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August 2007

July 2007 entries

Domestic Bliss and the Second Death of Nemo

Last night, I was awakened at 12:28 by the sound of our dog, Duke, trying to throw up.  For those of you who have heard this sonorous fanfare before, you know it is not the most pleasant of alarm clocks.  I let him out, and he immediately began to eat grass.  I figured that his stomach was upset and I would let him go for a little while.

I went into the kitchen to get something to drink and glanced at Aidan's fish tank on the counter.  My heart sank.  Nemo died...again.

Two wretched weeks ago, Aidan won a goldfish at the Lycoming County Fair.  I decided that we would do this right, and I got a start kit fish tank with a filter, etc. at the local pet store.  Aidan named the fish that he won Nemo (of course!).  Nemo thrived for exactly one week, and then he became "very tired" (according to Aidan) and wouldn't wake up.  While Aidan was at preschool, I went back to the pet store, seeking for Nemo's long-lost twin.  I found instead, a similarly colored fish (white with an orange cap on his head) who was much larger.  "You can just tell your son that Nemo grew while he was at school," they told me.

They didn't know Aidan, that's for sure.  He took one look at the replacement fish and said, "Mommy, Little Nemo gone.  Big Nemo here now."  Did he read that out of Death for Dummies: A Guide for the Rest of Us?


So, it was with great sadness that I saw that Big Nemo had also passed on to the Big Blue.  Meanwhile, the dog eventually came in, with Michael's coaxing, and Aidan woke up, afraid to pee in his pajamas and calling for Daddy's assistance.  Two hours later, Mike came back to our bedroom and said, "Now he wants you."  Apparently, Aidan hadn't slept a wink since Mike went upstairs.  We changed guard, and I went upstairs to be with Aidan who was extremely restless.  At 5:30 a.m., I finally took him for a car ride to Dunkin' Donuts so that I could get some coffee and he could get some Munchkins.

We returned and Michael and Gabrielle were fast asleep, so I took Aidan for a 45-minute walk around the Borough of Montoursville.  By the time we got back to the house, he had fallen asleep.  I laid him on the bed with Mike, gave Big Nemo a proper burial, and finally got a chance to drink that coffee!

Self-Sacrifice: A Necessary Weapon Against Evil

DISCLAIMER: If you plan on reading the last Harry Potter book, or if you are currently in medias res (in the middle of reading it), then DO NOT read this POST!

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of the way...

Dh On Sunday, I bought the seventh and final Harry Potter book.  I read the sixth book (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) for a children's literature course at Bucknell University.  We discussed how J.K. Rowlings uses common tropes from British fairy tales to craft a masterful epic about the triumph of good over evil.  For instance, the orphan is a common figure (think Cinderella -- though her father was alive, he was nonexistant in her life).  When Lord Voldemort attempted to kill Harry, his mother protected Harry with an enchantment which bounced Voldemort's curse back to himself.  Before he murdered Harry's parents, Voldemort had figured out a dark way to split his soul into several parts.  When he tried to kill Harry, he actually expelled part of his soul out of his body and into the body of Harry Potter.  As a result, much like the concept of Yin and Yang, Harry had both good and evil inside him.

In order for Voldemort to be truly defeated, it became evident that Harry must die...because of the part of his soul that was really Voldemort's.  Once he realized what needed to be done, Harry surrendered himself to Voldemort: a true act of self-sacrifice. 

After he dies, he goes to a heaven-like afterworld where he talks with Dumbledore about the ramifications of his decision.  Because Harry sacrificed his life, or rather, that part of him that was Voldemort, he was allowed to return to life, completely Harry.  Harry decides to return to his life... A resurrection, if you will.  After he returns, he defeats Voldemort and peace is restored to the Wizard and Muggle worlds.

