Last night, my brother came home in quite the mood and was so rude. My initial inclination was to yell at him for his uncalled for behavior, but I held my tongue. I was really annoyed, but after a little time passed, I reminded myself of what I oft remind others of--that is, to check in with him to see if there was a reason for his foul mood. While it doesn't make it right, we just don't know what causes someone to snap. Maybe something happened in their day to put them in a foul mood.
I checked in with my brother, and of course he didn't say much to me. Still, I think sometimes the simple act of checking in with someone, whether or not you get a response, makes a difference. When you ask "How are you doing?" or "Hey, are you okay?" it makes the other person feel seen, and that can turn their mood back to the brighter side. So, this is just a little reminder to ask "How are you doing?" and mean it.
And with that, I ask YOU, how are you doing? Whatever is going on, feel it, breathe, and chose joy.
Thankfully I've had a number of friends who had kids before me and who were honest about some of the challenges of breastfeeding. It's interesting how something so natural isn't always natural in practice. Even more interesting to me is that I have never heard anyone say that they love breastfeeding. In fact, if anything, most of my friends have not enjoyed breastfeeding. So, I was prepared to potentially face some challenges and sure enough I did. Furthermore, my mother had always told me that when she was pregnant with my brother and I, her doctor told her that formula was now the same as breast milk (this was back in the late 80's and early 90's). When I got pregnant, my only motivation for breastfeeding was free milk. But then I learned how incredible breast milk really is and once I started nursing, I learned so much more. Here are a few of the unexpected things I learned about breastfeeding.
First, I hope that you and your family are staying safe and healthy (physically and mentally) during this insane time. And thank you to all those on the frontlines taking care of us and making sure essential parts of our lives are still serviced and accessible. An important part of living the jawesome life is to live on the bright side. There are always positive takeaways from any situation life throws at us, and I wanted to throw some light your way during this difficult and uncertain time. So, here are just a few positives that Covid-19 has brought us thus far:
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. Those who don't observe Lent usually know it as the time that Catholics and certain other Christian denominations give up something like a vice for 40 days. This year, I asked my dad if he wanted to go to mass with me to get our ashes in church, and I was surprised when he said yes. Although, part of me wonders if it's because now that I'm a few weeks away from our due date he'll take up any chance to drive me somewhere since he thinks I shouldn't drive myself anymore. Then when I thanked my dad for joining me and told him I really enjoyed it, I was further delighted when he also expressed a genuine enjoyment for attending mass today. He refused to get ashes or communion though, because he's worried about coronavirus. (I don't blame him, because one woman in South Korea spread the virus to 37 people at her church after twice refusing to be tested for the virus, and it spread from there to cause a large outbreak.) Still, I was just happy he came along with me, because keeping faith in the family these days can prove challenging; but today gave me some visible hope. Not to mention, it was a nice father-daughter outing. So how do we keep faith in the family in a time when many have or are straying from their faith?
If my 20's taught me anything, it's that life rarely ever goes as planned or envisioned, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Over the holidays, my husband and I moved in with my parents as we prepare to bring our son into the world, and it's certainly not how I ever envisioned growing my family. However, when we found out we were pregnant, we had a lot of discussions about a lot of things, and eventually moving in with my parents made the most sense, not only financially, but also because of the strong support I will have, not just from my parents but friends in the area. I certainly had my reservations and discussed my concerns with friends and my therapist, and the number one thing everyone told me was to set boundaries. Boundaries, in general, are important in every relationship, but how does one set boundaries in a family that knows no boundaries? Asian families, or at least my Asian family, don't have boundaries!
The most important and powerful statement made at the Golden Globes last night came from Parasite director, Bong Joon Ho. In his thank you speech for Best Foreign Language Film, he started by saying, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." But the truth of his statement goes beyond the number of amazing films you will be introduced to "once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier subtitles."
The kids I teach in Children's Liturgy oft range in age from about 4 to 10 years old, and they are all full of stories--sometimes on point, sometimes not so on point. This Sunday, two of the boys had the honour of walking up the Advent candles during the welcome procession at mass. So, I asked them about that and asked the other kids if anyone lights advent candles at home. This led one of the kids to tell me about the time someone set his father's church on fire. His dad told him, it's because the man was a Muslim.
Yesterday, one of our family's beloved pups went to heaven. He lived a good, long life, and is greatly loved by all of us. He was like the big brother of the puppy pack, and definitely the most well-trained of them all. I've truly never met a dog so well-trained. He was also the first to show me the power of puppy love.
My therapist said to me that for some reason, when women turn 30, we learn to finally listen to our gut. I thought this was interesting, because the proudest I have felt of myself was when I trusted my gut, which led me to protecting and standing up for myself, my values, and my principles. And I had just recently turned 30 when that happened. Recently, I was faced again with a situation that had my gut screaming at me and I knew I should just go with it, but it can be so hard to be sure. I was trying to be logical. So, here's what I've learned about listening to your gut and how to listen to your gut.