Is a Temper Tantrum a Form of Prayer?

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I think the only thing more controversial thing to talk about than politics is religion.

This post is not about politics.

Then again, it’s not really about religion, either. It’s about faith.

I have had a few more than my share of challenging glass not so full moments recently.

I miss my mother-in-law a whole lot. She may have been over the top but she had a heart of gold and loved me without reserve. She left us a few months ago and left a huge gap.

I miss my son a whole lot. Soon after his grandmother passed away he moved to New York City for a fabulous job at a Big Four accounting firm. It warms my heart that he misses me, too but doesn’t change the mist in my eyes when I think about it.

I miss my administrative associate a whole lot. My long time assistant transferred out of my department for a full time position somewhere else on campus. She was amazing and allowed me to do my work without worrying about hers. You don’t realize how much that means to you until it’s gone. She was replaced temporarily with another woman with a huge amount of institutional knowledge but was redeployed last month. So, now I’m doing one and a half jobs…woohoo!!

I know I’m not alone. A lot of my friends and family are going through similar things…aging parents, grown children and work place turmoil. But knowing you are not alone is sometimes not enough.

Yesterday was a turning point for me. It started with a bang and didn’t let up until I finally fell asleep (with the help of an allergy med and a PM).

At one point in the day, after several different negative experiences I banged my hand on the desk so hard I needed ice to sooth the damage. Several colleagues suggested that throwing things is a better outlet…perhaps so but I think the mom in me overturned that idea because I would have had to clean up the mess, adding to the indignity.

So, after getting the ice and writing two separate emails (which I am proud to report I deleted after reading them) I decided to take a walk to the chapel on campus.

My glass may have been half full but the holes in the bottom prevented me from seeing it. I’m not sure what I expected to find there. I honestly don’t. But I knew I needed to do something at least tangible to me that would break the fall.

As I approached the beautiful building I saw several people walking out. Oh dear God, I just wanted to be alone…

As fate would have it, I was alone when I entered. I walked up to the front pew and sat down. Never once while I was in that acoustically perfect church did I say a pray, at least not the prayers we chant mindlessly during Mass. No Hail Mary, no Lord’s Prayer…nothing but my own words, said through tears.

At one point I panicked because I thought someone was in there. I’ve sung in this church many times and it has perfect architectural amplification. A microphone is totally unnecessary. My own pleas where audible throughout.

Oh God, what if someone hears me?

Oh God, what if He does not?

Both of those thoughts gave me pause. I sat still and stopped crying. I dried my face on my coat sleeves.

I sat still waiting for something. Anything. My breathing restored to a reasonable calm.

Oh God, what if someone hears me? I’m in church. So what. People pray there, right? Isn’t a temper tantrum a form of prayer? Think about that one for a second. Replace any words during any tantrum with please help me and there you have it…a prayer.

Oh God, what if He does not? Really? How could I believe that for any second. He will hear me. Will I be open to His answer?

Then it happened. I didn’t want to believe it for a moment but the sound was undeniable. When it happened again I had to acknowledge it.

It was a text message from my husband. “Just let it roll off your back.”

Now I’m not suggesting to you my husband is God…no, not at all. But isn’t that message well timed if not divine?

“Just let it roll off your back.”

Ok, I responded. I put the phone back into my pocket, bought myself a coffee and donut (chocolate glazed) and walked back to my office. I only took a few bites of the donut and threw it away. I didn’t need it anymore.

I figured out what to do on my walk. I shared my thoughts with the people who needed to hear them, brushed myself off and went home.

Today the actual situation here is unchanged but I am completely ready to deal with it.

All because of my prayer through tantrum.

You will never know how honored I am you just read this. Have a blessed (and yummy) day.

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Zoom Zoom…Time Flies!

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Today’s musings are not about being a foodie but just about being Jude. It’s about that sobering realization that we raise our children to leave us.