I believe this particular series of events can be seen as an allegory for the story of Christ.  To begin, Christ's Mother, Mary, much like Harry's mother, Lily, casts a protective mantle around her Son and it is through Mary that Christ takes on human form, and ultimately bears our sins.  Voldemort's soul is cast upon Harry much like our sins were cast on Christ at the crucifixion. Also, the only way that Sin and Death can be defeated can be through self-sacrifice.  In the story of Christ, Jesus willingly lays down His life for us.  In the Potter tale, Harry willingly lays down his life for the good of wizard-, and Muggle-kind. The Resurrection parallel is obvious:  Both Harry and Christ return from the dead to establish lasting peace and hope.  Self-sacrifice is the beginning; resurrection is the future. To be sure, Harry Potter is not deified in the series, but he is certainly prophesized as the Chosen One; the Boy Who Lived.

Just one of many possible interpretations, of course...the joy of literature! 

"No, honey, you are not a puppy dog!"

Yesterday, my sweet, charming, gregarious son decided that while I was giving Gabrielle a bath (and thus commited to being near the tub) he would strip off his clothes and run outside...and pee in the yard. 

Yes, I said pee in the yard.

As soon as he headed out the door, I pulled my happy, sudsy 7-month old from the bathtub, sat her up on a towel and ran after him.  As I reached the spot where he was, he gleefully called out, "Look, Mommy!  I pee in the yard like Duke! [our dog]"  We live on a fairly busy road in town, near the State Police barracks, and I am pretty sure at least 3 or 4 cars drove by as I picked up my buck-naked toddler and carried him, kicking and screaming, back to the house.

"No, honey, you are not a puppy dog!" fell on deaf ears, I am afraid.

Guess whose turn it was in the tub when we came in...



Change isn't easy for anyone, it would seem.  Most of the people I know are going through some sort of change right now.  Many of us are adjusting to a new pastor at Church, some of us are accepting the fact that our children really are going to college, some of us are realizing that when our children get married they move out and live with their spouses, some of us are living with boxes everywhere in anticipation of a move to a new house, some of us sending our children to school for the first time, some are noticing that we don't have the same bodies we did in our early twenties. 

Adults seem to manage change more discreetly than children.  Aidan has been very frustrated lately...lots of the typical 2-year-old tantrums, but I believe it is more than simply being 2 years old.  His room is boxed up, his entire house is practically in boxes.  When we moved to this house, it took him a month to get used to his new bedroom and to be able to sleep through the night. 

I originally started the previous paragraph with, "Adults seem to manage change better than children," but I had to reconsider that.  As our parish said goodbye to an incredibly special priest who touched our lives in countless ways, we resisted the idea of having someone else take his place.  I like the new priest, and I think that as people come to know him, they will like him, too.  BUT the transition isn't easy for anyone, that is for sure.

But, we'll get through it and life will move on as it always has.  We have to be open to change and the transformations that God has in store for our lives.  Otherwise, we would be standing still, making no progress, experiencing no growth.  I think about my children -- as much as I would love them to stay tiny, snuggly babies, they need to grow up and be independent.  It is a natural, though difficult, part of life.

"I love my Baby Elle."

Dsc05178_2 This morning, Aidan got up at 5 a.m. He usually gets up between 7 and 8, so I knew something was out of the ordinary.  He had wet his pants.  Poor little guy...he was so upset that he got his dinosaur pajama pants wet.  I consoled him, changed him, and carried him, and his three plastic dinosaurs back to our bed.  Gabrielle was sleeping in her basinette by the bed.  Aidan looked at her and said sleepily, "Shh, Mommy.  Baby Elle is sleeping.  I love my Baby Elle." As Aidan dozed off and Gabrielle snuggled into her blanket, I found myself ever so thankful for early morning accidents! 

What is a home?

What is a home?  It is certainly more than a structure, a frame, a building.  This question has been on my mind as we prepare to move yet again, and this time, our dreams of buying a home in which we would live for many years will not be coming to fruition.  We had looked forward to buying a home, but the time is just not right for us financially.  So, yet again, we will be living in someone else’s house. 

And I have to ask: does that really matter?

Isn’t a home made up of the people who live together?  Would it be home without Michael’s choral music and gadgets everywhere?  Would it be home without the training potty in the bathroom, without the tiny socks and toy dinosaurs and binkies?  Would it be home without Duke’s dish and closet of treats?  Would it be home without my coffee pot?