Monday, August 20, 2007

Idaho!

I spent last week visiting friends in Idaho (yes, Idaho!). Good time! They just gave birth to their eighth (yes, eighth!) child. As if caring for little Dominic and the other seven beauties isn’t enough, they are currently remodeling their home. Their current living quarters are in their friend’s guest house which includes a living room, bedroom, and bathroom. A bit tight, to say the least! Before you begin to worry (as I’m sure you were about to) about Fr Greg’s “space” during vacation, my friends hooked me up with a nearby hotel room. As my good friend, Fr Wells, used to jokingly say, “NTGFF” (Nothing’s Too Good For Father!).

My friends get strange looks and comments from people regularly about having so many kids. They are certainly used to it all by now, and don’t let that bother them to the point that they would be less open to life. They truly love each and every one of their eight kids as if each one was their only one. I was constantly studying the kids to see if any of them felt left out or loved less than the others; I saw no such evidence. In fact, each one of them displays a great confidence because they know they are loved by their parents and siblings.

The most striking moment of my trip occurred about mid-week. We were all gathered in their (temporary) living room, getting set to go out for the night. The mother was caring for little Dominic in her usual fashion. She was holding him in her arms and kissing him. Then, she spent the next few minutes caressing his nose and face with her nose in a very warm and intimate way. She whispered several times, “I love you”, to this baby who was just a few weeks out of her womb. While she probably didn’t think anything of it because this was her usual motherly care, it really struck me as a profound expression of deep love. And, this was her 8th child! She wasn’t showing any signs of being burned out from having so many kids; in fact, it was the opposite. She and her husband love this child (and each of their children) as if he is their only child.

On a lighter note, I went to my first Rodeo! Rodeo is very big in Idaho, apparently. The event we went to was in the next town over and in a stadium that seemed about the same size of our high school football fields. But, they had world-class riders of bulls and horses there wooing the crowd the whole night. I did my part, giving “woo-hoo!” after woo-hoo after each impressive feat. But, rodeo is one sport which I don’t think I will ever take part in! I’ll leave it to the cowboys and cowgirls.

On another note but still speaking of hotel rooms, Anonymous has asked, ”is it ok to share a hotel room with a member of the opposite sex, in separate beds, when you know you will not engage in sexual relations?” I will assume you are referring to people who are not family members or married. Firstly, the situation you describe would be considered an occasion of sin. Occasions of sin have been described as “external circumstances…which… incite or entice one to sin” (Catholic Encyclopedia). Secondly and related to the first reason, I would think it would be a sin against the virtue of prudence for members of opposite sexes to share a bedroom. We are all weak creatures who are prone to give into temptation, especially those involving our sexual desires (our strongest desire). I would express caution to the person who says he knows that he will not give into temptation, and remind him what Jesus says: “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.

12 Comments:

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lost all interest and motivation for going to Mass. It actually seems disrespectful to sit there even though I hate being there. So I don't go. I cannot believe that skipping Mass under these circumstances is a sin. Sin requires that you know the act or omission is wrong. Sometimes can't it be wrong to to partake of a sacrament disingenuously?

 
At 1:03 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

I appreciated the observation of “motherly love” shown to this 8th child. Love expands beyond what I would have thought possible before having what most would consider a good number of children. So I understand a bit, that some may question if it is possible to give your “all” to so many kids. It is. But I think of “all” in a different way than some might. It’s not about the clothes, toys, private schools or any of those things, but comes in the form of what FG witnessed- wonder, amazement, appreciation and love for each of the little souls entrusted to our care. My first glance at each of my children absolutely took my breath away, and that experience didn’t diminish with each new addition to our family.

When I was pregnant with my last child, a nurse at my doctor’s office routinely asked me if “this” was getting old yet. It never got old; it was always exciting. In fact, I was at the beach with my kids this past week, and we hit another milestone with my youngest- the little boats at Rehobeth Beach boardwalk. Each of my kids have gone on that ride in that crowded little space, and it was as cute last week as it was 18 years ago when my eldest rang the little boat’s bell. It doesn’t get old. Actually, because, from experience, I have the expectation of all great things that will come to and with each child and an appreciation for how quickly it all goes by, I look at my experiences with them with wonder that all “this” has been given to me. It’s more than I deserve.

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anon above-

I'll speak to you as I do my children (no disrepect intended), as we, my children and I, often have this discussion. Going to Mass is a requirement for one who is Catholic. It has nothing to do with your feelings and opinions. It is about a committment that you make to God to respect and honor what he calls you to do (at a bare minimum).

