Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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St. Anne's Tearoom: Growing in Wisdom over 40
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Elizabeth
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Posted: April 12 2005 at 5:37pm | IP Logged Quote Elizabeth

I'd like to take a rabbit trail from something Leonie hinted at and then tag onto something Jane alluded to on the CM list and then pull from a phone conversation I had with Chari last night.

When the CM list began, I was 32 and pregnant with my fifth child. I think I really believed that now that I'd finally figured out the rhythm of baby days and toddler nights, balancing nursing and reading aloud, that life would hum merrily along this way forever. Life was hard certainly; but life was good. I felt that I was really, really comfortable in my vocation.

Now, apparently the baby days are over. And even if they are not (please God), they nearly are. Dear Leonie, who was struggling with the end of baby days in those early days of the list, has reminded me that there is an empty nest in our futures. When Jane posted about her latest miracle baby, she was quite certain it is her last.

When I was a young mom, trying to find my philosophical home, there were books that helped me counter the popular culture. There was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Creative Counterpart, Sally Clarkson and Kimberly Hahn.

Just for kicks, I flipped through an issue of More (for women who are forty or more) at the doctor's office recently. There were two very interesting articles on how and why to get divorced. Sigh. The culture again. There are plenty of midlife books with a new-age spin. No, thank you. Where are the resources on embracing this next stage from a Godly perspective? Anybody know?
Anybody have thoughts on aging gracefully?

One thing I always looked forward to was a time when I was neither nursing nor pregnant and could buy and wear a dress that zipped up the back. Katie only nurses at bedtime. I bought that dress for Easter. It's not all it's cracked up to be. I tend to be an optimist, always chasing rainbows and finding silver linings. Would somebody please direct me to the nearest rainbow?

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Posted: April 12 2005 at 5:44pm | IP Logged Quote Bridget

Well, according to Titus 2, you should be doing what you are doing. Teaching the younger women.

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Posted: April 12 2005 at 6:40pm | IP Logged Quote momwise

I don't know why this book appeals to me for aging mothers, because Elisabeth was neither very old when she died, nor a mother, but My Spirit Rejoices by Elisabeth Leseur is about a very graceful, active woman. Maybe it's because her nest was always empty and she offered that so beautifully to God.

She kept a diary primarily dealing with her sufferings of an athiest husband and painful ailments. Yet the comments her husband gave of how friends loved to see her and packed her house when she was too ill to visit them pointed to her joy and total sense of giving whatever one needed from her to become closer to Christ.

She poured a lot of work and prayer into her nieces, nephews and sisters, she had a very active social life with her husband's and her friends and she went on several pilgrimages which refreshed her emotionally and spiritually.

I don't know, she just strikes me as someone to emulate as I grow older and my children leave me. On the other hand, I expect lots of grandchildren to be here

Alleluia....He is Risen!

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Posted: April 12 2005 at 10:18pm | IP Logged Quote mumofsix

Elizabeth - the rainbow is the one the Pope has recently crossed over to. This is a portentous thought, not to say pompous , but it is true.

I know my current baby is my last because of my own personal circumstances (pregnancy now a physical impossibility, adoption no longer an option as we have passed beyond the age limits for this in our country) and in some ways that is easier. You others have to wait and wonder, and only know for sure in retrospect that the baby days are over. I think that is hard.

Why do we fear aging? My ds 17 has recently started working one day per week at a nursing home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. They are a precious, orthodox order and he loves it there: the atmosphere is one of love, peace and Christ-like service. However, he has also for the first time come close to examples of physical and mental decline, dependency, etc. He asks me, "Mum, aren't you scared of getting old?"

The whole of life in this vale of tears is a tale of loss, in a way. Being a mother makes this so poignant. As much as you rejoice in your three year old making strides towards independence, you yearn for that little chap who was so totally dependent upon you. As for the 17 year old who has nearly finished his education, well ... We educate and nurture them for eventual independence. We do ourselves out of a job.

I feel a lot better about this stage of life than I thought I would. I have known what it is like to have no children, for years, while deeply wanting them, so I have feared the end of this baby stage. However, I find myself very much at peace with it all. I think that has to do with a conviction that I have had all the children God wanted me to have, and that is a very satisfying thought. Now, with every day that passes, I can be more free to develop my existing children's education, and one day take on work outside the immediate family and use those talents that have had to remain somewhat dormant. I have the family I so prayed for and at times despaired of having. Now I just have to enjoy them and revel in it all. That is an exciting prospect.

