bottle up the pure joy we both have when I walk in the door and she yells to me in excitement (Fully admitting that she still yells "DADDDYYYY";  I take it as a compliment).

Her "cheeeeeese" face
This is what a doggie says 
Being a mom sure is an emotional endeavor.  I wouldn't recommend it to the fainthearted.  Thanks for reading a heart-felt post.  Little fat-lip is in bed now.  I think she'll be just fine.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Lesson in Sabbath

I don't write much right now because every week is so busy.  I mean, SO busy.  Every week, I think, "next week I'll have time to do this..." and then something comes up.  This week, I got to Wednesday evening, counted the hours I'd worked since Monday, and came up with 30.  Knowing that I still had a funeral on Saturday (this afternoon) and a worship service on Sunday, and an accompanying sermon/homily for each, I took Thursday and Friday "off."  That was a good decision.  

I don't think many people understand all the work that goes into being a pastor.  I recently heard a colleague in ministry joke that when people ask her what she does, she says, "I'm a preacher on Sundays and the CEO of a non-profit during the week."  I think that's true.  I'm not complaining, just trying to explain.  The way my congregation volunteers is extraordinary, truly.  I couldn't ask for more.   But it's such a behind-the-scenes job.  So much of it is about presence and trust-building-- being there when people need you, being a role-model, keeping up with what's going on in the community and in the lives of members.  I can never really stop working.  But that's okay, I love it.  And one of the things I'm learning is that if I'm a role-model, then I must display appropriate care of myself and my own family.  I want others to take care of themselves and their families, so it's also my job to say, "I've already worked 30 hours this week and have about 15 hours of work that I must do before the week is over, so I will take tomorrow and Friday off," because if I don't, I'm telling everyone else that it's okay to overwork and under-nurture their relationships, and I don't believe that's healthy.  

Anyway, yesterday was a really good day off.  We went as a family to Appleton, to the Children's Museum.  It was a free day so it was really crowded, but we had a blast.  The children were supposed to wear costumes, so Evelyn wore her cowgirl outfit (a costume we didn't think she'd get to wear anywhere, she's already worn twice, and I think we'll do a tiny bit of trick or treating, so that makes three!).  She was thrilled that there were some children dressed as animals.  Right now she is obsessed-- I mean, obsessed-- with animals, especially cats, dogs, ducks, and lizards.  So when she saw a little boy dressed as a dog, she just stood next to him and barked and panted at him for several minutes.  She's also been pretending that she is a cat lately, crawling around meowing.  We don't have a cat right now and I'm beginning to feel guilty about that.  But, to be honest, I'm still on team Bearded Dragon, and I think Evelyn is too, but Maic says no.  There was actually a Bearded Dragon at the Children's museum and Evelyn was thrilled about it, but Maic said, "She just likes anything with eyes that moves."  I think I know what he's getting for Christmas...

The traveling exhibit was a bunch of scenes and activities from Children's books--
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Abuela by Arthur Dorros

Stackable snowmen from the Snowy Day

Little cowgirl stacking blocks

Climbing up a salad.  Where do they come up with these things?
So, here's my lesson in Sabbath for the day.  When you work too much, stop working.  When there's a free day at the children's museum, go.  And when you can put the baby to bed and watch Dancing With the Stars while knitting stuffed animals, do it. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wisconsin Fall

I can't say I'm necessarily looking forward to Wisconsin winter, although I am definitely glad to have a short commute.  But what I can say for sure is that fall here is at least as beautiful as it was in the town I grew up in.  

I may be about 2-3 days past the peak, and pictures don't do it justice, but we took some photos on our walk today.  Breathtaking colors!  Enjoy!

This is right behind the church.
That red tree, while beginning to lose its fullness,
has taken my breath away every day this week.  
We have a church member who decorates the church--outside and inside-- every season.
This week I'm preaching  on Genesis 2.  

Fiery Ivy 

Well, the coat's big but it has to last her all winter.  

Someone needs to work on their parallel parking skills.  
Maic remembered a tradition his family had of filling contact paper
with leaves and putting it on the window.  I love how it looks.  
Well, this pastor mom is off on a much-needed retreat as soon as church ends tomorrow until Tuesday afternoon.  The retreat is for Wisconsin clergy, and while I look forward to meeting many of my colleagues, I look most forward to some time to gather myself and resort my priorities, so that I come back to on Wednesday as a recovering workaholic.  It's too soon for me to be this exhausted.  

Star Wars Reads

It has been with great anticipation that these guys have awaited Star Wars Reads day at the Ripon library.    

For a quaint little town, I love how much there is to do through this library.  They have a reading group for little ones once a week that they have been attending.  The groups are split into ages 6 months to 2 years and then I think 2-5 and 5+ or something like that.  But it sounds like a blast.  I love an opportunity for them to get out of the house and for Evelyn to interact with other kids.  And it seems like the majority of young families are really on board with the library, so there are always more families there than you'd expect for a small town.  They're also doing some great programming for Banned Books Week this week.  

Actually, I know it's silly and I overthink my job, but I think churches have a lot to learn from the way libraries are run-- appealing to all ages, getting people excited about their community, bringing people together, withstanding the test of time, while moving forward with the progression of technology and thought...

Anyway, enough of all that.  Now, I present to you Star Wars Reads day: 

A list of the events of the day

Is that a kitty?

Is that a doggie?  Shooting me in the head?

There was a Wookiee search throughout the hall...

Found Ballet Wookiee!

Then we made a Wookiee fortune teller (which horrified Evelyn), Darth Vader Origami (Darth Paper) and colored. 

Evelyn found a friend, and gave him a kiss.  I think she realized he wasn't a cat at this point. 

She's truly an artist.  Look at Daddy's her Darth Vader drawing! 

Growing up so fast!  Next thing we know she'll be leaving Tatooine.  

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