Santa, Could You Fit That Living Room Set in My Stocking?

So, David and I feel that it’s our responsibility as parents to try to raise our girls with faith and some solid core values.  We thought we were doing a decent enough job for this stage in the child-rearing game:  taking SK to mass, saying Grace before meals and prayers before bed, discussing some basics of God and Jesus, etc. here and there.  We thought, okay, we’re on the right track.  We’re raising these girls the way we should. But if our little foray into holiday preparations is telling me anything, we’re failing miserably.  Two little scenarios have occurred recently to make me think that we need to up the ante on the whole reason-for-the-Christmas-season conversations with our dear Saoirse.  The first clue was when, last week, Saoirse and I were eating lunch while paging through a new holiday catalog that had arrived that day.  At one point, Saoirse gestured at the catalog and asked me if “Santa Claus lives in there.”  Whoo, boy, I thought.  Thaaat’s not good.  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  And he lives in Pottery Barn Kids…

How Pumpkin Pie Makes Me Miss My Dad

Today was the third Thanksgiving we’ve had without my father.  Pancreatic cancer took him from us about two and a half years ago, and even though we’ve celebrated–celebrated?–a significant number of holidays without him now, they each pass the same exact way.  We go through the motions of greeting relatives we haven’t seen in a few months, commenting on how much the kids have grown, trying to grab something to eat while keeping account of one child and feeding another, laughing and drinking and thankful that our daughters have so many cousins who love them.  But the whole time, it feels like I’m choking down a lump in my throat.  Like when I was a kid and about to barf, and I felt like I could keep it down if I just sort of closed my throat.  I ignore the feeling, and it sort of passes, sort of, until I can shove it so far away it’s simply hovering over my shoulder like a ghost.  But inevitably, later that evening, on the ride home in the dark car, or in a silent bedroom as I try…

Organized Chaos

Earlier this afternoon, as that magical silence known as Both Kids Napping at the Same Time fell over the house, I stood shock-still in the middle of my living room, wondering what I should do next.  I thought about my three-foot-long to-do list and took a long look around me at the debris left over from Hurricane Children.  I stood a little while longer, then turned on my heel and made a run for our bed.  I pulled those cool sheets over my head like I was trying to block out the noise of all the responsibilities hollering at me to pay attention to them.  I just didn’t want to deal with them.  I couldn’t face the laundry baskets full of folded clothes that needed to be put away.  Didn’t really want to investigate if that vague smell of pee I noticed in the family room was of child or animal origin.  And I was cowed by the balls of dog hair that were starting to drift across our hardwood floors like tumbleweeds in an old western movie.  If I were a child, I’d have thrown myself on…