7 Quick Takes: Recommendations and Thoughts on “Perfect” Families

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Returning for another week of 7 Quick Takes!  Aren’t you excited?

(Don’t answer that.)

Last week’s post earned me some strange stares via the interwebby:

fb uterus girl

(That was from my aunt.)

I promise, I’ll tone it down this week.

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My friend Colleen Duggan has an article up at The Integrated Catholic Life titled,Why I Don’t Need a Pro-Life Sticker On My Van.

Read it?  Good.  A few comments:

1) She’s not lying about the van itself being a walking (driving, parking) pro-life advertisement.  The Ortizes invaded Hotel Duggan on our trip up and down the Eastern Seaboard last month, and our conversation driving down their country road went something like this:

R: “Their house is historic and brick red.  That kind of looks like it.  Maybe it’s that one.”
J: “Nope, wrong number.”
R: “Okay… nope, not it, not it…”
J: “Look at that!  A taxidermist!  Look at their porch!!!  Amazing!
R:  “Ah!  I see a van down there at the end of the street.  That’s them.  That has to be them.”

And, sure enough, it was.

2) Note the driving point of Colleen’s article:  we can support the pro-life movement by our lives without being called to the battlefield of the political and publicity arenas.  Just because something is of vital importance does not mean we have to be the ones fighting its every battle.  This supports my own ranting argument that both the works of mercy themselves have a sort of charism – we’re not all called to the same ones – and that marriages, too, have charisms – just because one family or married couple does things one way doesn’t mean we all have to do it the same way.

Seems like a duh point, but how many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking there’s a “right” and “wrong” way of being a Catholic (other than seeking Christ in prayer and Sacrament and following the obvious moral injunctions)?

Yeah.  I thought so.

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Whispers_from_the_ShadowsSpeaking of friends and publications… my college friend Roseanna M. White recently announced the release of her newest novel, Whispers from the Shadows, the second in her Culper Ring Series and published by Harvest House Publishers.  Way to go, lady!

If you like Christian historical romance livened up by espionage and light humor, you’ll like the series, beginning with Ring of Secrets (full of suspense!) and followed by her free novella, Fairchild’s Lady (très romantiquée), which covers the intermittent years between the first and second novels.  The final novel in the series is due out in April 2014.

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Another friend recommendation… my friend and author Kerensa McKnight has a new site, Sweet Root, featuring her blog and her many books and works, both fiction and non-fiction.  She cooks, she urban-homesteads, she homeschools their seven sweet kids, she writes about all sorts of fun, crunchy (I love crunchy) topics… take a look!

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Let’s switch gears and complain…

So, this baby’s a girl.  Can I say I’m so, so over everyone telling me how “perfect” it is that we’re having a girl?

It’s one comment Uterus Girl has grown tired of hearing.  I know, no one means any harm by it.  It’s just that we hear it so much.

Most of these comments come from perfect (ha) strangers.  They see we already have a boy, so they assume (as many assume these days, I’m finding) that we’ve managed to conceive “the perfect family” – one boy, one girl.

Are families with two boys, or two girls, or eight boys, or ten girls followed by a boy, or fourteen boys followed by a girl followed by eighteen more boys, somehow any less “perfect”?

Our response to this comment has been, “It’s a good start!”  And so it is.

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Continuing in the same vein…

I have endometriosis and we prayed and waited for a child for what felt like an eternity.  We learned we were expecting Ben soon after our fifth wedding anniversary.  Our newest addition comes three years after Ben.   I’m 32 years old.  I’ve had two surgeries.  I have no idea what our future treatment plans are.  I have no idea if we will be blessed with another child or not.

When we didn’t have kids, I wanted to scream to everyone we’d meet, “BUT WE REALLY ARE OPEN TO LIFE!”

Now that we have “the perfect family,” I want to scream the same thing.

I don’t pride myself on this impulse.  God alone knows and judges the heart – my heart, your heart, his and her and their hearts.  My business is to mind my own business and to love God, others, and myself.  That’s not to say that I can’t deride the pervasive and destructive contraceptive mentality (an objective cultural reality) that seems to whack me upside the head every time I and my fat belly emerge from the cave, but… my impulse to justify myself tells me there’s something wrong with me.

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I received many kind, uplifting comments, public and private, following my last post.  Thank you.

Update:  I’m still on the downside of this mood, but I’m doing okay.

Joy is not a feeling but a fruit of the Spirit.  Feelings are fleeting.  Fruit abides.   Look at the examples we have in the saints.  I take comfort, for example, in knowing that Mother Teresa spent decades in the depths of the Dark Night of the Soul with zero spiritual consolation and still managed to radiate this:

Can I get an amen?

That’s all for today.  Enjoy the weekend, y’all!

5 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes: Recommendations and Thoughts on “Perfect” Families

  1. Interestingly enough, some missed the point about the bumper sticker. Go figure.

    I love that you aren’t on hiatus from blogging! (I overuse exclamation points too. Obviously.)

    Confession–sometimes it comforts me MT had decades of A Dark Night but other times? I wish Jesus had just cut her (and others) a break. I suppose this isn’t very Catholic of me, but it is very human.

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    • It *is* very human – at the risk of sounding blasphemous, I think Jesus sometimes wished the Father would cut him a break! Example: Agony in the Garden. Right?

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  2. Totally get what you’re saying about the “oh, that’s so perfect that you have one of each!” I heard plenty of that when pregnant with Max, and in many of the circumstances I had the sneaking suspicion that the subtext was, “So now you can stop, because you have one of each.” As if having children were like collecting all the correct Monopoly stickers for the McDonald’s Monopoly game: “OMG, now you have Boardwalk AND Park Place!!!!!” I mean, it was a hope of mine to have at least one of each, but only because I know how beneficial it was for me to grow up with siblings of the opposite sex. But there seems to be a feeling that if you “Luck out” and get your B/G combo in the first two, then what point is there in even having any more for heaven’s sake?!??!?! I mean, what good would two or three Park Places be when one would suffice? Pardon my rant on your blog space. Anyway, I always enjoy reading your posts so I, too, am glad that somehow you are still cranking them out despite everything that’s rough.

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    • Monopoly, ha!

      Well, “cranking out” might be a bit of an exaggeration… ;-) Like I said, I have zero idea of what will happen. We have started saving for a future adoption, which I think we’ll do no matter how many kids we have biologically.

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