Thursday, January 9, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 6 - Order, Laughter, Social Conventions, and Milestones

I like organization (read: I’m neurotic).  And themes (read: I was a writing major in college).  In fact, I LOVE them!  But, as the mother of three under 5 with a busy career, I also like a bit of the random (read: chaos).  So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to “theme” three of my quick takes each week.  My life is probably 3/7ths of the way organized at any given time, so that ratio makes sense.  And since I

blog under the name “Catholic Lawyer Mama”, I might as well make this simple and go with a Catholic Take, a Lawyer Take, and a Mama Take each week.  So, here we go.  Wheeeee!

CATHOLIC take:  This past Tuesday, the Gospel reading was one of my all-time faves: The multiplying of the loaves and fishies (yes, I just wrote fishies).  Now, I’m not a math-person, so this whole multiplication business is not really up my alley.  But what I love is the message of feeding.  And not just because I love to eat (okay, maybe just a little bit because I love to eat).  Jesus fed those who came to him that day.  He satisfied their hunger.   For food, in the “I’m hungry.  What’s for dinner, Mom?” kind of way.  But also (and more importantly) for spiritual nourishment.  The Gospel opens with this line: “When Jesus saw the great crowd, he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”  The people who came to Jesus were hungry for the Truth, the Way, and the Life.  They were hungry for God.  And feeding these spiritual needs was so important to Jesus that he didn’t want to dismiss the crowds early, so they could go and find and buy food for themselves.  No, instead, he wanted to keep them there, so he could keep providing them spiritual nourishment.  Multiplying the loaves and the fish was just a sidebar miracle to the more important one involved in feeding their souls.  Amazing.  This Gospel gives me great comfort because it shows me that, when I come to Jesus seeking nourishment and provisions (both spiritual and bodily), he will feed me.  How awesome is that?   

LAWYER take:  

Three Random Things that Happened to Me This Week as a Lawyer:

1.         I played foreman (meaning I sat under a crane to oversee the deconstruction of property improvements, which were being deconstructed per court order).

2.         I realized that a judge about double my age could seriously school me in the best legal apps on the market. (Embarrassed!)

3.         I borrowed rain boots from a chivalrous sheriff deputy after a rainstorm, so I could get into my car without soaking my shoes!

All proof that there are days when being a lawyer is NOTHING like you would expect.

MAMA take:  I love Catholic schools.  On Monday, I picked up my preschooler from school.  After some prompting with the “what did you do today at school” questions, his eyes lit up, and he enthusiastically gave me the following account (remember, he is only 4):

Preschooler: MOM, I learned about the EPIPHANY today at school!  Did you know Epiphany starts with the letter “E”? 

Me:  You’re right it does!  What did you learn about the Epiphany?

Preschooler: It’s when the wise men came to see Mary and Joseph and gave baby Jesus gifts!

Me: Yeah, it is.  What gifts did they give baby Jesus?

Preschooler: They gave him gold!  And the wise men were named Frankincense and Myrrh!!!

Me (smiling): Well, erm, they did give him gold, buddy, but I think Frankincense and Myrrh were the other gifts they brought, not their names.

Preschooler (matter of factly): Oh, right.  I remember that.

Love that moment!  Suffice it to say, we spent the rest of the car ride home going over the names of the three wise men, Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior (which, candidly, I still struggle to remember sometimes), and, after a lot of “Oh yeahs!” (from my preschooler), we had the account straight when we got home.  J  But, hey, not half-bad considering that I had never mentioned the word Epiphany to my preschooler before that day (apparently, I’m a bad mama – didn’t realize he would “get it” this young – don’t judge).

Now, let me preface this by saying that, overall, I'm probably a happy person or at least a cheerful one (bad days aside). So maybe I am more sensitive to this than others. But I have the hardest time relating to people who just don't smile. Like ever. Example: If I'm listening to a speaker and he/she cracks a joke, I will usually laugh. Or at least smile. Even if it's not that funny of a joke, it's the socially acceptable thing to do, right?  Not to mention a nice, encouraging thing to do for the speaker. Right?  But I always notice (while I'm laughing or smiling) that there will be some sourpuss at my table or in my row who will just be sitting there. Stoic-like. Perhaps trying to be above it all?  But it makes me feel so self-conscious!  I find myself totally distracted, wondering "Is sourpuss really just a sourpuss?"  "Or was the joke the speaker made possibly off-color or offensive in some way?"  "Is sourpuss just having a bad day?  Week?  Month?  Year?  Decade?"  "Do I look stupid to sourpuss for acknowledging the joke and responding to it with a smile/laugh?"  WHY, oh why, isn’t sourpuss laughing with me?"  In my better moments, I try to remember to pray for these people and whatever may be going on in their lives. I try, but, at that point, I'm totally distracted from the speaker's presentation with all of this over-analysis and speculation. Well, at least until the speaker cracks the next joke. Then, the whole process starts again . . .

I've always wondered about the social convention whereby women are served first at restaurants and plated-dining events. I understand that being served first is supposed to be a sign of respect and honor for women. The problem is that the women who are served first cannot, by further social convention, start eating until everyone at the table has been served.  Which means their food gets cold (particularly if the servers have to go back to the kitchen to get more meals).  So, what benefit is there?  

As I was sitting at a bar association lunch this week watching my steaming hot food slowly grow cold while I waited for the last man at my table to be served, it occurred to me that this ‘convention’ is more likely a secret plot devised by men in order to make sure that they get all the hot food. Or maybe it is a secret diet plan for women? If their food is cold, maybe they will eat less. Either way, it is a social convention that I would happily skip in favor of hot food.

On a very serious note, this message is something I feel compelled to share.  While I always knew in some vague sense that babies were abandoned in other countries (or aborted), this video stopped me in my tracks.  It is 3 minutes long.  As a constant time-manager, I rarely watch videos of that length (or longer) because I just don’t have the time.  But something (read: the Holy Spirit) compelled me to watch this video.  And I hope it compels you too.  Say a prayer before and after you do for the abandoned children and this couple who takes them in.

On a happier (and bittersweet) baby note, my baby turned six months old on Wednesday!  With each child, I feel like the first year goes by faster and faster.  He is just getting so big! 

And determined!  When he wants a toy, he will literally role himself over and turn himself around as many times as necessary to get to it.  He grabs everything in sight like a pro (amazing hand-eye coordination!) and is already sitting up pretty well (still tips over, but is able to hold the sitting position for quite awhile now).  He started getting the hang of sitting up in December and had one of his first really long sitting stretches the day after Christmas.  For his next trick, he is going to find a way to chase his brothers around.  I just know it!  He already wants us to help him stand, and then he tries to move his feet to walk, walk, walk where he wants to go.  He even took a stab at dancing on his half birthday!  Sooooo big!  Don’t grow up too fast, baby boy!  I love you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. From the etiquette I remember, you are allowed to eat as soon as half the people at the table have been served. (Maybe it's just over half....) Unless you are going to offend someone by eating sooner. Then, well...wait, eat cold food, and offer it up??

    1. Hmmmm, you could be right. Everyone else at the table was waiting though, so maybe that's how they do it down in the South? I'm originally from the Midwest, so how would I know? I always find etiquette to be a losing battle, so I usually just try to blend in (and apparently eat cold food). :)