Mother's Grace Blog

On being present-

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On Being Present- 6-2016

On a magical trip to Spain this summer I was inspired to put down my phone and computer and enjoy all moments God had to offer. I should be honest my internet connection was spotty through the countryside of Spain. However, everywhere I had the pleasure of visiting, I was taken aback by the Spanish way of life to thoroughly enjoy a meal, delve into conversation, linger over great food, wine and lively company. I was blissfully unaware of my electronic devices and felt more alive, in the moment and truly engaged with my fellow travelers.
Human connection, something we all crave is the thing I feel slipping away in our culture.
I have always insisted that my children not bring their phones to the table or out to restaurants but more as an etiquette thing vs. a real motive of connection.

Last Sunday I went to mass out of town and was hanging on to my new found feeling of peace and in the moment experience. I noticed a young boy in a wheel chair highly impaired on a ventilator and immobile. When we see these things we often feel sympathy and perhaps fear as we consider how we may react in the same situation with our own children. This time instead of focusing on the plight of the young boy…I noticed his Father. I hesitate to use the word “Dad” in this illustration as this man really spoke “Father” to me. First on a hot day he was dressed in a suit for mass…(relatively unheard of today). The only way to describe the Father of this boy was “at one” with his son and the mass simultaneously. He sang the hymns to his son while stroking his head, he kneeled on the hard concrete aisle next to son during times of prayer, and responded to the readings while looking at his son and praying at the same time. The look of love was etched in his face but the way he carried himself was all at once a living prayer and testament to human connection. Not once did he pull out a phone to check the time, nor look around in boredom he just was completely present in the moment and was living it with his precious boy.
I was mesmerized by his devotion and my words will not give the moment its true beauty. The Father was calm in the midst of heavy medical equipment, poised in God’s house, and purely peaceful.

By contrast today as I sit in the airport I am at the end of a long table having some tea. On the other side of the table there is a Father and his two young children. The children (boy/girl preteens) are bubbling with excitement for their trip to California with Dad. I spoke to the boy and he was extremely animated and polite…wanting to share his excitement with someone…Dad was very busy on his phone and pushing away attempts at conversation. I struck up a conversation with the young boy (not usually like me as I am in a hurry in airports with little patience for conversation) I left the table feeling so connected to the little boy’s excitement and as I walked out of the restaurant he turned around and walked to the aisle to wave at me and said “have fun”..
His eyes followed me all the way to the gate with a smile on his face almost thankful that someone was there to acknowledge his excitement and almost curious as to why….
Weird but I felt a connection a virtual stranger after a 5 minute conversation and the smile he had from just sharing with me …will last all day for me.

Giving of our selves does not have to mean giving too much…and stressing our selves out with outward strains on our time…it can simply mean being present like the Father who was “with” his son at mass, like having a “real” conversation during a meal,
this type of giving is not taxing, tiring or resentful it is nourishing, and filled with love for both parties. I left the airport restaurant with a smile and thought of the FATHER at mass
What a metaphor for God’s love that I witnessed in the Father and son that day!

Posted in Blog on July 1st, 2016.

Breathing and Snuggling!

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Today I woke early as I usually do and hopped right on my computer. My youngest son (12) jumped into bed with me and said, “mom are you working”? “yes, but what do you need?” “I just want to snuggle but I don’t want to bother you”!

Normally  I would say;  “just snuggle up”,  and I would keep working ..however today something told me to shut the window blinds, turn off the computer, and snuggle up. There is something about clasping your child’s warm hand and not feeling where his hand starts and yours finishes and touching soft toes with your tired and worn out toes. The smell, “even dirty 12 year old boy smell” somehow smells sweet and beautiful. As I prepare to let go of my 18 year old as he readies himself for college I am trying to remember to grasp hold of my 12 year old who in many ways is still a baby. I highly suggest snuggling up..turning off everything and breathing..we practice deep diaphragmatic breathing and letting every thought go, every ounce of muscle tension, each worry for the upcoming day and invite the Holy Spirit in and just feel the sheer love and joy that fills up every cell.  I promise you wont be able to tell where you start and your child ends..We are one through grace-

I am always feeling like I need to write something profound and worthy but today I felt compelled to write just the above ..take 10 minutes out of today and breathe and snuggle simply won’t regret it!

Michelle – Mother’s Grace

Posted in Blog on February 28th, 2016.

It all starts with Mom!

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I am at a conference in Maui as I write this. Yesterday I was invited in to see a new piece of equipment in action (an up and coming digital ultrasound). It was me, the OBGYN, an expectant Mom who I met 30 mins prior, her 2 year old son, and her Dad, who is an ER Doc on the Island. It was a very intimate and private moment as they looked at the baby on the screen and each of the delicate body parts, from the spine to the toes…. all looked good. This couple also found out that they were expecting a daughter and cried tears of joy. I had to step away at this point as I felt I was intruding on a very special family moment.

This took me back to my own ultrasounds for my 3 boys and the sheer gratitude  I felt when I could see their hearts beating and  had some reassurances that all was well. As mothers is there any more significant moment than when we deliver a healthy baby and the future seems bright with many memories to make?

Last week a Mom was nominated to Mother’s Grace, her name is Chrissy. Chrissy is a young mom of a 12 year old and is 4 months pregnant as well…! On the day her pregnancy was confirmed  she also found out she has stage 4 breast cancer.  She is now on treatment (chemo light) while pregnant and dealing with the side effects but also the emotional roller coaster of hormones and the knowledge that she most likely won’t live to see her baby grow up.

I thought of the dichotomy between these two moms..both pregnant, both young professionals with another child at home and loving families. One is getting ready to design a nursery and the other is making tapes of her voice reading books so her child will have her story telling on tape.

Most of us feel so awful when we hear this story ..what can we do?

I asked her what would help most and she said “ less stress”. Instead of planning her nursery she is worrying over her children’s future and the cost of raising them with one parent.

Mother’s Grace will focus on making Chrissy’s life less stressful while she go’s through this ordeal.

Help with unexpected bills so she can focus on health (most young parents have not saved a lot of extra money in their early 30’s in order to deal with a terminal illness that may go on for 2 years.

-Help make her time special with support in activities she wants to do with her children

-Work with partners to make sure the family has all tapped resources such as respite care, meals, housecleaning, etc

-Prayers for healing..

We all know that there is a lot of funding being driven towards research and thank goodness for that!  But, lets  remember to concentrate on those with the illness as well. (The real people in these scenarios)…Most all that are going through such devastating circumstance are hit very hard financially, if we can do anything to make end of life less stressful isn’t that what should be doing? Opening our arms to all suffering..and during a week where everyone is brought together by the events in France, I hope we will all reach out to our neighbor and do one thing that eases the burden and shares a little unconditional support! It could be anyone of us at anytime and our days are truly “full” when we help another!

Moms are the backbone of the family!

Posted in Blog on November 18th, 2015.