I've mentioned before on this blog that YG and I are very involved in our church. It's a great church, and Congregational and in Cambridge so it's about as open and affirming (read: big, gay) as you can get. We stumbled across it when we both realized we wanted to go back to church, and I've been grateful ever since. We were married there, we volunteer there, and we had Zygote baptized there. It's a home of sorts.
Still, I have struggled with feeling like I gave up on the Catholic Church. Or not the church, but the "culture." It seems like it's hard to be an Italian American without being Catholic -- everything is intertwined, and many things that I consider part of my weird "heritage" are probably more church-related than ethnic (the nativity, the feasts on Christmas Eve, praying to all the saints for any number of problems, etc). Sometimes I feel like I am rejecting where I came from. Add to that the fact that most of the people in our Church share common faith backgrounds, and it's sometimes like I'm speaking another language. I had/have no idea what all the political differences between Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists and blah, blah. I mean, for Catholics, Protestants are Protestants. Period.
But then I remember. I didn't reject anything. According to the "rules," I am going to Hell because I'm divorced. From www.religioustolerance.org (bolds are mine):
The trap that some Catholics find themselves:
Couples that obtain a civil divorce and remarry without first obtaining an annulment are denied access to the Sacraments of Penance (a.k.a. Confession) and Holy Eucharist. (Catechism 1650). They are caught between a rock and a hard place:
If they continue in the new marriage, then they cannot repent of and confess their sins through the Sacraments of Penance, and return to Communion. Meanwhile, their sins are accumulating. Because the church does not recognize their new marriage, it considers every sexual act within the marriage to be a new act of adultery -- a mortal sin. According to the church's teachings, this means that they will not attain Heaven when they die. They will end up being eternally tormented in Hell. There are only two ways of avoiding this state:
To be fortunate enough to not die suddenly (e.g. to not die instantly in a car accident or from a massive heart attack). This way, they might be able to receive the Last Anointing by which their mortal sins are forgiven. Needless to say, this is a risky route to take.
To make an "act of perfect contrition" instead of Confession. But this requires the individual to repent of what the Church considers their sins of adultery, and sincerely intend to never engage in "adultery" in the future.
If they separate from their new spouse, and live alone, and sincerely intend to remain separated unless a annulment is granted, then they can resume their access the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. But that would require them to violate their new marriage vows, and terminate their marital relationship. This option often seems profoundly immoral to the couple, particularly if there are children involved.
But then I remember. Some of my friends and my FAMILY are not welcome to receive communion either because of who they are.
But then I remember. The sex abuse scandal. A hierarchy that didn't protect the smallest victims.
This might be the final straw for me. A Catholic school in Massachusetts withdrew the acceptance of an 8-year-old boy because his lesbian parents' relationship was "in discord" with the teachings of the church. Since the story broke, the Superintendant of the Boston Archdiocese has offered to help find a place for the kid, but too little, too late.
I guess I'm just done. I hate rabid anti-Catholic sentiments, and I like to point out all the good work that Catholic Relief Services has done around the world (Kristoff did too). But I'm tired. You can only do so much. And when the Church continues to do bigoted shit like this, you (read: I) just lose all desire to try and find the positive.
It's time to leave that behind, and accept that I am part of a new church* where I just fit better.
* And now I can spend the time that I used defending Catholicism to explain the differences between my church and the crazy, nutso Evangelicals.
Jugs, Or More Specifically, Mine
I could spend all day talking about boobs and bra sizing and hooters, as long as they don't belong to me. I've been reluctant to talk about nursing the Zygote because people have very specific ideas about what is and isn't appropriate with regards to breastfeeding. If I talk to one group, I am an evil harpy because I have been giving my kid a bottle of formula every day since she was 6 weeks old and I introduced her to bottles at 2 weeks. If I talk to another group, I am some crazy earth momma hippie that wears hemp clothing and is really into composting because 11 months in, I am still nursing.
Or was. A few days ago, Zygote just decided she didn't want to nurse anymore. She's never gone on a nursing strike before, and we've kept the same schedule (nursing in the morning and night, and on weekends/bottles during the day) since I went back to work 7 months ago. I had been doing a lot of research about weaning, so in some sense, I was prepared for this. And I know it might also be a phase -- kids her age rarely self-wean this early.
I never expected that I would be doing this this long, and I never thought I would get so emotionally attached to it. I heard that the depression following weaning could sometimes be as bad as postpartum depression, and considering I spent the first month after Zygote was born wishing I would get hit by a car so that someone more competent could take of her -- this freaks my shit all out.
I've been following her lead, giving her the bottle, but following the rest of our routine: reading her a story, rocking her, letting her play with my hair. She's fine. And I know I'll be fine, phase or not, but it's very bittersweet. I feel grateful to have part of my life back, but I also can't believe my little baby is growing up.
How's that for barfy? And if I really wanted to be gross, I would now post a cute picture of my kid.
Oh, look. I just did.
What? I Can't Hear You
It's been a year since YG lost his hearing. He participated in a study last summer, but his hearing never returned. With physical therapy, his balance did return and he's able to ride his bike again. I don't talk about this much because it really isn't my story to tell, and you deal with the hand you've been given and handle the situation in front of you. YG and I are not the type of people who let themselves break down. Or grieve. Or be off our game. Or take break. But that's a whole other blog. And we never really had time to think about what happened -- Zygote was born a few weeks later, the MG got sick, his career took off, I went back to work, etc. etc.. I am profoundly grateful that YG didn't suffer a more serious disease, but that doesn't mean I still don't feel a sense of loss, and the usual "the world is so unfair" crap. YG has dealt with some major shit in the course of his young life (yes, YG, you read that right -- young), and I hate that he ended up with another turd in the shit sandwich. He's dealt with it with grace and calm, as is his way, and I'm just thinking about it on this unfortunate anniversary of sorts.