Today is Ash Wednesday. Which means, mass at 12:15, getting ashes on my forehead. And fasting today until dinner. And giving up Facebook, eating out, and sweets for the next 40 days.
So I'm a little grumpy - I get so hungry when I can't eat! (And it doesn't help that I'm sick, and that I did my taxes this morning - federal, VA, and NY - and for some reason can't get NY to e-file which was stressful and made me more hungry!) And while I kind of miss the ability to hop on facebook and see the latest status updates, I'm kind of relieved that I won't be on for the next month+. As I was about to sign off for the last time last night, someone on FB said that giving up FB for Lent is stupid, especially when I continue to blog. Well, I guess that's their opinion - but it is a sacrifice and my time will be much better spent not on it. And I'm not giving up blogging because I love keeping track of Lilly's life on here. And who knows who it might help along the way - I would have loved to read a blog about an adorable little 4 year old with Down syndrome when we were new in our journey. But regardless, the negative comment last night just further indicated that FB is not necessarily a positive place all the time and I'm glad to give it up for awhile.
I don't have much self-control over giving things up that I enjoy. Like, I can't diet because once I start restricting something then all I want to do is eat whatever it is. If I gave up pizza, I'd all of a sudden eat it every meal for a week straight. But, for God it is different. If I give something up for Lent, it's not me giving it up for me - it's me giving it up for God, and that's a hard guy to disappoint.
Last year I gave up facebook also, and enjoyed my time off of it. I also gave up clothes shopping (for all 3 of us) and diet coke, I think? The year before I have no recollection whatsoever; but we were in New Zealand and I felt like so many things I loved had been given up that year. In college one year, I went to mass a few days a week during Lent, which was a nice practice to get into. Another year, I gave up gum, which almost destroyed me. (It would be fine now, I'm not addicted to it anymore.) I have a vague recollection of giving up coffee, but maybe that was when I was pregnant! And one year I fasted every day until dinner, which was tough, and remembering back, I can't remember if I lasted the 40 days (or even the first week!) on that one. Maybe I just did Fridays? Not sure.
Anyways, I am all for reevaluating where I am in life, depriving myself from a few things that strengthen my relationship with God.
Speaking of God, we got the official letter of acceptance from the Catholic school that Lilly will be going to next year. So relieved.
It's interesting, our journey to find the right education for Lilly. I always said that I wanted Lilly to go to Catholic school. And I always wanted her to be in a regular class (as opposed to special education, not that there's anything wrong with that). And along the way, people told me she'd need a little extra help, maybe a regular class wouldn't provide that or support her. And then this year we see how well she's doing educationally with the extra help of really qualified special education teachers; although while she is learning so much it amazes me, I do wish that she had more social opportunities in school. (Not to worry, with her swimming, dance, and soccer classes plus her time spent with her cousins, she's well-rounded; but still). And from my experience being in a private Christian school for a few years, I really did see that as such a nurturing environment that would sincerely care about Lilly's success and well-being.
And with all that, and our hopes and prayers for Lilly's future, we suddenly found multiple options for great schools for our little girl. And I am so thankful that she has the opportunity to be in a Catholic school with a proven successful record of having kids with Down syndrome in regular classes with support where she needs it. It's a prayer answered, for sure.
And speaking of prayers: Yesterday I was in the subway while headed down to Whole Foods to pick up organic produce. In the NY subway, cell phones don't have signal, so once you go down the stairs you have absolutely no connection until you get back up on the street. Anyways, a guy gets on the subway and looks kind of suspicious - holding his jacket in a weird way. So of course I think to myself: what if he's holding a bomb in there? And so then I think to myself, this might be my last moment on earth; whatever happens I just want Lilly to be ok. So then I tell myself, Cathleen you need to pray to God that everything will be ok and to take care of Lilly if something should happen to me. And then my next thought is: I can't pray right now, I don't have signal so God wouldn't be able to hear me, since I'm on the subway.
Really? I thought that God needed cell phone reception in order to hear my prayers? Well, at least I realized what I was thinking right after I thought it, so then I went ahead and said my prayers anyways and the creepy guy got off at the next stop.
That's all for now... time to clean up the house, go to church, then walk across Central Park to Lilly's school to pick her up from soccer. I'm already counting down the hours until dinner tonite!