Baby on a plane
Now that I am back, with no studies to stress about, I can finally turn my attention to my life! The real things of life that I have so missed: making a home, beginning to quilt and sew again, running. Mr. Oram and I frequently talk about how we always seem to have excuses for why we're putting life 'on hold', endless reasons why we don't establish routines - we don't have a baby yet, we're pregnant, we have a newborn, we have an infant, we have a baby that's into everything, studying for the Bar, it's the summer, it's football season, it's busy season...we are endlessly creative!
But at some point, we just have to bite the bullet and make the life we want.
Blurry mama and baby picture. We had the middle seat empty - praise God.
It is still mind-boggling to me that in the first year of our marriage, when we were childless, I really seemed to do nothing about the house. I have come to the conclusion that those long months were a sort of delayed depression and near-comatose state wherein I recovered from eight consecutive years of higher education and then the tornado that ate my house.
But still, in retrospect, I wonder - why didn't I paint the walls? Recover furniture? Organize my linen closets? All the many things I'm doing now. I suppose I am nesting in reverse - the older she gets, the more I want to do to make this a beautiful home.
A very enjoyable afternoon at the lake shore, with Zuzu styling in clothes entirely provided by Grand.
I am finding my way. I am so grateful for the guidance of both my peers an the generations before me. My own mother being here this summer was an incredible gift; not only because it was another pair of hands to do everything I couldn't, but also to see how she did it. The sad thing is that I went straight from adolescence (living at home, being cared for, having nothing truly valuable) to being in college (barely taking care of myself) to being a young wife (suddenly having to take care of two people, with many valuable and nice things, none of which I know how to care for). Thankfully, between my mom and Auntie Leila and this really weird but aptly named Project Organize Your Entire Life (POYEL), I might actually have some order in my home...in another year (if I don't get pregnant and we start living in a hotel).
Isn't she just the preppiest? She gives you an insight into my clothing preference, I'm sure.
Beyond house care, self care is also a new learning curve for me. Gone are the days where I had two hours to get ready, when I had a whole closet or room or more to myself and my clutter, when I did not have to worry about nursing accessibility in my clothing! Laura has truly inspired me to be more mindful of my wardrobe. Throughout the summer, I have been weeding out my closet and being more confident in buying nice pieces that will last a long time. It's hard to be honest with what works and what doesn't, but I cannot keep items for sentimental value alone - at least, not so many items!
Auntie Leila again did me a great service by discussing self-care in her aptly titled "How To Take a Shower" (more useful than you'd think). For a very long time, it has been a deeply held belief of mine that I am a long hair person. My hair became part of my personality, I couldn't imagine having short hair (again). I think it has something to do with my insecurity about my weight. But then I cut it and have found, shockingly and suddenly, that I love it. It's not that it's necessarily easier, but that it just seems to work for me more at this point in time.
Visiting Grandma Jean. These moments were very precious to me, since none of my grandparents ever got to meet Susannah.
Over vacation I also read five books, believing it was high time I stopped neglecting my mind by shoving heartless facts into it. I read My Life with the Saints, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life, Corelli's Mandolin: A Novel, Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, and Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home.
The first two books are by a Jesuit priest, Fr. James Martin. I was pleasantly surprised by My Life with the Saints - it was quite moving at times, and a thoughtful gift from my sister-in-law. The Jesuit Guide was, however, a struggle. I am angry at the Jesuits, honestly, for promoting heresy and allowing their house to get so out of order. I associate them with Georgetown and it makes my blood boil.
Brain Rules is a fun read, confirming what most people know: television does in fact rot the brain, those Baby Einstein DVDs are total crap, and being involved emotionally with your children is a really good way to have well-adjusted kids in the long term. Still worth a read though - lots of great stuff in there.
The two greatest gems were by far Real Learning and Corelli's Mandolin (one of Mr. Oram's favorite books that I've been meaning to read since 2009!). Real Learning is about Catholic homeschooling in the Charlotte Mason style - it combines how-to with an exhortation about why-to. It was glorious; Elizabeth Foss is one of the few bloggers today that can be realistic and idealistic, which is a highly motivating combo for me. I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend the book. Corelli's Mandolin...what can I say about this book. The vocabulary quite surprised me - I needed a dictionary to accompany it! The humor was delightful - but the story. The story slayed me. I have not read fiction that good is so long, my heart wanted to burst. It gave me that 'queer ache' that Anne talks about...it reminded me why I love reading.
If you have the chance, read that book. It will also explain to you why communism it total crap, incidentally.
Being silly at a baseball game
But now I'm home and Zuzu is sick (again). She got sick on vacation, got better, and is now sick again. We had a long night last night. Would you say a few prayers for her?
So glad to be back - I've missed y'all!