You-Should-Read-This of the Day:

"The protection of human life comes first. And to the extent that the debate is about whether it is acceptable to destroy a living human being for the purpose of science – even for the purpose of helping other human beings – I think that in that sense, the embryo is our equal. That doesn’t mean that I would think of an embryo in the same way that I would think of a three-year-old child, but I would reject a technique that uses either of them for scientific experimentation… MY APPROACH TO THIS IS NOT RELIGIOUS. I’m not a particularly religious person and I come at this from more of a liberal democratic concern for human equality and the foundations of our society. That being said, those foundations are not utterly secular, and my understanding of them is not utterly secular. I think that to believe in human equality you do have to have some sense of a transcendent standard by which to make that judgment. In other words, when we talk about equality, what do we mean? Equal in relation to what?

Track Title: Sancte Dei

Artist: Benedictine Monks of St. Michael's

Album: Gregorian Chants: The Best of the Benedictine Monks of St. Michael's

Things I’m now obsessed with: Gregorian Chant. Sorry about it.

They didn’t tell me: blog on motherhood, the first.


They told me I’d be tired—that I’d be really tired. What they didn’t tell me was that “tired” would not describe how I felt during the first few weeks with you around. I really haven’t experienced much sleep deprivation in my life, aside from the odd sugar-fueled high-school youth group lock-in, or the occasional all-nighter for some project or deadline or other. Sleep deprivation at those levels is ugly, but manageable, and easily fixed by a nap and a couple of nights’ full rest.  

So yes, they told me I’d be tired. But what they didn’t—and couldn’t—tell me was that I would experience the sort of exhaustion that manifests itself in near hallucinations—the sort of exhaustion that overrides most normal human daily needs, like using the bathroom or eating; that you would be tongue-tied, and spend the first weeks of your life nursing for up to three hours at a time, desperately trying to get enough food; that I would wonder if it was normal, if there was something wrong with me; and that I would stumble about for a few weeks in a fog as thick as gravy. They didn’t tell me that naps would be both as alluring and as elusive as a white tiger.

They told me I’d have my hands full. What I didn’t know is that you would be the kind of little one that would persistently refuse to be put down—ever, day or night. You would scream in the car seat, the bouncy seat, and the bassinet, the ring sling, and all other baby carriers—and you would only sleep if I held you, or laid you so close beside me that I could feel your tiny breaths on my collarbone. I didn’t know that, for a full month and a half, I would not have a hand free to type an email or make myself a meal or fold a stick of laundry unless I was willing to lay you down and listen to you scream yourself hoarse. I didn’t know that I would get good—creepily good—at picking up things with my toes; that I’d learn to wash one hand at a time and to do my hair and makeup in the car every single day because I couldn’t get to it before we left the house. 

So yes, they told me I would have my hands full. But I couldn’t possibly have understood what it would really mean until you came hurtling out of me after 21 hours of labor and into my arms; not until, during our full stay in the hospital, you never slept in the bassinet beside me, not once—you insisted that I hold you all night long, and the nurses insisted that I not sleep while holding you due to liabilities and safety. They didn’t tell me that after a 21 hour labor on 1.5 hours sleep, I would only get 5 hours of sleep spread out over two nights in the hospital; that I would spend most of the nights following your birth staring down at you, mystified as to why I couldn’t put you down while you were sleeping, and being poked and prodded by nurses to stay awake. 

They told me I’d be emotional. What I couldn’t have possibly anticipated was the specific cocktail of emotions I felt when we brought you home from the hospital, and all I wanted was to run away, far away, because I was so overwhelmed at the prospect of taking care of you, and so thoroughly, mind-numbingly fatigued already. I thought to myself that it was impossible, and I was incapable of caring for this clawing, clutching, tiny creature who had my uncle’s widow’s peak, my husband’s eyes, my family’s olive skin…

So yes, they told me I would be emotional. But there was no way I could have known how deep the feelings of inadequacy and fear would run, and how immediately so—that I would look longingly at the car and wish I could get in it and drive away, and realize that I couldn’t. I felt immeasurably guilty for feeling trapped and overwhelmed by somebody so tiny and helpless and beautiful. I felt ashamed that I didn’t feel bonded and connected to you instantly. How could I have known that I would not know how to articulate those feelings to anyone, even my husband? I spent so many silent hours during those first few weeks looking down at you and wondering how I was ever, ever going to do it—how I was ever going to be your mama, when all I felt like was a frightened little girl.

But there were a few more important things they couldn’t prepare me for; they didn’t tell me about the gut-wrenching need I would develop to care for YOUR every little need; the unutterable joys of experiencing your first real smiles, and what a shot in the arm they would be on days when I could barely scrape together matching clothes for myself; the indescribable sweetness of your tiny fingers against my skin as you nestle and feed in the wee small hours; that I would be deeply gripped by a love for you which no words could ever reach; that you would burrow down into the depths of my heart, never to be removed, come hell or high water. I love you with a fire and a fierceness hitherto unknown to me.

I would fight a lion to protect you; I would wrestle any serpent, slay any dragon, battle any dark and dastardly force to keep you. Love is not an adequate word for this, but it is all I have. I love, I love, I love you.

So no, they didn’t tell me. They couldn’t; I just had to see for myself.
"Now the years are rolling by me
They are rockin’ evenly
I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be; that’s not unusual.
No it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same"
The Boxer,
Simon & Garfunkel
"Nothing so important as an ethic is ever written…. It evolves in the minds of a thinking community."
humansofnewyork:"What was the saddest moment of your life?""When my mother died.""What was your mother’s best quality?""How do you say in English— she always flew straight. Sometimes it makes your life much easier to go a little to the left, or a little to the right. She was a Catholic in communist Poland and it was not good to be a Catholic during that time. Especially because she was a teacher. It was very difficult for her, to be a Catholic and raise three children. It would have been much easier for her to join the Communist Party. But she never did.”


"What was the saddest moment of your life?"
"When my mother died."
"What was your mother’s best quality?"
"How do you say in English— she always flew straight. Sometimes it makes your life much easier to go a little to the left, or a little to the right. She was a Catholic in communist Poland and it was not good to be a Catholic during that time. Especially because she was a teacher. It was very difficult for her, to be a Catholic and raise three children. It would have been much easier for her to join the Communist Party. But she never did.”

"He wasn’t alone.
His muscles grew into the flesh of the crowd, energy their pulse,
As long as they held a hammer, as long as his feet felt the ground.
And a stone smashed his temples and cut through his heart’s chamber.
They took his body and walked in a silent line
Toil still lingered about him, a sense of wrong.
They wore gray blouses, boots ankle-deep in mud.
In this, they showed the end.
How violently his time halted: the pointers on the low voltage dials jerked, then dropped to zero again.
White stone now within him, eating into his being,taking over enough of him to turn him into stone.
Who will lift up that stone, unfurl his thoughts again under the cracked temples?
So plaster cracks on the wall.
They laid him down, his back on a sheet of gravel.
His wife came, worn out with worry; his son returned from school
Should his anger now flow into the anger of others?
It was maturing in him through his own truth and love
Should he be used by those who came after,deprived of substance, unique and deeply his own?
The stones on the move again; a wagon bruising the flowers.
Again the electric current cuts deep into the walls.
But the man has taken with him the world’s inner structure,where the greater the anger, the higher the explosion of love."
The Quarry,
Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)