13 November 2017

Watching Them Go Through It: Sometimes They Sit the Bench

Dear Kid,

I watched you sit on the bench this weekend.   You were across the court.   My first feelings were of indignation.   I worried that you would be hurt.  I wondered if you knew what was going on.  I saw you look to your coach and wait for the moment you would get called in.

I knew you were tough.  I knew you were an important part of the team.

I was a little bit mad for you .

And then, my child, I thought about How Much you can give.   I saw you high-five your teammate and smile for the team.  I heard you cheer and the mom next to me pointed out how you jumped up and down with joy.  

I realized your work ethic and your amazing selflessness could get through this trial.  Maybe you will kill it at practice this week, and maybe you will show your coach the killer attitude that always accompanies your defense face.   Maybe you will put your mind to working really hard to nail those shots with consistency.  Both of those things, and so much more, are within your potential.

But, Kid, even if none of those come to fruition, you truly can be amazing and a leader on the bench.   Your attitude can lift up your team and be as much a factor for a win as your time on the court.

Remember when we were in the play?   We weren’t the stars, but we saw them backstage.   Sometimes they were nervous and they weren’t sure they were doing it all right.  
But we smiled at them, we reminded them of how they moved us with their voices and jokes.   We cheered them on.

We helped everyone to win.

So, Kid, I hope you learn this season and I hope I get to watch that defense face for many, many minutes of game time.  But if not, let’s go for the bigger win.  You show that team the best of yourself.   The best of how God made you---to help pick others up, sometimes literally on the court.

You are so awesome.   I am so proud of you.

Your, Mom

02 February 2017


When you thought they weren't listening, and instead they were capable of starting a family prayer with the Sign of the Cross in Spanish.

And then they thanked God for their mother and the food she prepared.


05 January 2017

The Day The Dreaded Box Appeared

One by one, they began to pop up in the places we visited.

First, it was the dentists' waiting room, where the children had always happily read books and played with toys.

Then, it was the mall, where a train table and imagination had always been a welcome distraction for our family on a cold winter day.

Next, it was at our swimming lesson spot. The quiet waiting room had been a place for us to catch up on coloring or alphabet puzzles.

And so I ask you, Society: do you want me to raise children who have interests beyond television shows? I ask you, Society: do you see the magnetic power of video and know that you are cultivating slow but sure addiction in each of your tiny members?

Turn off the box. Put it back in your storage room. Save the mothers a fight and allow our children to learn to while away their waiting moments playing, talking, and thinking.

04 January 2017

In the Year of Kindergarten

Down for the count with pneumonia, which means mandated resting for me.  I have been slowing down.   (Almost had to read that again to believe it myself.)  I am taking time to watch the birds and write a bit.

For my to-be-Kindergartening Boy, Frankie

Just up the road.
You walk into the arms of people I know.
And you run home.  You run to embrace me.
You are mine.
Almost time to let you fly,
little sweet boy.
Share your endless laugh and big joy with a greater world!
You have so much to give!
I am so blessed to have held you this close so long.

01 January 2017

For Jimmy, Age 7 in 2015

For Jimmy, Age 7 in 2015

In the year before golden, a boy lay in a cave, reading to himself about superheroes.

He biked down the block, racing from one end to the other, to see which of his best friends was home to play.

He carried a piggy bank up and downstairs, jingling the coins and wondering if the was the same amount of money saved today as yesterday.

In the year before golden, a boy helped to potty-train his little brother.  His mother heard him teaching oh-so-quietly and kindly.

He asked himself and others what Heaven would be like.

In the year before golden, a boy shared with his big brother and sister.  He forgave easily.  He loved deeply.

He believed that great things were possible, even when other people told him they were not.

In the year before golden, a boy with an impish grin wiggled and danced to Uptown Funk and everyone in the car smiled and laughed.

He begged his mother to take the swim test at the pool, and took it one, two, three times, speaking up and asking the lifeguard to open up a test lane, PLEASE, so he could earn the wristband.

He tested to see if his front teeth were loose.  They were not.

In the year before golden, a little boy learned to skip rocks with his Dad.   He wanted to try everything, it seemed.

He sang timidly and beautifully at church and in the car.  He did not know his mother was listening.

He sped down the waterslide and his skin grew so dark that people wondered if he had just come back from a sunny vacation.  He would have answered them, but he was already running off to a new adventure.

In the year before golden, the boy’s heart was so strong that he comforted people, even grown-ups, when they felt sadness.

The boy was a super hero, but he didn’t know it yet.  His mother saw his cape fluttering in the wind.

13 May 2016

A Friday Thanksgiving

Dear Lord,

On this rainy morning, I sit in my car and feel the chill of a cold spring day. I am so happy in this moment.

Thank you, God, for wonderfulness in our family. Even with John traveling for work and long days, I have been able to see my beautiful children for their gifts these last days. You have reached in and given me extra patience to last all day long, snuggling up for a last hug with Lucy and an extra tuck-in for Tommy. Lord, I am so thankful for Jimmy this week. I am thankful for the way You made him, from his current sweet missing tooth grin to his unusually groovy dancing ability in the car on a Friday morning. I am thankful for even the moments when we struggle together. Sometimes in those moments, God, I can feel you giving me an opportunity to love beyond myself.

Are you loving all of us children like that every day, Lord? Surely You are.

God, let me be the woman You designed me to be. Help me to put aside my fears and trust You. Let me be a light for others, especially for the ones closest to me with whom I don't always show my most patient self.


06 April 2016

A Sweet Pick Me Up

The house was chaos this morning. Dirty dishes overflowed from the sink, dirt was on the floor from yesterday's planting project. One kid was hyper and antagonizing the rest. Everyone was loud.

And then came the piano pounding.

Frank was seated on the bench, and I was poised to reprimand him for making my head hurt more than it already did through the chaos.

But here is the song he sang:

My mom is the best.
She can do anything.
She can even call Jesus on the phone.

With tears in my eyes, may I slow down and receive this great comfort in the craziest phase of my life.