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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Catholic Dude experiences single fatherhood...

You may be wondering where I went.  Perhaps you assumed I ran out of steam with my Bible and Catechism in a year quest.  Maybe you thought I was another one of those bloggers who goes strong for a month and then falls off the face of the earth.  Or maybe you didn't even notice I'd gone.  It's ok, whatever it was, I forgive you.

For the record, I was off blog for three reasons.

Firstly, during the time I usually use to blog, I was trying to get ahead of my work a little bit in anticipation of taking some time off from work, and by evening I was assisting my beautiful wife with the creation of some Halloween costumes for our children.

Secondly, that beautiful wife of mine was on a business trip out of the country for 8 days.

Thirdly, after she returned (and I returned to work), the time I usually use to blog was used to catch up on work.  Hence, one full month away from the blogosphere...

"Wait a minute!" you ask.  "Isn't your wife a stay at home mom?" 

Yes.  Yes she is.  And for those of you who know what stay-at-home moms do, you know she has a very demanding job.  I've always known that her job was just as demanding, if not more, than mine.  And so, when she expressed some frustration one day over the frequency of business trips I had to take, and how doing so enabled me to get a break from the kids for a period of time, I suggested that she use some of my frequent flyer miles to take a business trip of her own. 

So, after a good deal of planning, preperation, and some anxiety on all fronts, a car arrived in front of our house at 4:45 AM on a Monday morning to take her to the airport.  The well rehearsed roles were reversed...I was watching her drive away into the darkness and facing a week at home with the kids without my helpmeet while she was heading into the unknown and starting to miss her family by the time she got to the airport.

I had no delusions as to the difficulty of the task I had undertaken.  I had reviewed the kids' schedules multiple times, put together a "to do" list (which included construction of my eldest child's Halloween costume), and even planned a tentative menu for the week.  I was really looking forward to having extra time with the kids, but I knew that this was going to be a busy and tiring week.  I was pretty sure I was prepared for it.

Or was I?

Well, despite the fact that I knew what I was getting into, I still learned a few things.  But this isn't a parenting blog, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail there.  Overall it was a very positive experience and it gave me an even deeper appreciation for what my wife does on a daily basis, especially when I have to travel for work (which I have to do twice this month...)

I look back on the entire experience now and see moments of triumph (finishing the epic costume on time, not missing any of the kids' activities, successfully navigating Halloween, getting my daughter's room completely cleaned, cooking meals most nights, etc.) as well as failures (Losing my temper and acting more like a child than my children on two occasions, not getting everything on my to do list done, not catching up on my blog, not getting adequete sleep, etc.).  But one thing that really sticks out in my post mordem is not finding the time to pray outside of mealtime and just before bed. 

Going into the week, I had planned to gather the kids and pray together every night.  It never happened, though, because I was so focused on the tasks I wanted to complete while I was home from work.  The kids got their homework done, and I got them to their activities to be sure, but once everything was done and we turned to the ritual of getting them to bed, I completely forgot about my resolution and simply looked forward to getting them into bed and out of the way so I could work on MY projects. 

How often do we do this as Christians?  How often do we let our own ambitions come between us and time with our Savior?  I imagine it happens a lot.  It was happening in my life before my wife's trip, and continued to happen after she returned.  But looking back on it now shines a spotlight on it and makes me think more deeply about it. We NEED to set aside time with Jesus outside of Sunday Mass and prayer before meals.  To paraphrase Archbishop Fulton Sheen:  "If you don't have time to spend half an hour in adoration each day, you need to spend an hour..."

Still, it's much easier said than done.  How do I bring family prayer into my house and make it meaningful for everyone?  With a nearly 23 month old hellion running about?  All things are possible in Christ...I'll be looking to Him to guide me...

Now it's time to get back to the scriptures.

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