There is a great danger in looking back with nostalgia or looking forward with impatience: in both cases you lose the now, which will never come back, and the now is very precious.

I can't think of any books that address this from a good perspective, but I wonder whether the fact that the existing midlife guides are new-agey might be significant. It is very much a feature of the rich West to fear aging, and to try somehow to stave it off or pretend it isn't really happening. In other materially poorer cultures there is quite a lot to be said for being old. In rural Ireland until quite recently, there was tremendous respect and love for grandparents and for the elderly. They were often chosen as Godparents. The child was seen to be getting a good deal, as these Godparents would not only pray for them in this life, but quite soon be able to pray for them from Heaven itself.

I take some inspiration from such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II. Mother Teresa was 47 when she BEGAN her great work of founding the Missionaries of Charity. Karol Woytyla was 58 when he began his papacy. Great things may still be in store. (Okay not being Pope or a nun who founds a new order, but you see what I mean.) Life is not necessarily over in ones forties or fifties. We should be asking God to use us for something great in His service.

We will grow old and die. Yet look at the example of the Pope: his very illness and frailty was a tremendous witness, a tremendous work. He embodied the suffering servant, and even our newspapers here did not miss that. He taught us how to die, accepting suffering with courage for the reparation of the sins of the world, and trusting implicitly in God's mercy, finding joy in the prospect that thanks to that great mercy we can contemplate Heaven despite all our unworthiness. (It was no accident that he died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday.)

I think with each stage of life, the joy comes from seeking God's will and following Him. There is no harm, though, in asking for a great assignment!

Jane.
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Posted: April 12 2005 at 10:30pm | IP Logged Quote materdei7

Oh dear me,
How I can relate to the laments that I hear. I am 48 and
still pray for another child, even though I know that
it is a wishful prayer. My youngest son is now 4! I just recently read the book by Kim Hahn;"Life-Giving
Love", and found it VERY helpful in dealing with this
infertile period of our lives.(The book was at our library) It isn't very easy, but,trusting that God has a plan for me in someother capacity, even if I don't know what that could be, is somewhat comforting. I haven't gone through the hot-flashes yet, although they will come. I pray for the grace from God to endure and accept this time(that will come whether I like it or not ) as gracefully as possible....but, we are human afterall, and I will so miss the baby years. God help us all! Prayers and Blessings to you all,


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Posted: April 12 2005 at 10:47pm | IP Logged Quote jdostalik

Jane wrote:
I think with each stage of life, the joy comes from seeking God's will and following Him. There is no harm, though, in asking for a great assignment!

Thank you Jane, for your inspirational post. It really moved me and encouraged me as well.

I am feeling a bit like you, Elizabeth. I am 39 and not feeling quite ready for the baby years to end...One of my dearest friends, who is 44, recently found out she was pregnant with number 6. She has 5 girls and she and her husband finally broke down and prayed for a boy this time. Last Thursday, they found out they will most likely miscarry this precious baby. They have embraced this cross that God has given them, yet my dear friend is so sad that this may most likely be her last pregnancy.

I think adjusting to new stages of our lives is a cross that Christ gives us to grow closer to Him. I am praying for your intentions, Elizabeth--and yours, too, Kathleen!!


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Posted: April 12 2005 at 11:38pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

You know, it is so comforting to know that so many other faithful Catholic moms ponder all of these things. Sometimes the Good Lord makes His plan known in such an obvious way, and other times I am left to wonder how I'm going to figure out what I'm supposed to do.

As Elizabeth says, there aren't very many resources out there for Catholic women of "a certain age"; we must then turn to God, the Blessed Mother, saints and each other for sustenance. I am sure Saint Monica wondered about God's plan for her life as she grew older and Augustine grew wilder. We just don't know how she dealt with daily life, because she didn't write down her experiences and emotions.

