Last Monday, I had jury duty.
It seems like everyone thinks this is tantamount to being buried alive. I got sympathetic sighs and sad head shakes as well as sorrowful tales of woe along with several apologetic phrases when I shared that I had this on my calendar. The last time I had jury duty I was less than thrilled to be going because of the dilemma it caused to me as a nursing mother.
This time, however, I had no reason not to look forward to this day out of the house, away from my normal responsibilities. I was actually really looking forward to a whole day to sit in a room and read. Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that. I did get a little reading in, but then spent most of the day hearing the trial of a young man and acting as a member of the jury of his peers who determined that he was indeed guilty of felony firearm. The trial was quick and straightforward. Yet, I was really afraid of getting it wrong. I really wanted him to be not guilty.
Despite having had jury duty several other times, this was the first time I have actually served on a jury. I found this service informative and sobering. I must also admit the judge’s reading the instructions was a bit long and repetitive, but it drove home the point of our task and the challenge we had to decide the outcome based on the facts with a presumption of innocence. I found the experience of deciding another’s culpability to be very daunting. While I think we made the right decision in this case, it is terribly sad to me. I am all for justice, but am ever more grateful that Another is the ultimate judge and jury in life and that he offers grace and mercy to those who believe that He came to save them and follow after Him. All of our choices have consequences. For this young man, he’ll be spending a minimum of 2 years in jail, but I hope that he will find the One there who can transform his future and that justice will lead to grace.
Last Friday, my kids and I cemented into tradition the way we greet the end of spring. We started the day picking up our canning supplies, which included new lids and some canning utensils. I cannot overemphasize the benefits of those tongs for removing the jars after they are processed in the boiling water bath, absolutely worth $5. From our local Kmart, we headed to the farm where we spent approximately two hours picking the best berries. I suppose “we” is a bit optimistic. Eila helped and picked about 3 quarts total, eating a quart. Josiah ate every single strawberry he picked. Thaddeus ate strawberries that Eila or I picked. After about an hour, the boys tired of the berries and decided to play in the paths around the field and in the car. All in all, we left with about 40 quarts of strawberries, twice as many as previous years.
The children got to work hulling the strawberries and mashing them up. Josiah helped stir while we cooked the berries, pectin and sugar. Then we sealed the jars and I started over again with another batch when the kids went to bed. It was a long day, but I now have a year’s supply of jam, plus nice presents to give to some lucky loved ones. I froze several quarts, made a strawberry pie for Father’s Day, strawberry muffins this morning, and have been enjoying fresh berries in salads and for snacks. I love the last week of spring, not only because it means it’s finally summer!
Thaddeus and I have started on the more intention weaning path. Now, we are winding along very aimlessly most of the time, but every so often I am more determined and we make a little progress. Very early in the morning, Thaddeus silently climbs out of his crib, opens his bedroom door, leaves and closes the door behind him. Then, TJ comes into my room and climbs up in the bed with me and says very sweetly. “Dis. Mama, I want dis. Puweez. Puweez. (while signing please)” And, every morning, I say “Not until morning.” or “Fine.” It all depends how early and how tired I am. For me, morning is not until at least 5am, but we don’t get up until 7am, if we can help it. Thaddeus has been taking it in stride pretty well with a few whines and screams about how he really wants “DIS!” and then he settles back into his bed and sleeps for another hour or two until he repeats his wake up routine.
When we started nighttime weaning a few weeks ago, he woke every hour with this routine and returned to bed to sleep for exactly one hour until he awoke again…
Nursing a chid to sleep has many, many benefits, not the least of which is sleep for mom and baby. I still nurse my little one to sleep for naps and bedtime, but now he is going back to sleep on his own and I am sleeping soundly through the night, which also has many benefits.
It is sort of strange to recognize that the end of something that has been such an integral part of life for the last 6+ years will soon be coming. I still remember the very last time I nursed Eila, which is crazy as she had been nursing in the morning once every few days for a couple weeks and I asked Brian to take a picture since she probably wouldn’t nurse too many more times… well, that was the last time she did. With Josiah, things were different. He didn’t adjust his nursing as well as I would’ve liked when I got pregnant and I was going to be out of town for a few days, so I knew that the end was coming as I was taking lots of steps to ensure that the break was indeed the end. It could still be a while with Thad, but all good things must come to an end eventually. It’s nice to be able to appreciate it, even in the process.