Thursday, February 18, 2010

Perfect Love

Naturally, the night we found out we were expecting, Luke and I set out to figure out our exact due date! I got online, carefully typed the requested information into the due date calculator, hit the enter button, and presto:
December 25, 2009!
Our baby was due on Christmas!
How exciting! Our pregnancy would be a wonderful journey in joyful anticipation of the birth of both our Savior and our Son!
Being due on Christmas, I felt particularly close to our Blessed Mother throughout my pregnancy. The bond I felt with my unborn son was intense, and I loved imagining this special bond between our Lady and the Lord, too.

I had this little person growing inside of me--I felt his kicks, hiccups, and flips. During his still times I imagined him to be sleeping, and when he was kicking for hours at a time I mentally prepared for an active little boy! As Augustine grew, I could move my hand around on my stomach and feel his tiny feet, bottom, and head. Luke often placed his ear against my belly and listened to the sweet sounds of his son's rapidly beating heart.
Before he was even born, a bond--an intense love--was forming between Luke and I and our precious baby boy.
I wonder if Mary (and Joseph) felt the same way.

Yet even the closeness I felt to Augustine before his birth, could not prepare me for the strength of the attachment I feel with him now. I honestly did not know I had the capacity to love a child the way that I love Augustine. Children have always been a source of great joy in my life--being an nanny and an Aunt have been, and will continue to be, an incredible part of who I am.

But there is nothing--nothing--like being a Mom.
Which brings me back to Mary:

If I, an impure being, have experienced an ever growing bond with my child that started in the womb...what must Her unity with Jesus be like?
If I, a selfish being, can love my son with a love greater than I had imaged existed for a much more does she cherish Her Son?
And if I, a prideful being, cannot stand to see my son suffer the slightest of pains...are there even words to describe the pain Mary endured in seeing her Son crucified?
No, I contend, there are not.

During a conversation a few years back, a friend suggested that there is no greater (human) love than the love between Mary and Jesus. Afterall, Mary is perfect and Jesus is perfect, so only they are capable of Perfect Love. (Jesus, of course, loves us all perfectly, but Mary is the only one who can love Him back that way).

And with Perfect Love comes Perfect (read "great") Suffering.

"and a sword will pierce through your own soul also" Luke 2:35
In my limited capacity to love Augustine, I am devestated to see him in any pain. Just ask Luke how long it took me to recover after he got his 2 month shots! Yet our Lady, who is capable of Perfect Love, had to watch her Son die on a cross. When Augustine is in pain, I remind myself what Mary endured with her own Son and try to accept those crosses with the her humility, trust, and patience. May I also learn from Mary how to love Augustine more perfectly!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tastefully Simple

Eating during pregnancy is a complicated thing.

There are the foods you love but can't have anymore (think sushi, wine, deli meat, coffee)...and there are the foods that you don't typically eat but should eat more of (think sardines, turnips, wheat germ).

There are the foods that used to make you sick but suddenly taste incredible (unfortunately, Taco Bell in my case)...and there are the foods that have always been favorites but abruptly lose their appeal (believe it or not, such was the fate for me and ice cream--though we made up as soon as Augustine was born!).

Then of course, there are the "risky" foods, which, depending on one's stomach, may include everything from spicy foods to dairy...and may result in a number of adverse reactions, including, but not limited to, nausea, heart burn, and indigestion!

For me personally, heartburn and indigestion kept their distance, but I was one big walking, talking bout of nausea for the first half of pregnancy (first trimester morning sickness my hiney!). I experienced everchanging cravings and aversions, and catered to them when possible to avoid the "I think I'm going to throw up right now" feeling. For four months our fridge was full of leftovers because the Chinese food, burrito, sandwich, fill in the blank that I just HAD to have only tasted good for a few bites (luckily I am married to a human garbage disposal).

Going to the grocery store was a nightmare--the smells in aisle five made me ill, the sight of raw meat made me gag, and totally random (as in I have never purchased these before in my life) items ended up in my cart! Waffle cones, ginger snaps (...still in our pantry), CareBear fruit snacks, honey mustard pretzel nuggets...the list goes on. Between the nausea evoked by cooking and my grocery shopping skills tanking, poor Luke did not eat well during my first half of my pregnancy.

So with all this going on, I found myself resorting to what I could trust: the tasty, simple foods of my childhood:
*cottage cheese mixed with yogurt (any flavor works, but strawberry is my personal fav)
*graham crackers (especially dunked in milk or topped with peanut butter and sliced bananas)
*cereal--for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner!
*plain old pb & j
*grilled cheese and tomato soup
*apple sauce
*pancakes with peanut butter and syrup (Luke & I ate pancakes about twice a week during pregnancy)
*hard boiled eggs

YUM! I think I'll go get a snack...

Please add to the nausea is gone, but I am still looking for more tasty, simple snacks and meals!