Hello, blog! I've taken a three-month maternity leave from you. I'm back, but as always, I can't make promises as to my future commitment to this blog.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! That means Holy Week is over, and boy am I ready for a break.
Our Easter Lily baby will be three months old this Thursday. She's more like a baby and less like a newborn every day, and that's just delightful. I had to play single mom last week. Erich was out of town from Monday morning to Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, this trip coincided with a bad virus I was fighting, so that made the single parenthood that much harder.
Lily is totally breastfed, so every time I knew I was going to be away from her, I had to pump some milk for her. Monday morning I pumped, and Monday evening I left her with my sister-in-law/next door neighbor while I rehearsed the bell choir at church. I returned to her crying for food--the milk I left was only just enough.
Tuesday I decided to hang out at my parents' house. That usually happens about once a week. Getting out of the house to get extra help with Lily is essential to my sanity. My mom and I went to Target to get some necessary items, but we couldn't get them all because my malaise required rest. Oh, and Lily absolutely refused to nap. She wasn't particularly fussy, just wakeful.
And see, at this point, I was only trying to get to Thursday when Erich would be home! Wednesday brought new challenges. I had to make sure I had enough milk to leave with SIL/neighbor for choir rehearsal that night--the Holy Week Mega-Rehearsal. My mom was nice enough to come over beforehand to make dinner, and we ate with brother, SIL, and niece. Then we were off to the rehearsal scheduled from 7-9, but for me actually went till a little after 10. Hey, it's Holy Week! I rushed home to my baby, who, unaware of my exhaustion, continued to stay awake until 2ish, as is her habit.
I really don't know how single moms do it.
Thursday I counted down the hours and Erich finally came home about 3pm. I got some laundry and cleaning done and then we went to church. I was the official director of the choir, the women of the church adult choir. We warmed up then had a little bit of time before the service so I could pump. I helped wrangle the baby as much as I could in between leading the liturgy. After church back at home, I had to practice organ. Luckily, we happen to be housing a pretty nice electronic organ at our house until the church can use it. Erich watched Lily and TV while I practiced for Good Friday.
On Friday, I had to practice at church. I took Lily with me and got there around noon. All that listening to organ music in the womb must have done her well because even though she was awake, she listened patiently while I practiced. She was done about the time I was done, so I took her to my parents' house. I watched her there until it was time to go play for the 4:00 service. I pumped during the sermon. I met Erich back at my parents' house afterward and ate my dad's fried shrimp in between feeding the baby. It was back to church at 6:30 to warm up with the choir for the Tenebrae service. Lily did pretty well. My mom held her while Erich and I led the litany. When the lights went out at the sanctuary was all dark, Lily started squawking. Such a baby, afraid of the dark! So Erich took her out and all was well.
Saturday I got to practice organ at church sans Lily, but not before I fed her! We were back at church again at 6:30 so I could warm up the bell choir, assign percussion parts for The Song of the Three Young Men, and rehearse other liturgical enhancements. After The First Song of Isaiah as the Vigil started, Lily was hungry and I had a long stretch of time when I wasn't directly needed, so I fed her. I snuck back into church in time for "All You Works of God, Bless the Lord." After the baptisms and confirmations, I played organ for the rest of the service. We were done around 9, and I was hungry! We wanted to stop for Mexican, so we got Lily in the carseat and left. She got hungry and very distressed in the car, however, so we had to stop on the way so I could feed her in a parking lot. It was Mexican or bust, so we continued on our way and I was able to eat at home before she needed my attention again. We got to bed late, as usual.
I opted out of the sunrise service. It's just too hard. Erich left at six to play trumpet. I got up, got Lily up around seven (ouch. It goes against the grain to wake up a baby who would have easily slept two more hours.) and got to church at 7:45. I grabbed a quick youth group-sponsored breakfast then left Lily with Erich while I went to warm up with the choir. I had to leave that early to make sure Erich was properly outfitted with baby supplies. Then I discovered I had ten minutes before the 8:30 service started, so I went to discreetly pump in the sacristy. Thankfully the pastor didn't mind. ("Everyone needs their Easter breakfast!") Lily slept through that service, which ended at 9:50. I changed her diaper before the 10:00 service then handed her off to SIL, who gave her the bottle I had pumped earlier.
The choir sang the preservice music and had a prelude after the confession and absolution. Lily quickly finished her bottle and squawked for more. I looked in the bulletin and saw that after the prelude, there was the processional hymn, Kyrie, festival canticle, collect of the day, Old Testament reading... and THEN the big 6-part choral gradual that I couldn't miss. I decided to skip the prelude and whisked Lily to the nursery. She fed in an unhurried manner and was happy. I got her back into church, casually slipped my choir robe back on and was zipping it up as the choir moved into position for the gradual. Smooth!
The choir was done before the sermon, so I took two trips in and out of church to take out the baby and her accompanying supplies. And after that whirlwind weekend, I was done and home by 11am. Erich, who had finished out the rest of the service on trumpet, joined me soon afterward. We were at my parents' house and relaxing by 1pm. And then, I stopped living one hour at a time and realized I worked my tail off in a totally different way from most years. Erich and I couldn't have done it without help, particularly from mom and SIL.
So this post may not be that interesting, but some day I'm going to forget what it was like to tackle Holy Week as a church musician and nursing mother to an almost three-month-old. And then I'll reread this and be like, "Oh yeah. I don't remember that."