Jane's points are really wonderful! We have so many examples of people who began a life of faith and service long after our modern society would have written them off as "too old". I come from a family with a history of both early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer's, and the idea of aging in that way is very, very scary...but I now have the example of Terri Schiavo's life to remind me that no life is wasted, ever. There isn't any real way to prepare ourselves for God's plans for our future except to be faithful to His Church's teachings.

I think everyone who's posted shares the same feelings of loss when it comes to the idea that our child-bearing days are ending or ended...I crossed that bridge after my dd was born (and it took us a while to get her), but I ache whenever I see a curly-headed baby - well, any baby, now that I know for sure that two is all I'll ever have.

I know there's room out there for books and articles on this very important topic. When our daughters, in particular, see J. Lo and Britney grow older and try to hide behind hair dye and plastic surgery, they will need the guidance of all of us who've been down the road of life with God instead of with a surgeon. Many of you on this board would have much to contribute to an anthology of this nature...and you are all so eloquent! I hope the Holy Spirit inspires some of you to think about this...

I really, really needed to hear that I am not alone, particularly today, in coping with all of the feelings and issues that accompany midlife. All of you are such a blessing to me and to everyone you touch. Thanks.



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Posted: April 13 2005 at 12:36am | IP Logged Quote Leonie

Wow. You have all put my thoughts into words.

Like Elizabeth, I have struggled with the thought that this is my last baby ( and he is nine ). As each subsequent pregnancy , since Anthony's birth, has ended in miscarraige and health problems, I have become more resigned and accustomed to what must be God's will.

So, here I am. I just turned 45 last month. My youngest is nine. Who do I look to for support?

Not the women's magazines, sadly. Not even most literature for Catholic homeschooling mothers, as this stage seems to be ignored in most literature. Do we have to write this for ourselves, as we share the bittersweet experiences of which Jane talks?

I find help and solace in fiction. Sometimes, a living literature book will point to a way for me.

A couple that have recently helped me as I pray and ponder this "no babies" stage are - The Meet the Austins series, The Herb of Grace and others in the series by Elizabeth Goudge, Mis Rumphius( yes! a picture book!).

Wanting to hear the experiences of others....

Leonie in Sydney
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Posted: April 13 2005 at 6:04am | IP Logged Quote Faith

Wow, this is a great thread! I am 45 years old today! I have been having these feelings since I had my last baby 3.5 years ago. I know I am not going to have another. I long to adopt and have been trying to open up my dh's mind to it. I feel like I am in such a child oriented mode right now and I definitely have room in my home and heart for one more. We are so blessed materially, I really feel God is calling me to raise another child. I want to do this soon because I am afraid people will think us too old! This is the first time my dh and I have been of two minds when it comes to having children. Although there have been definite signs he is warming to the idea.

For all you spring chickens out there of 39, don't despair. I had no. 4 at 39 and no. 5 at 41.

Elizabeth, since there are very few good books out there for women at this stage, I suggest you write one!
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Posted: April 13 2005 at 6:36am | IP Logged Quote Elizabeth

I'm not so sure I fear aging as much as nothing I can think of to do seems as worthwhile and satisfying as bearing and raising children. I'm sure other people would disagree, but I heard my calling loud and clear where having children was concerned. Apparently, now I'm a little hard of hearing And I DO still have a houseful to raise so maybe it will become clearer...

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Posted: April 13 2005 at 1:04pm | IP Logged Quote amiefriedl

Bridget wrote:
Well, according to Titus 2, you should be doing what you are doing. Teaching the younger women.


AMEN, AMEN!   

We newbies need you experienced moms!

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Posted: April 13 2005 at 1:15pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Day two of trying to catch a catnap and I can't because my brain is going a mile a minute. I'm 38 and just started my child-bearing, so I know it can't be too long until it will be over...that darn biological clock! I'm 7 weeks along with number 2, and number one is a very active 19 months.

So, I'm obviously new at all this. I'm relishing this time to be playing, holding, caring for my young son. I love seeing him develop and learn, making connections, reveling in life. My heart and arms ache when I think of the time I won't be able to cuddle him in my arms.

