Friday, September 8, 2017

{SQT} Duties, Stoicism, Grief, Life Amidst It All

1. Grampa Neil, RIP

My stepfather, very much loved, passed away a week ago (click here). This is the first Seven Quick Takes I am writing knowing he isn't reading it on his computer in California. He always emailed me feedback after reading my update of the week.

2. Children's Grief

It is a terrible thing to gird oneself to tell one's children that their beloved grandfather has died. Although their grandmother (my mom) died five years ago, they were all so young as not to understand then.

That day when I spent about six hours in my bedroom calling relatives with the news and crying till there were no more tears left, my two daughters wrote me a letter "to Mama Lauer in her bedroom."

The letter gave instructions for me to view a memorial outside of my second story window.

With my aging eyes, all I could see was a bright flash of color from a distance, so I sent my six-year-old out with my cell phone camera to take a close-up photo of the flowers.

3. Busy

Chris was starting back to regular work, and I already didn't know how on earth I would take care of five children and a newborn, pump exclusively and bottle feed, and do some minimal homeschooling. Now I'm adding to that hours per day of legal phone calls and paperwork concerning my stepfather's estate. I thank God for my stalwart husband and two mother's helpers who came out to help me this week because this is a workload I still don't know how I'm managing.

4. David at 3 Weeks Old

At three weeks old (4 weeks today), David has been increasingly alert. He has about two lengthy wakeful periods per day.

I've caught him batting repeatedly at dangling things.

And he is just reaching 11 lbs in weight. He has outgrown some of his newborn clothing.

5. Nursing Update

David is transferring milk! He is consistently transferring 1 ounce of milk, and on a few occasions has transferred 2 oz. He needs to be transferring 3 oz consistently for him to get off bottles and maintain his own milk supply (instead of the pump doing it).

We experienced a beautiful milestone on Thursday: David has started to experience fussy times (colic, whatever), so he was crying at length. He wasn't calmed by a bottle of milk, a pacifier, being swaddled, or being walked around, so I finally tried nursing him (normally my first attempt for a nursing baby!--but David isn't a "nursing baby"): and he quieted instantly. He wanted to nurse. He fell asleep, latched on. Praise God for small moments.

6. Preparations

We prepare for the Eucharistic Congress, David's baptism, and Hurricane Irma. It is an uncertain weekend.

7. Bonus Reading

Ann Voskamp's "Happy Mom Manifesto" (original in the link, Facebook version below):

1. Today, even if everything goes wrong, love is always right. There is ridiculous hope in this.

2. Today, the only thing that has to be written in stone is when to pray. We will just pray at set times & make our home a house of prayer. What else really matters?

3. Today, there are no emergencies. Life is a GIFT -- not an emergency! Only amateurs hurry. So: Say yes to one game every day and laugh loud. No empty-nest mama looks around and wishes she did one more load of laundry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be simple: all stress will have an intervention of giving thanks for one thing out loud. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times.

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that make souls stronger. Grace is the only non-toxic air.

6. Today, I will pray to just be: Consistently consistent. Make rhythms, live routines, wear good habits. Do the same thing at the same time every day -- and you kinda change your life.

7. Today, THIS: The moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals — because children’s hearts feed on touch. I’ll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible — the taller they are, the more so.

Whenever I want to throw hands up, I'll throw them around someone instead. Holding someone always helps holds things together.

9. Love is a roof.

Be a shelter, a safe place, just be a roof for your people today.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will create a culture of JOY! The only life worth living is a scandalous one: scandalous love, offensive mercy, foolish faith. Let joy live loud in your soul.

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. I know you are so busy, but I would be so upset if you ever stopped blogging! You have been a favorite for years!! I love what the girls did! I hate to miss the EC!!!! :(. Remember to be very patient with yourself during this most challenging time! Thanks for that list at the end...I need to read it daily!

  2. Three weeks ago, my youngest moved to college on a Tuesday and my Dad died on Wednesday after a nine-month battle with ALS. Even though my Dad's death was not entirely unexpected, we did think he had a few more months. But it all happened in one week! I am learning to be very gentle with myself, and I hope you can be, as well. And I LOVE Ann. Take care.

  3. I've found that simple surrender to the moment the circumstances at hand can bring about peace and some pleasant surprises. So sorry to hear about your stepfather. Prayers for the repose of his soul.