20120803-083444.jpgThis picture of my son wearing an FAO Schwartz beanie hat was taken about 15 years ago, in a 5th Avenue subway station. I’d say it was a simpler time but I think we reframe and reprint memories. I was likely just as frantic then as I am today…yet all I remember is the sweet exuberance of a bright child trying to learn everything he could and pack it into a day with an 8:30 pm bedtime.

20120803-084122.jpgI’ll bet when my mom sees this picture she won’t remember how stressful her life was at the time this picture was taken. Her husband was working 80+ hours a week, striking out on his own when I was born, opening a used car lot with my uncle while she was trying to take care of two children (my sister did not come along for another 2 1/2 years). It’s funny how we understand our parents so much more as we get older ourselves.

I said something to her the other day and we both had a big belly crunching tear evoking laugh. I said “Oh my God, Ma, Anthony is actually moving away from home!” She looked at me with the same smirk she used to ask me to wipe off my face and said “Imagine that! A child moving away from home. I’ll bet that’s never been done before!” Yeah. Ok. Point taken.

20120803-090953.jpgHe turned 21 last year. Zoom zoom. He was just six. Yesterday he signed a lease on an apartment in NYC.

20120803-091953.jpgI guess the bottom line is, we raise our children to leave us.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on letting go…Have a yummy weekend20120803-092249.jpgJudeTheFoodie.com

Please Don’t Come to My Swim Meets – You’ll Embarrass Me!

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From June 2008 until October 2008 there was a not so silent argument going on in our house.  Our son decided to attend Fairfield University and “walk-on” to the varsity swim team.  His coach explained that if you go to practice and work hard you will be in the line-up.  You may be swimming “off events” but you will be in the line-up.  What an incredible opportunity for a kid who earned full tuition – a chance to be on a team!  But, no, he did not want us there.  He didn’t know what to expect and did not want the extra pressure of having us in the stands in case he did not actually get to swim.

For those of you who are not familiar with a competitive swim team please see my next blog “My Child is Enrollment Management?”  As I describe, mid-major swim teams traditionally are used more as enrollment management, with few scholarship dollars, than responsible for generating revenue in ticket sales.

If you know me, you know my husband and I try to attend most of our son’s swim meets.  Last year we only missed one and it was one that was rescheduled due to an equipment malfunction.  Remember, every meet is an away meet when your child goes to school seven hours from home.  So, how did we get to this point when two years ago he didn’t even want us in the humid cavern known as a natatorium?

The first meet was at Holy Cross, another wonderful Jesuit institution of higher learning in Worcester, MA.  My husband and I insisted we would attend his first NCAA Division I sporting event – you would have needed an act of Congress to keep us away.  We would respect his wishes the rest of the season, but the first meet? Of course we were going to be there!

Sure enough, when he climbed on the block, pushing his goggles on his eyes with the palms of his hand like I had seen him do 100’s of times before, I could see the smile on his face when they introduced him.  In lane one, swimming for Fairfield University, Anthony Caserta!  I could see my husband’s chest expand – nothing can describe the feeling of having your child compete in intercollegiate athletics – absolutely nothing.  I can safely say it is right up there with marriage and birthing babies – seriously, it is!  It is the validation that all of their time and effort in training and academics was worth it.  It is also validation that all of your parental sacrifice of time and treasure helped them achieve a dream.

So, how did I end up here, at a Courtyard Marriott in Worcester, MA following his second meet, two years later, at Holy Cross?  Turns out, he glanced up to the stands while he climbed up on the block and saw his blubbering parents standing there cheering him on.  As a freshman, he still did not know any other parents so, if we were not there, who would cheer for him?  He came up to the stands later to thank us.

The next meet was the following Friday against MAAC rival St. Peter’s College at their home pool on campus.  My husband and I must have gotten ten texts a piece from him telling us about his swims and complaining that no one knows him and is not cheering for him.  I am sure that is not true as we cheer for all of the kids but to a lonely freshman it was his reality.  It was those texts that made us change our plans and decide to travel to as many meets as possible and we haven’t looked back.

To this day, I still do not remember how he did his first race.  How could I see it through my tears of pride?

Life is good!

Jude

Twitter: @JudeTheFoodie

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