"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sharing Clothes

(Above, Maia at 5 months)

(Above, Eva at 5 months)

Yes, they're off-season (April and December), but they can still share clothes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Child of God

That phrase "child of God" never meant much to me until very recently. Today I was reflecting on this because of the second reading from Mass, from 1 Jn 3:1: "Think what love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are."

Sometimes Maia is very difficult... especially when she's tired, but certainly not ONLY when she's tired. Sometimes she wants things right at that minute: "RIGHT NOW!" she'll yell. She occasionally splashes large amounts of water out of the bathtub. She sometimes purposely wakes up her snoozing sister. She knows how to be sneaky to get what she wants. And she's not above manipulating her parents, including playing them off of one another.

And sometimes I look at her in the midst of one of her tantrums and think... this must be exactly what God thinks when He's looking down on me. In other words, I'm demanding, impatient, careless of my resources, thoughtless to others, and manipulative. I act as though I'm not so much concerned with pleasing God as I am with pleasing myself. And when it doesn't work out, I complain.

Now on the other hand, I have a special image of my mind that I hope never to forget. It's Maia on her birthday. With two grandmas in town, plus one grandpa, we put all of her gifts on the table the night before her birthday, including three daisies and a huge butterfly balloon. The gifts were all of the $5-sort, which is all a three-year old requires for true delight. And she was so excited to open each one. Her friend Mary Lou, plus the grandmas, took her to library story hour, and then we all got together (Dad, Grandpa Bob, and myself plus the Grandmas and Lou) for her favorite pizza for lunch.

Then I went to meet with my dissertation director, and when I came home, I found Maia napping peacefully, exhausted from her birthday bliss. She was wearing a new nightgown, a new tutu, new necklace, and, the best part... she had taken the balloon to bed too.

Now that is utter appreciation for gifts. And it's how I would like to respond to God's gifts in my life. With no thought of disappointment, but just joy and excitement.

As my friend Nikki pointed out, it's interesting how being a child involves both tantrums and delight, impatience and excitement, manipulation and love. It is nice to know that God lavishes love on me, letting me be called a child of God whether at my best or worst moments.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Staying Grounded

Today was a day like most other days. Maia woke up early, Eva needed a diaper change at 6:45 a.m., our bedroom was covered with a few hastily placed clothing items and a bunch of Maia's toys. I made the oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, nursed Eva, got Maia dressed, picked out Jeff's clothes, watched both girls so Jeff could shower, and so on. When we were already to go, Jeff put the girls in the car, and we made sure we had the items from the usual checklist: diaper bag, sling, stroller frame, extra undies, Epi-pen junior, plus Jeff's school bag, my school bag, and of course, a couple of umbrellas (it looked like rain).

And then I took my Ph.D. qualifying exam.

I know it's supposed to be a momentous sort of event, but, to be honest, it just didn't really feel like that. Aside from Maia's very cute pronunciation of "qualifying exam," both of my daughters were pretty clueless about what was going on. And when we went to Panera to "celebrate" afterwards, Maia was tired and grumpy, wouldn't sit still, didn't eat her grilled cheese, and was generally NOT the kind of person you'd want with you to celebrate becoming ABD. Eva just smiled and nursed.

I've noted before that one of the benefits of having kids is that it can really help a person to become less selfish, or, at least, self-focused. There is a way that having kids makes a person stay grounded. If I hadn't been busy getting people dressed and generally attending to the needs of everyone around me, I might have had more effort to expend on being nervous. And of course, I wasn't completely calm... but it was in my head that no matter what happened, my kids wouldn't really know or care. And maybe that just put a little perspective on how "momentous" a qualifying exam really is.

Last week I turned 30 years old. Ever since Maia was born three days before my birthday, she's kind of overshadowed by my birthday. All the effort goes into celebrating her. But, this one being a multiple of ten, it seemed like it should be a big deal. Turned out it wasn't so momentous either.

Anywawy, here I am - 30 years old and ABD. But don't ask my kids about it. They just know that I am their mom. And right now, that's really all that matters to them.