But I see the upcoming middle life as a time to focus on me, my soul and my vocation and my husband. I find that I put my baby's needs first, go through my busy day trying to get things done, and end up not having any introspective time. That's my fault, because I don't make it a priority. I'm supposed to be answerable to God at every point in life, but at this phase it's HARD! Everything is a lick and a promise, squeezed in between feedings and changings and playtime and teaching and doctor's appointments and (minimal) housework. Exercise? What's that? We've turned down activities at the parish because of the needs of our baby at home. I find I forget even to feed myself since I'm worried about what he's eating.

As the children will get older, there are a few things I see in transition, even more than the back zip dress. For one, I hope when they are a bit older that I can be more active at our parish. I also want to find more time to cook, trying new recipes, spending a little more CREATIVE time in the kitchen, instead of the basic get it on the table! I could actually share that process with older children, instead of making sure there are no toddlers at my leg when I open up the hot oven.

I would think my lesson preparations would be more thorough and I would have more one-on-one time with the dc that are "school-age?" There are quite a few crafts and activities that would have harder or impossible to do with a smaller baby or toddler? (I'm thinking of psyanky (Ukrainian eggs) for one!). And there will be more outside activities, or at least we will be able to do them more freely.

I do look forward to having the time to finish a chapter at one sitting, or even to just read a whole article in the morning's paper all at once, without having my toddler hit the page and want me to play with him. But right now, I get on the floor and play. That's my focus.

And the discussion Leonie started about outside interests hits home to me. I didn't marry until I was 33, and didn't get pregnant until 3 years later, so I was a career woman. Now so much of this has come to a halt. I have ideas, dreams and things I want to do, but my child comes first. Will I be able to return and do some of these things? Can I balance so that I can do some "me" or apostolate time and be a good wife and mother? Will there come a time when I'm not needed constantly?

Those are my thoughts in the interim of being a mother to babies, and then seeing the future of my babies grow older. Now, as far as empty nest syndrome, I don't know. I don't think I'll have the energy to DO anything, nor will I have the money. DH and I have talked about traveling, or just going back to the B&Bs once in a while, reading, exploring, writing. But it is "our" time, to work with vigor on our spiritual lives.

I spent 3 months in the convent, and then was a single gal for a while. When in the convent, my first confession included me losing my temper with my siblings, my parents, etc. Sins related to others. Then being there awhile, having to answer ONLY for myself, I began to see my real faults, the core of that loss of temper, etc. And then later, being single on my own, I had no one else to blame for my faults -- you see them up close. If I'm late for Mass, it's not because I couldn't get my toddler out the door on time! So to me, it will be the pendulum swinging back, for me to get to the roots of my sins. It will be more of a time of contemplation.

But since I'm starting so late in life, I'm seriously doubting I WILL experience the empty nest syndrome!

Of course, I don't know what your life was like with babies, Elizabeth and all. Seems all your writing, unit studies, rabbit trails, parish involvement, exercise, cooking still continued on even with night feedings, breast infections and infants and toddlers at the breast. Frankly, I don't know how you all do it!!!! I'm the low energy type! I am constantly in awe with the work that all you ladies do, and I'm so glad I'm able to sit at your feet and learn from your experience!

I doubt this will make sense, as I have pregnancy brain and not too sharp, but just some ramblings I had to get down so I can relax!

God bless.

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Posted: April 13 2005 at 6:58pm | IP Logged Quote tovlo4801

jenngm67 wrote:
Seems all your writing, unit studies, rabbit trails, parish involvement, exercise, cooking still continued on even with night feedings, breast infections and infants and toddlers at the breast. Frankly, I don't know how you all do it!!!! I'm the low energy type! I am constantly in awe with the work that all you ladies do, and I'm so glad I'm able to sit at your feet and learn from your experience!



You're not alone! I with you in that "low energy" type. I love sitting at the feet of all these beautiful mothers and learning from their wise lives, too! I just have to be choosy about what I decide to take on from the wealth of offerings. But boy am I glad the wealth of offerings is being shared. We have so many possibilities to choose from!

God Bless,

Richelle
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Posted: April 13 2005 at 7:48pm | IP Logged Quote Mary G

Well, it's hard for me as I have had so many friends miscarry this year -- some for the third or fourth time and they're ALL younger than I am! I had my first miscarriage last Fall, but am now again pregnant (about 8 weeks) and will be 44 when this baby comes along (please, God!). I already have 5 great kids, but really want this one too.

