Monday, 10 May 2021

12 years after Seraphic Singleness

Benedict Ambrose and I have celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary, and it was a very pleasant day indeed, featuring a nice breakfast at home, going to Mass, chatting with friends after Mass, going to Edinburgh's New Club for a gin-and-tonic as the guests of a member, a late-afternoon dinner at a French restaurant, and a great bout of gardening when we got home. The evening's entertainment included the "Kiss the Ground" documentary about soil health, and we wished my mum a Happy Mother's Day over Skype. 

"Kiss the Ground" was mentioned during the Pontifical Council of Culture's recent three-day health conference, which was by turns annoying, interesting, downright intriguing, entertaining, and boring. I volunteered to cover it for work because the theme of "Body, Mind, Spirit" was very interesting indeed. I particularly enjoyed the conversations about longevity and food, and even though I thought the product placement (usually carefully displayed books) was hilarious, I went on to buy two of the books--and to watch "Kiss the Ground" again. We realised part way through that we had seen it already. However, I didn't mind, and I would like to become a soil regeneration activist one day. I am currently doing my part by refusing to use weedkiller, even on the horribly invasive rosa rugosa.  

By the way, I'm not going to publish or reply to comments about my day job, so if you have a concern with the publication, you should direct it to its editor. 

Yesterday felt more peaceful and happy than even being on holiday and I think it was the combination of good food, friends, seeing family online, Mass, the rare treat of being at the New Club, and working in the garden. It was also warmer than it has been. Also, I was stumped for an idea for decorating an anniversary card until I was inspired to make a collage from various paper mementos of concerts, art exhibits and travels from that past 12 years. 

B.A. bought a card, but he also wrote a poem he glued inside once he perceived (from my card) that we did have a glue stick after all. We didn't do gifts because the French restaurant meal was treat enough, really. Also, we are thrifty these days. 

I'm not a scrapbooker, but I am definitely a saver of business cards from restaurants and tickets from art galleries and concerts, and today's marriage advice is to keep such things yourself and to look at them eventually to remind you and your spouse of the really great times you've had together over the years. The great thing about putting them on a card, B.A. observed, is that they haven't been destroyed, because the card can also be kept in a box. As a matter of fact, I keep all our cumulative valentines in a box and then decorate the flat with them on Valentine's Day. 

My mother reported that her parish priests mentioned during their online Mass (for public Mass is once again de facto banned in Toronto) women "who mother us" as well as biological mothers at yesterday's Mass, which was good news. Naturally Mother's Day is psychologically tough on many women who are Searching Singles and/or childless-not-by-choice. Thus, I am always happy when priests remember to mention or even preach about "spiritual mothers".  

As it happens, Mother's Day in the UK is way back in Lent, so for me North American Mother's Day is now 100% about North American mothers (spiritual and physical), so it doesn't make me feel gloomy. This Mothering Sunday didn't make me feel gloomy either, possibly because the restaurants were empty of mothers and their celebrating progeny, and thus a reminder that Other People Have Problems Way Bigger Than My Small Disappointments in Life. B.A. and I sent a lovely bouquet to his mother, and that was that.    

I suppose if the pandemic and lockdowns are good for anything they are at least reminders to be grateful for our blessings and forms of shock therapy about "peacetime" woes, as it were. 


  1. Congratulations on the 12 years of marriage Mrs McLean! Courage does bear fruit, one trip to ScottishLand and look at ye now, still together, thanks be to God. Tell me, would you have stayed in Canada otherwise, what road were you on the way down had you not met BA, how would life have panned out do you think? Sinéad.

  2. Well, I think I would have stayed in Canada otherwise. "Seraphic Singles" would still have been published, I think, and so the Polish publisher would still have bought the Polish rights. I think I would have made a career out of being "Seraphic Single" --eventually caving in and monetising the blog, etc. But until that was enough to live on, I would have gone to work for a Catholic publishing company in Toronto, and I might even being attempting to sing a new church into being--although on the other hand, I think I might have ended up going to one of the Oratorians' churches.

    The solemn part of all this speculation, though, is that B.A. might have just died in 2017, depending on whether or not he had a woman around to sign him up with the local medical centre, tell him to see a doctor, and nagged at the doctors when he was clearly--and mysteriously--wasting away. So really, it doesn't bear thinking about.

  3. Indeed, I remember thinking that very thought when you were writing about how ill he was and your sister-in-law pulling doctor rank too. Women are tigers defending someone we love, fierce in a way, very fierce. I am surprised you didn't write that you would likely have married a nice chap over in Canada had you stayed there! Thanks be to God BA is well and happy, may He give ye decades together yet. Sinéad.