Molly Sabourin

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one in a million

Posted by on Oct 31, 2010 in Reflections | 5 comments

 

Growing

 

 "You know something, mom ( and I mean this as a compliment)? Some families feel the need to be so spiff and perfect and…on time. Not us, though! I like that we are different!"

- Priscilla Sabourin

 

 

We had parent teacher conferences last week. I was both surprised and not surprised at all by the feedback I received regarding my three older children's strengths and weaknesses.  I left marveling anew at how unique they are, my sons and daughters.  How could two parents raising four kids in the same house, using the same feeding, disciplining, grooming, scheduling techniques, providing the same amount of affection and encouragement to each, end up with such varying results in the personality department? They are certainly not  mere "Mini-Mes," I was clearly reminded. No, these awesomely incomparable creatures are blooming at radically different rates – are, between them, producing a vibrant bouquet of interests, talents and dispositions.

Tonight, my eight-year-old snuggled up on the couch with me. We'd made a date earlier in the day to spend a few moments reading together after dinner. About a year ago, I'd worked with him vigorously on letter sounds, blending, and sight word recognition. Both Priscilla and Elijah were avid readers by the age of seven, and I was determined to help my third born move past his phonetical hang-ups and "catch-up" with his peers. I tried flash cards, "BOB" books, Starfall (a great reading website that pretty much single-handedly taught Elijah to read when he was six), and worksheets, to no avail. Bless his heart, something just wasn't clicking and he was getting frustrated, and I was getting frustrated. Finally, I had to swallow the fact he simply was not ready… and let go of my own rigid expectations.

Ben's in first grade now; it's a perfect fit. He's taught us to think outside of the box, and that's been really, really good for me. This evening, as we once again, like old times, cracked open a "Dick and Jane" easy reader, I was thrilled to behold a  change in his demeanor, a beaming confidence I hadn't seen in his face or heard in his voice before, as he deftly tackled sentences that would have for sure tripped him up even a month ago. It was fabulous, I tell you, just fabulous to catch a glimpse of that transformation taking place, to observe my son on the brink of a major breakthrough. "If I wake up early enough, can we practice reading a little before breakfast," Benji asked before falling asleep. And who could possibly say no to that?

God, help me to love them where they're at, and grant me the courage to take my focus off the status quo that I might better appreciate my children's resistance to societal norms and generic conformity. Thank you for loving me where I'm at.  Thank you for my crazy amazing family. Thank you  for coffee; apparently, I'm going to be needing it bright and early tomorrow morning.

See Molly yawn.

Go to bed, Molly!  Go to bed!

Good night, and a blessed Monday to you!

 

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Because it doesn’t take much to turn my mood around

Posted by on Oct 29, 2010 in Reflections | 24 comments

It’s fall break around here and yesterday my parents rocked my world by taking all four of my kids, and my two nieces, out for the day and then back to their house for an overnight. Oh what to do, what to do with such a rare chunk of alone time? So as not to overwhelm myself with options (lunch with a friend? work on writing projects? organize the office? catch up on the correspondence I always wish I could better stay on top of?), I  decided to pick one project and see it through to its completion no matter how long it took. I thought about what had been stressing me out  most lately, and how I could best help myself, and my family, without spending money.

And what did I come up with?

Well, if you are not the squeamish type, I double dog dare you to see below:

 

Bee 4 

 

Oh mercy, it hurts to look at it. My laundry situation has been out of control for weeks, perhaps even months, now. Overflowing laundry baskets were jeering at me from bedrooms and bathrooms and from the s-c-a-a-a-r-y basement. ”You’re going down,” I told them, I sneered at them, late Wednesday night, and then I woke up Thursday morning with my game face on.

 

Bee 3 

 

 

“Goodbye, kids!”

 

Bee 1

 

Bee 2 

“Thanks again, mom and dad!!!” 

 

Cue the cheery cleaning music…oh wait, it’s already playing. Then gather the necessary tools:

 

Bee 5 

 

And spend the next eight hours switching laundry loads from the washer to the dryer, de-cluttering the laundry “room” or laundry area, I should say, and FOLDING every sock, shirt, boxer short, nightgown, pair of jeans, towel, and blanket in this house:

 

Bee 6 

What was my reward for all this tedious and unglamorous work?

 

I am giddy just thinking about it:

 

Bee 7 

I keep making excuses to walk  downstairs and gaze all over again at the non-mess. I feel inspired to go on and tidy a drawer, clear off my desk.  I feel revived, not from getting cool new stuff, or being praised, but simply from doing the best I could with what I’ve got - from finding beauty in even my damp and dingy basement, bee style.

 

Enjoy your weekend, my friends, and keep your sights on what is sweet and redemptive and good!

All my love to you!

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learning as we speak

Posted by on Oct 27, 2010 in Reflections | 6 comments

Peace 
 
 … and a thousand souls around you will be saved.

- St. Seraphim of Sarov

 

Making Peace

by Denise Levertov

 A voice from the dark called out,
"The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war."

 But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can't be imagined before it is made,
can't be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.

 A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light–facets
of the forming crystal.