It was funny when I miscarried, because it was my first one. I had never miscarried before and sort of took for granted that if I was pregnant, like it or not, I was having a baby! Well, the miscarriage has made me very much more aware of my babies and the current one in my belly....and as I said earlier, so many of my friends have miscarried babies this year (inluding one who just found out that her 27-wk fetus had died).....

I don't know if we'll ever experience "empty nest" -- my dh is 52 and I'm 43, but I think we'll always stay in touch with kids -- whether its grandbabies (as they say down here in the South) or teaching school or CCD or something...we'll always try to move the youth to teach them the right way -- to turn back the tide of public opinion where it's ok to starve a woman for 13 days, not even giving her water, because her dh said "she didn't want to be a vegetable". We need to change this kind of mentality -- whether through our own kids, grandkids or through our students ...

Blessings to all of you and yours -- may we all discern what God wants of us.....



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Posted: April 13 2005 at 10:08pm | IP Logged Quote juliecinci

Love this thread! One of the talks I used to give at Charlotte Mason workshops was called "Enriching Your Life ala CM" and it was about becoming a self-educated, nurtured person through a pursuit of the arts, literature, Shakespeare, music and history as adults. We discussed ways to bring these into our lives for our own sakes (not only as educators focused on our children).

Homeschooling kindles a love of learning in us, as much as we hope it will in our children. Charlotte Mason, in particular, gave me the boost I needed to take time to pursue those things that attracted me. As I gave myself permission to go to art museums *by myself* and not with kids, I discovered that I had experiences that were intrinsically valuable and that nurtured me (which turned out to be even more critical when I had little babies and toddlers). I came home with joy and a heightened sense of the lifetime learning journey that our kids are on and felt less panicked about getting it "all in" before they were finished with homeschool.

My joy at discovering the brilliance of well-known authors or seeing a live play or relishing the memory of a gorgeous painting spilled over into the homeschool naturally. Those reports made my kids clamor to have experiences of a similar nature. The learning cycle took off - my learning feeding theirs and vice-versa.

From that season of personal growth in the arts and lit, I discovered a passion for theology. That passion eventually led to my pursuing a Master's degree at Xavier University. I can honestly say that I no longer fear the loss of my role as a mother at home. (Though I know I'll be the biggest puddle around when the last one leaves since I completely love my SAHM role and enjoy my kids so much.)

But it doesn't worry me any more. I have discovered the joy of my own company, the stimulation of an active mind-life and the power of making a contribution on an adult level to the great conversation in the arena that gives me joy and a sense of competence and participation.

I highly recommend integrating even a poem a day or a short story a month or some other form of self-education that is not about children while your kids are still at home. Who knows what that spark will kindle into flame in your life and community!?

Julie

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Posted: April 13 2005 at 11:35pm | IP Logged Quote Erica Sanchez

Julie ~ Beautifully said!!!

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Posted: April 14 2005 at 3:28am | IP Logged Quote Leonie

I think I am with Elizabeth on this whole issue.

Its not that I fear aging. Its not that I fear death. Its not that I don't know what to do with time for me. Its not even that I want more time for me! lol!

Its just that I don't know what my vocation will be after I finish homeschooling and when the last child has grown.These thoughts come to me as my youngest is nine and I am only homeschooling four, when I used to homescgool seven!

My vocation has been wrapped up in family. I am mothering - as in mothering as a noun, as in mothering as a vocation.

I guess I also want to read and pray in preparation for a future vocation, for what God may have in mind, when the "empty nest" arrives.

That is why I post - and read - and share.

Am I making it all too complicated?

Leonie in Sydney
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Posted: April 14 2005 at 7:29am | IP Logged Quote juliecinci

Leonie, I am sure that with seven children, your role as a mother and grand-mother will certainly continue to be important for the rest of your life! I look forward to grandmothering almost as much as I did mothering.

One of my good friends (whose kids are all grown now and who was my first homeschooling mentor, really) said that she finds that her role just keeps changing. All that "time" she "thought" she'd have isn't actually as wide or empty as she imagined it would be either. The kids continue to need her, to come home, to call, to occupy her thoughts and prayers and so on. So perhaps with homeschooling, we have fostered a different future for ourselves than we might have seen in some of our parents.

