When Chiara’s birthday rolled around this year, she opted for pie rather than cake for her party dessert. Initially I thought, pie?!? I’m not a huge pie fan, and, as my sister-in-law and I have discussed, you’re either a pie person or you’re not. Well, if you’re not a pie person, this pie will make a believer out of you. Because it’s not “real” pie; it’s mud pie. (more…)
Last week, for the second time in a month, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I’ve taken brief sabbaticals from social media before, but closing my account, even briefly, made it feel more drastic, and I wanted and needed drastic.
My most most recent break lasted about one week. Mainly I wanted to get away from the habit of Facebook, but I have to admit that it went deeper than that. I was doing some soul searching, and I really started to ask myself, “Who cares if you made a delicious farro salad last night? Who cares what your kids did this weekend? Who cares about your crazy work deadlines?” I started to believe that perhaps Facebook is nothing more than a modern-day version of navel-gazing at best, narcissism gone mad at worst. And so I deactivated, hoping to discover that Facebook was totally unnecessary, even for those of us who kind of need it for promoting books, posting blogs, and spreading the Good News.
The first day went by without much fanfare. Although I’d occasionally walk over to my computer, thinking I’d pop in to see what everyone was up to, I didn’t really miss it. In fact, it was a welcome break. But issues began to mount pretty quickly after that. I couldn’t even update or access my own author page because you need a personal page to get to it. Dennis had to post my blog entries for me. Oh the tangled webs we weave. Within a couple of days, it became apparent that this sabbatical was going to be more difficult than previously expected and possibly detrimental to my real-life friendships.
One friend’s mother died. Another friend’s sister was suddenly faced with life-threatening illness. Another friend asked for prayers for a little girl on our prayer list because she was in a fight for her life. I knew about these prayer needs only because Dennis was getting them through his own page and was forwarding the really important stuff to me via email. Suddenly I started to realize that Facebook has become a significant part of my spiritual life. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. I don’t even know how many other prayer requests (not to mention delicious recipes, inspiring quotes, and funny clips) I might have missed while I was away.
I also began to miss my distant friends, people I love but only get to “visit” and see through Facebook. Without my news feed, I had no idea what they were doing or if they needed anything or if they had any wonderful news to share. I couldn’t even email some friends and neighbors because my only access to them is through social media. Maybe that says more about my contact organization system than it does about Facebook, but, either way, I need this outlet to connect, especially since I’m already so isolated in my home office.
And so I reactivated, tentatively at first, posting only birthday wishes for my baby because who could argue with that. I still haven’t decided what I want Facebook to be in my life or how much time it deserves, but there’s no denying that it has its place, and an important one at that. So if I missed your birthday or some other important life event, please know I wasn’t ignoring you; I was just deactivated, and I missed you all.
Seven years ago today my beautiful and brave Chiara Elizabeth was born. Seven. Where did the time go? Seven years ago at this time I was waiting for my castor oil cocktail to kick in so I could bring on my extremely overdue delivery without being induced via IV. Called my midwife, told her what I did and to expect me later that day. Right around noon labor kicked in, right on schedule. At just about 7:30 p.m, Chiara entered the world, and what joy she has brought to our family ever since.
I’ve written a lot about the benefits of being an older mom — I was just about 43 when Chiara was born — because every day I am the one who continues to learn new lessons from this fearless little being. Just a few weeks ago Chiara’s absolute courage at the top of the Shotgun Falls at a Wildwood water park inspired me to go down on the chute next to her. Two days ago she insisted on going off the diving boards at the town pool, something I have yet to do. Although I am often hesitant to let her do things out of my own fear, she will have none of that.
Her enthusiasm and sensitivity, her courage and kindness teach me on a daily basis how to be a better person. Happy birthday, baby. I love you, and I’m so glad I decided to forget my old age and become a mom one more time.
Here’s a snapshot view of Chiara’s life:
My July Life Lines column, now running in Catholic New York:
I’m not really a fan of the popular GPS navigation systems designed to get you from Point A to Point B with no advance planning. I just don’t trust the technology. Give me “Mapquest,” with its printable directions, or, even better, a good old-fashioned road map. Remember those?
Dennis bought a portable GPS for our van a few months back. The first time I had to travel out of state, he loaded it up with my destination coordinates and told me I had nothing to worry about. Since I always have something to worry about, I went on the computer and printed out directions, studying them before I left home so I would know if our GPS, whom we affectionately refer to as Katniss in honor of the Hunger Games heroine, decided to lead me astray. Every time Katniss would bark out a command, I’d run through my mental directions to ensure we agreed on the route. I was prepared, at a moment’s notice, to go my own way. (more…)
This moth makes me think of that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. Imagine how fearless this little moth must be to land on the hand of a giant human. Anything could have happened. But there he is.
What would you do if you were fearless? Where would you land? Do one thing today that scares you. It doesn’t have to be as big as stepping out into some totally unknown and possibly dangerous place. Start small. But start.