 

On this particular Poetry Wednesday, the story heaviest on my mind is not mine to tell, thus I must talk in generalities. And that's just what makes this poem, this brilliant piece of writing, so applicable to my current situation. See, thus far I've worked primarily on learning to accept my own lot within any given stage of parenthood. That was hard enough, I tell you, but nothing in comparison, I have discovered, with attempting to "make peace" with the trying circumstances plaguing my growing, and "newly awakened to the oft cruel unfairness of life" child.   I wasn't prepared for this part,  in which my role as a mother would shift from "fixer" to "hands-tied listener."  I didn't expect my savage maternal instincts to take over so, overshadowing with their biased fierceness my eternal mindset.

 I've had to re-visit these last couple of days St. Seraphim's quote about souls being saved via our acquirement of peace. Due precisely to the  intensity of my affections, it is vitally important I maintain at home, via my thoughts, words and deeds, my firm conviction that God's will governs all. Those kids can smell fear, doubt, hypocrisy a mile away. When I pray with them, "into your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, I commend our spirits and our bodies," only to turn around and resent their exposure to the very trials necessary for their  salvation, I risk confusing them.  When faced with brick walls, closed doors – a Divine reply of, "no," how do I, really, hope they'll learn to consistently respond? By wasting hours, days, years on bitterness, on searching desperately for loopholes?

Well, of course not.  

 A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .

I'm beginning here, with this poem, with this time set aside to reflect, to pause and question (yet again) my "need" for a painless existence for my children, trusting the restructuring of my priorties will  bless them and ultimately, maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but eventually, help to instill within them patience and an all-consuming faith in God's goodness and wisdom.

POETRY WEDNESDAY

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A Recipe for Exhaustion

Posted by on Oct 25, 2010 in Reflections | 3 comments

 

Sift together five nights in a row of six hours of sleep or less with a steady diet of sugar and caffeine.

In a separate bowl, combine three big school projects, one school birthday party, and ushering for an 8:00 pm community theatre performance of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" with a great deal of scrambling to turn an outside parish yard/bake sale into an inside one when it starts pouring, and  four soccer games.

Dump everything in whatever random container you can find and bake at 595 degrees for  72 hours or until the final result resembles this:

 

Crash 

 

Tada! You will for sure know it's done if you feel like your head has split in two and your children's voices sound like air horns.

To "un-do" this mess, I suggest the following:

hot soup

hot tea

hot bath

and crashing into bed at 8:00pm, not regaining consciousness until 8:00 am the next morning.

 

Bake sale
 
 
 

On another note,

HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY TO MY BENJI!!

 

Ben and annie 3 

You sure surprised the heck out of your dad and me. I mean, your sister was only six months old when you announced your presence in my already tired body. But, honest and true, I can't imagine my life without your bright, expressive face in it. When you were two days old, I wrote this country ballad for you:

Who knew my arms were simply aching for a little boy they could hold?

Who knew a  new unwritten chapter of my life would soon unfold?

Who knew the heavens were smiling on me, that an angel they would send?

Who knew the joy that was awaiting in you, my gentle Ben?

 

Well, I've seen heartache, I've seen sorrow

I've seen a world that's cold and numb

But in your eyes, I see salvation

A promise of the light to come

 

O, gentle Ben, my sweet surprise,

I hope you one day realize

the gift you are,

the hope you bring,

the song you've made my heart to sing.

 

I can't stop humming it.

My thoughts are full of you.

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Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

Posted by on Oct 21, 2010 in Reflections | 12 comments

 

Zoo  

I'm no stranger to writing reflections (to be published on the Internet) on the downsides of the Internet (Hypocritical? Prooobably.), including the time robbing factor, the easy access to smut, the vicious chat room dialogues, those super annoying pop-up ads, and the overabundance of information being crammed into our heads so fast and so forcefully it's impossible to process it all. But I've still got Elder Paisios's bee on my mind (see last post), that buzzy, relentless goodness and beauty seeker. I've been thinking about you as well and the comments you've left, the e-mails you've sent, all so dear to me – I've devoured them. You have fed me. You've outstretched your hands when I've admitted to falling; you've pulled me up, picked the grass out of my teeth and gently pushed me forward. There's no denying the stinking mounds of crapiola within cyberspace but perhaps if there are enough of us determined to find, or better yet create, specks of  sweetness on which to land, this old Internet of ours, when approached prayerfully and cautiously,  just might have the potential to bring forth healing instead of harm.

If you have a moment, by the way, please jump on over to the Easter Christian New Media Awards site (Click on photo below):

Ecawards

and nominate your favorite Orthodox blog sites, Church websites, podcasts, etc. for a 2010 Eastern Christian New Media Award.  It's such a neat way to promote the uplifting side of the Internet and to express gratitude for the time and effort so many clergy members, monastics and lay people  alike have  devoted to educating and motivating us, their loyal readers (and/or listeners).

Anyhoo, all that to say thank you, for visiting me here, for offering me advice, for your prayers, your empathy, your friendship! I appreciate you. I love you. I'm better off because of your presence (both on and off-line)  in my life.

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