I do believe that a vocation will be offered to each of us that builds on all those years of in-depth nurturing and mothering. More than anything, I think it helps to be alert to who we've become due to our mothering, through our mothering.

It seems that the forties engender this kind of reflection. I was at our homeschool co-op a few weeks ago and couldn't believe it. I spoke with four different women my age (I'm 43) who were feeling that restless feeling—what will I do when my last one leaves home? and, I'd like to work a little, but where? and, I'm thinking of getting my Master's but can it be done while children are still underfoot?

Those discussions excite me because when I look at my own children, I imagine they will do "great things" some day. My mother looks at me that way. Parenting is the most noble of professions and it's intense, but there comes a time when we can make that "adult" contribution too. I am sure it will be one that is clear to us just as mothering was.

Julie

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Natalia
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Posted: April 14 2005 at 8:28am | IP Logged Quote Natalia

juliecinci wrote:
It seems that the forties engender this kind of reflection. I was at our homeschool co-op a few weeks ago and couldn't believe it. I spoke with four different women my age (I'm 43) who were feeling that restless feeling—what will I do when my last one leaves home? and, I'd like to work a little, but where? and, I'm thinking of getting my Master's but can it be done while children are still underfoot?Julie


Julie,
I am glad to see you use the word restless. That is how I feel. I am 41 (42 in June) and I feel very restless. I feel that there are so many things inside of me waiting to come out.
In one of your BW emails you talked about helping our children find their voices as writers. I feel that I need to find my voice, not necessarly as a writer but as a person. This might not be so for anybody else. I think my circumstances are different from people here. I look at my life and I look at the world around me and I see that there is a world out there that I don't understand. Homeschooling life is sheltered (at least it has been for us). Then i think am I prepared to live "in the world"?
All the people that I have come in contact with over the internet have made me realize how vast the world is. The world is big and complex and there is so much to learn... I fear that by the time I finish raising my children ( I started kind of late- my oldest is 11 and my youngest 3) maybe I won't have brain cells left. I don't want the world and its events to pass by me. I want to affect the world around me somehow. And I mean I want to affect it directly not only through my raising children that are going to in turn affect the world.
We are called to build the kingdom of God on earth and I feel that there is so much to be learned. I want to engage the world and its society and come out with some understanding.
I want to read philosophy, theology, sociology, modern literature, classic literature. I want to read JP II's encyclicals and learn a vision of man and the forces that move him.
You all might not think that this is related to this thread at all but this is a restlessnes that is different from anything I have felt before. There is almost a sense of urgency about it. Maybe because I realize my mortality and the limitations of my body.
I believe that this season in my life has made me take a fresh look at myself. My hormones are changing and with the change the worst traits of my character have become worst. I find myself being scattered and having difficulty concentrating. So I asked myself How am I going to learn anything if I can't concentrate in what I am doing? Is this temporary or this is the way is going to be from now on? How can I grow in depth of knowledge if I can't stick to something long enough?
Then, I praise God for the virtue of HOPE. If I didn't have HOPE everything will be so futile. I praise God for a life lived in Him because when things get chaotic I can still see His thread holding it all together and giving it direcction.

Thanks to all you for letting me "talk".

Natalia
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Posted: April 14 2005 at 10:36am | IP Logged Quote Bridget

I have been thinking about this thread a lot lately. I'm 40 and expecting but I should probably assume I'm close to the end of baby days, though I hope not.

I was considering what I hope the years after toddlers and babies will look like for me. it occurred to me that I have been taught by several great priests that our primary vocation is our marriage, parenting being the biggest part of that right now. But I should look at my life in terms of us, Dh and I, not just myself.

So Kevin and I talked about it. Of course we talked about being able to go out to dinner or do some projects together that we have often contemplated. We would love to study more intensely on many subjects together, especially our faith. But really what we kept coming back to was an extension of what we are already doing.

We want to be available for our high school and college age children and their friends. We want our house to be welcoming for them. When we have grandchildren we hope to help however we can. Maybe even with homeschooling. (I know I would love it if my parents could spend some regular time teaching my children certain subjects.)

I guess I hope to keep mothering as long as there is someone to mother and I am really looking forward to putting more thought and effort into being Kevin's wife.

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