Sunday, 6 May 2012


Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week. David and I both believe that it should be a day set apart, as much as possible, from the usual. We try to keep it as a relaxing family day whenever we can (which is most weeks).

We usually go to Mass at the Cambridge Catholic Chaplaincy, Fisher House. David often reads at the 9am Latin Mass, which is a bit painful when the alarm goes off at 7:30am but is always worth it. The Latin Mass is beautiful, with tonnes of chant and not many people. It also has the benefit of being over by around 10:15am, which leaves us with most of the day free. However when David is not reading our good intentions of going to the 9am Mass usually fall short and we either end up at the 11am English Mass or, if it's been a really late night and David has a work deadline, we go to the nearby church of St Laurence's.

After Mass we always go to the Cambridge Market. David browses the book stall, which he so regularly frequents that the seller always puts books aside for him when he knows David is collecting a certain author or series. Sometimes we buy a snack at the market, and almost always we end up going for coffee at one of the cafes nearby. Lately it's been Starbucks, because they have the best selection of non-coffee drinks (for me) and David says all the coffee downtown is rubbish so Starbucks is no worse than anywhere else. Besides, it is the only place in Cambridge where we can get donuts similar to the ones we get in Canada.

After a continental breakfast or snack before lunch, we almost always head to the nearby Oxfam book store. Between the market book stall and the Oxfam store it is a rare Sunday when we return home with empty hands. Sometimes we get groceries, but other than that we just try to get home with enough afternoon left to enjoy. I usually make lunch, something quick but delicious that doesn't require much work. And then we spend the afternoon reading books, and I usually do some baking and eventually make something for supper. No English Sunday Roast for us, usually. Instead we generally have something lighter. Tonight I am going to attempt eggs benedict, with a side of roast asparagus. I've already done my baking--there is a chocolate fondant cake chilling in the fridge (but it won't be set until tomorrow, so we're going to have pineapple tonight).

We almost always watch a movie together on Sunday nights when we eat dinner. Lately I've been on a big gangster/spy/action movie kick on Sunday nights so we watch something in that genre. By midnight I try to get to sleep so that I'm not too exhausted at work on Monday. But this weekend is a bank holiday weekend, meaning I have Monday off, so I will probably stay up later than usual.

David has a thesis chapter deadline this week, so today has been slightly different as he has spent most of the afternoon working in his office. I entertained myself by watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and working on the shoes for the baby's baptismal outfit. I've cut out all the pieces and am now just embroidering a pattern of larkspurs onto the tops. The baby has been fairly quiet today, aside from kicking me, hard, several times at Mass and performing circus maneuvers when I nibbled on some chocolate.

Soon, hopefully, the cold and rain will blow away and we can start spending Sunday afternoons having picnics and going for walks to pubs along the river, either by ourselves or with our friends. But even if it stays cold and rainy all summer, I hope to get as much enjoyment as I can from these near perfect days.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

the start of the home stretch

I'm nearly 28 weeks pregnant. Baby and I have made it to the home stretch. Baby is officially a baby now, or at least officially a human being with some rights... I meant to write a post about this when we achieved a 'viable pregnancy' at 25 weeks, which means that according to UK law I would no longer be allowed to abort my child, but it's probably lingering on my desktop with the other five posts I haven't finished writing...

Anyway, 28 doesn't seem like such a high number (after all, it's my age), but when I realise how few weeks are left I sort of hyperventilate and have a mild panic attack. Then I email Madeleine, because she just laughs at me and tells me that everything is going to be alright and then usually says something insightful which makes me relax. It's lovely to send out panicked emails--it's like a blog post except you know that the comment you get in return will just be helpful instead of anxious advice.

My life is pretty anxious by turns, which I'm not going to go into here because in my experience talking about things with no tangible solution tends to make them worse rather than better, since it just leads to people trying to be very helpful by speculating advice. From what I can tell, everyone on the planet feels a lot of anxiety about certain things in their own life, and when given the chance these tend to get projected into my own. It's not like people do this on purpose, so please don't think I'm complaining, it's just that we respond to others by latching onto the things we can understand, or if we can't understand, by trying to imagine how we'd feel in that situation. Comments like "I don't know how you can do it, I certainly couldn't" are perhaps meant to inspire confidence, but usually leave me just second guessing myself. There are a lot of what ifs that I don't have the answers to. I just try to trust God and not freak out.

Someone recently described me as relaxed and calm. I laughed. I've learned many things from my mum, and one of those things is how to pretend you're comfortable when you really are not at all comfortable. I am not a person who has been given the gift of small-talk, but I do have a pretty good sense of humour (I assume that's what all the laughter around me is for) and a sort of keep-calm-and-carry-on attitude (or make-do-and-mend) when thrust into uncomfortable situations, or when speculating on dealing with unpleasant situations. I have inherited a fair dose of Eastern European realism (some dare to call it cynicism or even negativity) but I hate being surrounded by negativity, stress, or unproductive griping. I'd rather try to see the humour in the situation, at least when I'm giving my public face.

So, 28 weeks. To cope with the AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH EVERYTHING IS CHANGING BABY LACK OF SLEEP PRECIOUS SLEEP moments I made a list and did some googling and began to feel mildly in control of the situation. When the list fails to calm me, I think about my long line of Mennonite descendants being kicked out of this country and that country and still managing to have babies and all that while wearing long skirts and having to milk their own cows. I think about one of my uncles, whose baby-crib was an apple crate (if my mum can be believed). The wisest people I know all seem to agree on one thing--what babies and children need most of all is a loving family.