Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kind and Present

You might think that because I've been lax in updating that I've fallen victim to the subtitle of this blog. You might think that I've forgotten about God, and understandably so.

This, however, is not the case. I had grandiose ideas that I would attend weekday Mass a few times a week, but weekday Mass is at 8am, and I'm often just dropping my girls off at 7:55am, which would make me about 15 minutes late getting there. Either that, or I'm in stained sweats with coffee/morning breath, having yet to make myself presentable. I'd show up late, thinking the priest would rather have me tardy than not at all, but it's Father Don't Call Me By My First Name Because It's Too Familiar, and so I feel a bit awkward clicking the heels of my slip-ons down the tiled aisle. Click, Click, Click, Yes Father Surname, I'm late.

I have been there once on a Friday, and managed to be only 7 minutes late, but still, I like to be on time. This is almost fully within my control, so barring any meltdowns with my youngest, I should be able to remedy this. I believe it would be to my benefit. And my kids'.

I spent the summer seeing God in my children, primarily when they were asleep. I still see God in them when I peek in on them before bed. But it's hard to see God in my children first thing in the morning. It becomes slightly easier after a cup of coffee, but then becomes difficult again when they begin arguing at the breakfast table.

They're so beautiful, it cracks open my heart just a little bit, making a mess. Children can be achingly lovely one moment, and near demonic the next. It is the nature and challenge of parenting.

One of my most frequent prayers is to be kind and present for my children. Sometimes I'm cross with them. Short. Abrupt. And I catch myself, hopefully then, but sometimes not until later, and I say a prayer for help and guidance.

I am guilty of being that person that cannot wait to be doing something outside of this home. And it's not that I think there is anything wrong with wanting to contribute something to the world outside of the domestic realm. But I think I give short shrift to what I do here, and that includes my children, who I will one day let loose upon this world. Sometimes when I realize the enormity of that, it can quickly overwhelm me. We have so much to teach them, and if I want them to be loving, kind, compassionate women, I have to model that for them. In how I treat others, yes, but also how I treat them.

So it's my mantra. Kind and present. Kind and present. Kind and present.

Have I written before that I'm a better parent when attending Mass regularly? I probably have. I'm probably repeating myself. But it's true. Going to Mass makes me a better parent. I could write a series of blog posts on the reasoning behind this. To be the most concise about it all, the most succinct, I guess I would just explain it as a clean slate. There's no other place where I feel I can sufficiently rid myself of the week's detritus: failures and mistakes and sins.

Sometimes when I take Communion, I feel awash in love. If you know me, you know how hard it is for me to type something like that. I am sarcastic, cynical, negative, jokey. I am uneasy stating that. It is a soft feather to my rough edges.

I hope one day the girls feel the same thing. It may take them 30 years, and it may happen in another church or faith. That's completely cool with me. As long as they realize there is always a new chance and beginning. Always a place to try again. And always a massive love that exists as a guiding force.

It's so lovely outside today that I think I'll take them to the park after I pick them up from school. Because I also see God in them when they laugh. Sleeping and laughing. I'm still working on the rest in between.


claire said...

Kelly, this is quite a beautiful post, which was worth waiting for.
Everything you wrote here is beautiful. Thank you.
Your seeing God in your children, yes. Your feeling a better mother when you go to Mass, yes.
Your inner beauty just radiates through and through, and touches me in a softening way.
Thank you.
Blessings on you and yours.

De said...

I drop my kids off at 7:45. The daily Mass at our church is at 7:00, but at the church we are linked to, it is at 8:00. I could make it. I don't go because I'd have to explain it to my husband and he does not understand. He hates attending church. One of my regular prayers is to set a better example for my family in hopes of my husband become more devout. That will definitely only happen through divine intervention.

I realized this week that I no longer am dying to get a job. A year ago, when my youngest started Kindergarten (full day schedule!! - does yours have it? I loved it.) I was crushed to discover that my hiatus as an at-home parent obliterated my work history and employment status and that I would not be returning my full-time, high-paid career. I sank another level when it became obvious that I couldn't even land an unskilled job. And now? I'm working part-time with a schedule that I set, It couldn't be more convenient, and yet I'd really rather not be doing it. You know how I like my contemplative time...and there is not time enough for it when you're trying to give time to what's important for others (especially children) instead of yourself.

As far as what the kids are learning? I seriously wonder why we spend the money sending them to Catholic school because they fight and bicker and are just plain mean and selfish despite what they are taught. Tony says I am too much of a doormat. I think I am a hardass, but considering that I find conflict difficult, my perception might be skewed.

(So glad you posted. Can you tell I was just about to explode?)

Fran said...

Claire said it very well. I'm just glad to see you posting.

MemeGRL said...

Yes, this. All of it, but with boys.

painted maypole said...

i'm needing lots of fresh starts these days, too.

Rima said...

My sentiments, exactly.

(Glad to see you posting here again!)

Monica said...

Kelly, this is beautiful, and I so relate. I am a better mom when I go to Mass too. And so many other things you wrote: me too. Thanks for writing it.