Let Us Begin

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.

Momma Deprivation

on September 23, 2011

Oh my sweet boys…(that would be all three of them ~ Johnny included)

They have been suffering from some serious momma deprivation lately.

Life for me has just been a bit more demanding than is healthy for all of us, myself included. And by a bit I really mean, over the top, more than any reasonable person would consider taking on, I actually got sick and completely lost my voice a few days ago and it really is no wonder why because I have been burning the candle at both ends for a few weeks strong now … BUSY.

So what in the world has been so demanding to require just about all of me? Why in mid-September have the lazy days of summer (despite the very summer-like temperatures which stubbornly refuse to dip below the 105 range) already become such a vague and distant memory?

I will tell you…

September has brought with it the beginning of a new RCIA year with more candidates than we have ever had before. No, never in all my years of ministry have we even been close to the numbers that are quite literally pouring into my office. (I had six new inquirers just when I checked my voicemail on Tuesday morning alone). Now don’t get me wrong, from someone who has devoted her full-time work to the awe-inspiring Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults in the Catholic Church, this is a FABULOUS ‘problem’ to have.

Do I dare even call it a problem?

No, I can’t.

It is more of a predicament really, a very time consuming predicament.

For added to the usual coordination of catechists, sponsor searching and prayerful candidate-sponsor discernment, lesson development, retreat planning and such is one-on-one time spent getting to know, offering spiritual counsel and extending invitations to go deeper in faith with each and every one of those I have the blessed privilege to serve.

Please understand, I say that in all sincerity.  I truly do consider it an honor to walk this faith journey alongside those preparing to enter the Church, to be in a position to hear their stories and to witness the amazing power of God at work in minds and hearts.  God has used me and continues to in ways that humble me more than I could ever express. Yes, the Spirit is alive and at work in His people, more unbelievably still, in me: a far too over-extended, sick and tired momma.  I stand in awe daily.

And still, there are only so many hours in a day…

Add to that the final months of my Creighton internship year with its projects, paper and final exam looming ever closer not to mention the constant influx of new FertilityCare clients and you can see that my work outside the home has increased exponentially as of late.

What is the moral of this story?

Many beautiful, good and worthy causes have been requiring an awful lot of me, which all adds up to one very NOT-so-present momma.

You see, none of these works are without their cost.

The kiddos are clingier, whinier, and quicker to melt-down than ever; heck, let’s be honest, I am too!  My patience meter is quite a bit touchier than it should be.  My poor husband is doing his best to hold down the fort while at the same time trying to finish his final quarter of medical school and get applications mailed for possible job opportunities.  Awesome father though he is, he is not me and when everyone just wants mom, what’s the guy to do?  Suffice it to say that  tension levels are at an all-time high and it is all because we just really miss each other.

Take Gabriel…

The poor baby is such momma’s boy.  He woke up in the middle of the night on Tuesday and just wanted to hang out.  I could tell he was exhausted but his need to sleep was clearly overshadowed by the possibility of just being close to me.  I fed him, rocked him, even got down on the floor and played for awhile with toys in his nursery before trying to put him back to sleep.  (Keep in mind that this was taking place at two o’clock in the morning after an incredibly long, 13 hour work day, and I was starting to come down with a nasty cold).  Each time I tried to return him to his crib, his cry was one of such heartbreak that I just couldn’t do it.  I decided to walk with him and sing, gently patting his back until he drifted off.  Each time his head would start to nod, he would take a deep panicked breath and lean way back to look into my face as if to reassure himself that I was in fact still there, before putting both of his chubby little 10 month old hands on my cheeks and planting a big wet, sloppy kiss right on my lips, with the accompanied sound effect,

MMMMmmmmmwwwaaaaa!

Then, he would snuggle in close again before the whole thing would repeat itself.  This happened at least five times before he finally settled into sleep for the few hours that remained of the night.   Each time he did, my heart broke just a little bit more… for him and for me, that these stolen hours in the middle of the night were the only ones we had to spend together that day and that my alarm clock would be going off far too soon and I would have to get up and do it all again.

And then there is Jack…

who begs me to play cars with him and I do… with one hand while trying to return e-mails with the other.  Yesterday he asked if I would watch a movie with him.  I said that I would sit next to him on the couch but that I should probably try to get some work done on my computer.  He started crying and being the amazingly articulate little guy that he is said,

“but mommy, if you are working on your computer we can’t cuddle.  I just really want to spend some time with you mommy”.

And so (I hope it goes without saying) my work had to wait and I closed my computer down while I cuddled with my son to watch a movie and my heart broke a little bit more.

Make no mistake, being a working mom (no matter how much you love your job) is HARD.  Like hard, hard.

And so I wonder about that challenging line in the prayer of my beloved St. Ignatius …

“to give and not to count the cost” …

Hmmmmm.  Because, I have to be honest, I have been counting and things are stacking up pretty high.

Time to pray for the grace to not count that which is required of me for now anyway and face each a new day striving “to serve Jesus as He deserves”.

There is peace in the knowledge that this time is unique in its demands.

As this next month goes on, the open floodgates at Mt. Carmel will close once again and the newcomers will come to my office in a slow, steady trickle throughout the remainder of the year.  (Is it bad to hope for fewer conversions? I may need to bring that one to spiritual direction.)  For a large part, the momentum of the well planned process will take over and I can take a deep breath, stand back and watch it all unfold at least until Lent.  My Creighton supervised practicum will end in November and that work will slow to a manageable pace too.  Not to mention the fact that Johnny is GRADUATING in December!  Can I get an alleluia?!

This is all just for a season and that is a very good thing because my boys only have one momma and they need me.

As for me, well I need them too.

-Alison

 

The Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give, and not to count the cost;
To fight, and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labor, and to ask for no reward,
Except that of knowing that I am doing your will.

-St. Ignatius of Loyola


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