Saturday, November 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 3 - Recovery, Running, Carnival, and Mama-Love

Another stressful week, so these takes are late! Again! Argh! After my mother-in-law's brain surgery last week, I'm not complaining because I'll happily take a "super busy" week over a week filled with fear/anticipation over potentially life-threatening surgery.

Speaking of my mother-in-law, her recovery has been remarkable. She is still in pain, but, believe it or not, she was actually released from the hospital this past Sunday (yes, that would be less than two days after her surgery concluded). The doctors were so impressed because all her reflexes were strong, she was able to walk around and respond to basic physical commands (e.g., push, pull, etc.), and her speech was clear. She has temporary, partial facial paralysis on her left side, but they expect that to recede in the next few weeks. God is good! Please keep praying for a speedy and complete, pain-free recovery.

As to me, I spent my week in a crazy-busy work-related haze. Monday and Wednesday were the only days I spent behind my desk. Tuesday was spent driving around interviewing potential fact witnesses for a big trial coming up. Thursday was spent attending a hearing in a different county (and being a mom -- see QT5!). And I had an arbitration yesterday (Friday). In between, I was prepping for said hearing and arbitration and dealing with a rather insane amount of issues that came up in other cases. It is a blessing to be busy (especially when so many attorneys have been scrounging for work during the recession), but there are moments I wish I that maybe, just maybe, I could be slightly less blessed . . .

As if my work schedule wasn't crazy enough, my husband has been MIA most of this week. Normally, I depend on him. A lot. He takes the lead transporting the younger boys to and from school and picking up our pre-schooler from after-school care. Many nights, he also starts dinner, pitches in with baths/showers, and helps pack our pre-schooler's lunch and snack for the next day. Then, there are his normal household duties (e.g., garbage remover, mail sorter, bill-payer, toilet paper roll refiller, laundry doer/assistant, etc.). Yes, he is pretty much awesome all-around, and I am a very blessed girl to have married him. But, once a year, in November, his non-profit employer hosts a carnival to help raise money. And, since he runs the non-profit's finances, manages its operations, and serves on the carnival committee, his services are very much in-demand during the carnival and the week leading up to it. Which just so happens to be this week. Meaning he works all day and late into the night (think midnight at a minimum). Which means I pretty have to go it alone with the kids. And, once the carnival starts, it runs for five days. FIVE. WHOLE. DAYS. ALONE. Let me paint you a picture:

Pretend this is my house.  Then, replay.  Now, it is my children in meltdown mode.  Replay again.  Now, it is a diaper.  Welcome to my life.

Now, you would think that I would just block off "carnival week" on my work calendar in order to keep my stress level manageable, right? You would think that and you would be . . . right! Ding! Ding! Ding! Because I'm no fool, right!? Sooooooo . . . being the forward-thinking organizer I am, I blocked off each of the carnival days on my calendar months ago. In boldface and capital letters. With the ominous words: "DO NOT SCHEDULE ANYTHING!" Just to make sure there was no confusion. But . . . enter those pesky creatures called "clients." And judges, courts, and other lawyers. All of which, apparently, in some cruel and malevolent plot to destroy my life and sanity, were ONLY AVAILABLE to schedule hearings, interviews, and arbitrations during this one week! Unless I was willing to wait until some distant week next February or March. Sigh. The things I do in the name of "zeal in advocacy," "reasonable diligence," and "promptness." Did I mention that there are only three more days left of the carnival? Three. One, Two, Three. But who's counting?

By far, the best part of my week was taking time off to go to the carnival with my pre-schooler. On Thursday, his Catholic school dismissed early so all of the kids and their parents could go to the carnival for "family days."

Now, that morning didn't start off so well. I lost in court. It was just a hearing and the case is still very much in play, but still a loss. (Have I mentioned that I don't like to lose? Yeah, well, I hate it. And because I hate it, I tend to over-prepare for every hearing. Meaning I rarely lose. Which makes those rare losses all the more irritating.) Suffice it to say, I wasn't in the best of moods. One glance at my iPhone told me that my email was blowing up with requests on other cases, and I should really be in the office. So, I did what any working mom would do. I put up an "out of office" message and shut off my phone.

See, in my heart, I don't believe in this crazy concept of "having it all." It's nonsense designed to make all of us working moms stress ourselves crazy and set ourselves up for failure. Instead, I believe in "doing it all" the best you can, but in the order of your priorities. And, on Thursday, my priority was to make sure my oldest boy enjoyed his afternoon. I had not had one-on-one time with him in awhile. And, candidly, I wanted to make sure he wasn't one of the kids whose parents didn't show and/or didn't take him to the carnival. Because those things matter to kids. It may not be a big deal for an adult to miss one afternoon of fun, but it's a huge deal for a kid to be the one left behind and left out. As a working mom, I already feel behind the eight-ball in that area. Time to put work aside for the good of my son.

It was the best decision I made that day. The joy in his eyes as we spent the afternoon wandering the carnival melted my heart. And changed my day. Complete 180. He was so excited. It meant the world to him in a way I never would have realized if I hadn't been there. And his joy filled me right up with warmth and happiness. When we arrived home mid-afternoon for his nap, I opened my laptop to begin work with a smile on my face. I love my son, and I will always treasure the memories of that carefree afternoon.

My beautiful boy

On a completely different note, the topic for this week's "Catholic Reading for this Week" is a bit of a sore spot for me. In fact, at some point in the future, this 'take' may get its own blog post. Mostly so I can vent. Or self-therapeutize (yeah, not a word . . . tough.).

The topic? The struggles of bringing children to church and handling the judgmental reactions from the surrounding pews.

This is a hard one for me. When I watch people roll their eyes or even relocate their seats merely because my child(ren) make(s) a peep, it really gets under my skin. People wonder why young families leave the Catholic Church. In my opinion, this is part of the reason. Anyway, here is some good reading, encouragement, empathy, and advice for those who relate and are feeling discouraged.

Most important takeaway: You are not alone and you are AWESOME for fighting the good fight and taking your children to mass!

Cute Kid Moment(s) and Quote(s) of the Week:

  1. My pre-schooler on the way to school in a super excited voice: “Look Mom! There’s the I-75!” Seriously, dude, how DO you know that?!?
  2. On the daily report that came home from my two-year-old's daycare, his teacher wrote: “Josh milked a pretend udder like [on a] Dairy Cow. He was very interested in the picture and process.” Hmmmmmm. Not sure what to say to that . . . except, given that I nurse his baby brother, I bet he was!!! Especially since, previously, when he was asked what his baby brother eats, he would respond (completely innocently and sincerely), "He eats Mama!" Out of the mouths of babes, let me tell you . . .
  3. My baby started rolling over this week -- from his back to his tummy! Pretty good if you ask me considering he turned 4 months old yesterday!

P.S. Today is my pre-schooler's 4th birthday!

My pre-schooler 4 years ago today.

Where has the time gone?

Signing off now to celebrate with him! Pictures to come . . .

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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