We did it! We made it to 36 weeks. The Pumpkin is growing larger (and larger, and larger...) with every passing moment. In truth, I'm starting to feel a little nervous about just how big this baby might get! At any rate, we can now take each day as it comes, and whatever day this baby decides it's birthday should be will just be.
Chris came on Friday morning and gave me the green light to (as she phrased it) "get up and jump around" if I wanted to--which I do, but let's face it: that's not likely to happen at this point! My Darling joked that he would bring the little trampoline into the living room. At least I think he was joking!
Since I had the approval of my ever-wise midwife, I went with my family to Mass on First Friday. Afterward, we went to the home of some very dear friends for supper, along with two other families and Fr. E. and Fr. B. (who is our chaplain this year, since Fr. E.'s new duties keep him so busy he can scarcely find the time to breathe, for Pete's sake!). What a perfectly lovely time we had, with a big, delicious meal graciously spread before us by equally gracious hosts, several rounds of cards for the men, satiating conversation for the ladies, and general merriment for the (19!) kids. Just to be in the mix of it all was such a tremendous blessing, I can barely express my gratitude.
Thanks be to God!
Yesterday morning, My Darling took me and the Monkey along with him on some errands. Since it was my first time out in nearly a month, there were a few things which had long been on my priority list that I had hoped he would have time to pick up.
Ah-ha: the key word here is my priority list.
We stopped and picked up some odds and ends, along with a package of teeny tiny diapers for the Pumpkin, and The First Outfit. I'm not always so picky about what my children wear--modesty is always a priority, of course, but hand-me-downs are the standard rule of play. That First Outfit, though, has to be just the right thing. I like to have something new, purchased specifically for each baby. I've saved them, of course, with the intention of passing them down so that if they are blessed by children and choose to use their First Outfit for their babies, they can. I've been looking and looking online to see what's out there, but it's never the same as going and looking through the racks and touching the fabrics and imagining my sweet baby's face and hands appearing, dressed in whatever my heart settles on.
I finally saw something that was just right--a set of three cotton sleepers, with matching t-shirts, gowns, receiving blankets and hats. I have enough to put together an outfit suitable for either boy or girl, and now I finally feel like everything is in place, and the Little Pumpkin can make a grand entrance any time.
You hear that in there, Little Pumpkin? Any time. Any old time would be just spiffy.
I know that patience will be well rewarded, but it's a virtue I've never been blessed with.
Especially now that I waddle rather like a penguin.
Mass this morning was overwhelming in its beauty. My perspective was of one who's been deprived nearly of the very air, finally able to gulp in all I wanted all at once.
In addition, My Darling and I had listened to a presentation by Steve Ray while we were out and about yesterday morning. In talking about the history of written scripture and how unavailable it was to early Christians, he explained how people would memorize what they heard at Mass--the Scripture readings, especially. They had to; they didn't have Bibles unless they were the absolute upper-crust of wealthy, and even if they could afford them, there was a pretty high likelihood that they couldn't read anyway. (Bibles in churches were chained to the pulpit not to keep them out of the hands of the common people (who couldn't read them anyway--but could sell them if they chose to), but because they were so incredibly valuable that the Church wanted to keep them in a place where they were accessible to be read to all of the people. Their worth was about three years' wages for the average laborer at the time.) He said, "They memorized them as if it was the last time they would ever hear them. Can you imagine how differently you would view the Mass if you thought each time that it would be the last time you'd hear those words?"
Well that's a great thing to say to a hormonal woman who's prone to emotional outpourings anyway! (Yes, I sit on the throne as Queen of the Weepy People...and I hold court several times a day...) So while I was at Mass today with my family, this thought kept running through my head..."What if this truly was the last time I could go to Mass?" Not even in the sense that you never know what tomorrow will bring, just what if it was the last time? What if I had to live out the rest of my days without the beauty of the Mass? Without receiving Jesus sacramentally? Without hearing the Word of God in nearly every single spoken word that is part of the liturgy? Shouldn't I be absorbing every single word, every action, every prayer--every single time--as though that truly was the case??
Remember that air I was suddenly able to gulp?
I've cried at Mass before, but not with the sheer wonder in my soul at what a miracle it is that I can walk into any Catholic church any time I want and attend Holy Mass. People around the world die for this. Their sacrifice for the Mass is so inspiring that it has pushed me to feel even more deeply appreciative of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
I think Pumpkin sensed the intensity of Mama's emotion. While Mass is usually a rather active time of day for my sweet babe, things were relatively subdued this morning. Oh, everything's absolutely fine--we're rocking and rolling this afternoon--but during Mass, things were very subtle.
I can barely wait to have my beautiful baby in my arms as it is, and now in addition, I am anxious in my heart to have my baby in my arms at Mass. I want to bring this child into the church and allow the sights, sounds and smells to permeate this precious baby's heart and soul the way they do mine. Is there anything more beautiful?
Any time, Little Pumpkin.