Well, if last Sunday was cold and miserable, this Sunday is simply gorgeous. We spent time at the park and are now just relaxing with Curious George and some mint iced green tea that's really satisfying my summer Sonic cravings. I cannot believe that my little guy is counting down to his second birthday in less than a month! The past almost six months, from 18 months on, has been filled with some major ups and a few downs from our little guy.
The talking! Oh my goodness, this kiddo can talk. Yes, no, please, thank you, names of friends and some family members, what different animals say, and our latest, play-dough. Although our conversations are still pretty one-sided, he definitely has thoughts and opinions he does his best to share with us.
We're starting to do activities together more. The aforementioned play-dough is very popular, as is coloring together, and using stickers on our art projects as well. He has lots of fun playing pretend with fake food and feeding it to me or other soft toys in his room. However, books are our definite favorite. Each night, we spend a good 20-30 minutes looking at and reading books together before bed. I often catch him flipping through books on his own too!
Holidays have been a blast as well! Opening Valentines and hunting Easter eggs have been such a treat. So was playing in the snow earlier this winter! I'm looking forward to all the shared summer activities this summer too. Spring experiences like mud puddles, planting our own seeds for a salsa garden, and time at the park have all been time well spent.
We've also had some learning to do... there was a biting phase that still pops up when he is feeling particularly frustrated or overly tired. This was definitely the hardest thing to discipline and manage because it was happening in many different places and for several different reasons. With the help of his wonderful teachers at the ECC, we were able to help him learn that biting was not an acceptable way to show his frustration and as his vocabulary (and use of it) improved, so did the biting! I'm very proud of how well he's done lately using his words when frustrated or upset.
Mass is still a struggle. Honestly, I expect it to be for the next year or so. In my inexperienced opinion, Mass behavior improves as their understanding of the Mass grows. It's hard to expect a toddler to be quiet and calm during the consecration of the Eucharist when he has no idea how beautiful and sacred the moment is. For the time being, we'll keep reading our favorite Easter book, looking through our children's Bibles, and saying "Amen" after prayers to help his young faith grow.
Regardless, being this little man's mom is daily adventure that isn't without its struggles. Its pushed me to do research and really consider what kind of parent I want to be, as well as be very mindful and reflective about what works well for our son. Its really all trial and error at this point, but I can say with confidence our son is funny, friendly little boy who is growing up well!
On a side note, what do you think, should I celebrate my little turkey with a big bash for two years? Or should we keep it simple until he can actually remember the party? I'm torn... let me know in the comments!
A few weeks ago, my son and I spent the majority of our Saturday watching 6th grade basketball games. I was proud of him for sitting through 3 out of 4 quarters and then was startled and pleased to watch him play with the gentlemen sitting in front of us or the woman beside us. We were seated right in the middle of our St. Regis fans and I was so touched by how gracious everyone was to my squirmy toddler. But then on the drive home, it struck me... we were part of a community. A real brick-and-mortar, bone-and-blood community of people. And I don't think this is a feeling many of us experience any more.
We seek out community in online spaces like groups of Facebook, feeds on Twitter, and through other platforms like Instagram and SnapChat that make us feel like we're really there seeing (while also making us feel terrible because we're missing it). Although social media has its time and place, it cannot replace the deeply rooted need we have has humans to seek and create community. We were not designed to function alone; God created us to be communal and understood that about us intrinsically when Jesus was sent to institute a new church, focused on love rather than laws.
Amidst a time of crisis in our universal Church, I can see no better remedy than to seek out and develop deeper, more rooted communities within our home churches. This is not a time to pull further away from the Church (despite disillusion with the clergy and other leadership); it is time for the lay people to reinvest in their communities. Our parish priests will come and go but we are our parish, not the just man saying Mass on Sundays.
I won't claim to have all the answers because truthfully, I'm not the best at making friends quickly (but really, are any of us?) I can tell you this though... in every situation you feel awkward, uncomfortable, or left out, odds are there is another woman feeling just like you or worse. Bearing that in mind, I want to encourage you today to be bold in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, and intentionally seek out those who, just like you, are starving for holy friendships, iron that sharpens iron, that will feed will help you feel connected and loved, all while returning to the Father. Don't fall for the tricks of the Evil One, taunting you with your own insecurities and flaws. Boldly, bravely, walk up to the woman also sitting on the edge and hold your hand out to her, just like Jesus did for His beloved friend, Peter time and time again.
You got this, sister. God did not intend for us to go through life alone. We've been blessed with a community of believers because God knows so well through the experiences of Jesus, that humanity needs one another's support and love to make this difficult life that much better.
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