If you, anon, feel disingenuous in the receipt of the sacrament(s), perhaps you should refrain from receiving until you clean those issues up in confession.

Mass is a great opportunity to receive God's grace, but if you are unwilling for whatever reason to be open to that, then I will pray for you that you will change your come from.

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does disingenuously mean?

 
At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Markov said...

Anon,

May I ask you why you have lost all interest and motivation for going to Mass?

 
At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mindy,

For the last few years my husband and I with his brother's family have been going to the beach. I have always loved the beach but to be there with small children is an added joy! Do your little ones try the same thing as my nephews do? Try to run into the ocean without any hesitation? Their excitement is a thing to see!

Ignore the people that make rude comments. My father came from a large family (10 kids!) and it is so much fun to visit them all and be part of their lives. We have been there for each other through the good and bad times and I feel "so blessed" to be part of this family.

 
At 10:21 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

To anon from 8:33-
Ten (10)- that even gives me pause, mostly because I'm not quite sure how a body does that. I have six kids and while pregnant with the last, I had a whole new appreciation for gravity. When I was growing up, it was basically just me and my mom, but I'd stay at the beach in the summers with my cousins. I liked the activity in a big family and have great memories of those times, and I guess I’m reliving some of them.

Fortunately, my younger kids have a little fear of the ocean. This trip, however, my youngest discovered sea gulls and decided it was great fun to give them chase down the beach, and she's a speedy little thing. Catching her while still keeping an eye on my swimmers and castle-makers was challenging. It was a great time, but I am glad to be back on home turf.

My grandmother used to say that children were the salt in life. It's not that life would necessarily be bland without it, but “salt” enhances all the flavors (sea gulls and all).

 
At 12:35 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

The hotel room story reminded me of an experience I had-

When I was in high school, I spent a summer in Belgium. The family I stayed with had a daughter 2 years older but significantly more mature than I was. She was 18 and was dating a man almost 30 at the time. Her parents were fine with that, and the culture there was pretty relaxed regarding those kinds of things. One weekend, she and her boyfriend invited me to come along on a weekend trip to Amsterdam. I was excited about seeing the city and didn’t think too much about any of the logistics, figuring we’d work out the sleeping details later- no big deal. Well, about two hours into the ride, we picked-up a 4th passenger- one of the boyfriend’s friends, another guy about 30. I then began thinking about the sleeping arrangements! We checked into the hotel, and this friend put his bag in MY room. I was so young, totally immature, and in a complete panic. After they all went down to the bar, I hysterically called my mom from my room, telling her that I was in Holland and they were trying to make me sleep with a fat, old bald man. She calmed me down, and told me to quietly explain my feelings to the girl, which I did. She didn’t understand my apprehension, for there were two beds in the room but went along with the room change anyway, and my mom got on the next flight to Brussels.

Maybe it all would have been okay, but why open the door to the possibility of anything else?

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger Daisy said...

I love big families, especially big Catholic families. Given that the parents are practicing Catholics, I think that having many more children could mean having many more practicing Catholics, who can help spread the faith. That's beautiful.

 
At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto Daisy!

(I am not the first anon.)

On another note, I haven't gone to Mass for a while and know I need to go to confession. I know I am going to feel ashamed telling the priest I didn't go because I was too lazy to get up in the morning or I just didn't feel like going which is weird because once I am there I really enjoy Mass. I guess the problem lies in me going from point one to point two.

I'm not a kid or anything I should have mature responsibility of going every week. Maybe I should just not recieve the Eucharist but then I am missing out on a very important sacrament. I just feel that when you go to confession its like saying that you are a "loser" or something. I don't know why I am making such a big deal about this. I guess I just get very nervous going to confession and I don't know why because I have "always" had good experiences in confession.

Catholic girl

 
At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mindy,

My little niece loves "Veggie Tales". Did your kids enjoy these movies?

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Daisy said...

For the last few months I've been attending daily mass in addition to Sunday mass at Saint Andrews. I kept attending mass because my schedule allowed me to do so, and I knew it wouldn't hurt. After a few days it became part of my daily routine, and I felt good about doing it. Now, that I'm attending Ross University School of Medicine in the Caribbean, I really miss being able to go to daily mass because there isn't a Catholic church in walking distance to my apartment or campus. I only have the opportunity to attend Sunday mass on campus. Now that I have realized that not everybody has the opportunity to attend daily mass—or even Sunday mass for that matter, I understand how precious that opportunity is. I can't wait until I come back to Saint Andrews in a few months to attend daily mass again.

 

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