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Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family

Month

February 2011

Mending…

She sleeps…her eyelashes heavy upon pale cheeks, her breathing easy, slow for the first time in 24 hours…

She lies on her side, curled around three small incisions, one hand draped through the rail on the hospital bed.  She is at peace.  I am at peace…for the first time in 24 hours.

It happened so quickly.  Dinner with the beloved Grands and the Great.  Within minutes, abdominal pain…within hours severe enough to double her over.   As the adults discussed theories and options, she fell asleep, clutching her teddy bear, seemingly improved.  I felt uneasy.  I didn’t sleep.  In the morning, in between that place of dreams and wakefulness, I heard a voice say:  you know what you must do…wake up…you must take her now…

I wake from this “dream.”  She is sleeping, peacefully, upon the small sofa in my room.  I wake her…she stretches and smiles…says she feels better…will I fix her some eggs?

I push the “voice” away.  She’s fine!  And then I see her.  On the sofa, curled around pain, writhing in agony from the simple movement of coming down the stairs.  Within minutes, we’re dressed…Mother, Father and child…journeying to the hospital for what we now sense is inevitable:

Appendicitis.

The diagnosis comes quickly, as does a dose of morphine to dull the excruciating pain.  Then the papers.  Risks.  Dangers.  Do you consent?  Please sign beside the “x.”

Hail, Mary…full of grace…beads slip through fingers and his hand seeks mine.

We wait and then praise God with the news that she is safe.  The appendix has not ruptured.  No infection.  No complications.  She will mend…

And she is…mending.  And watching movies while we watch her.  Her hair is up in a twist…her eyes, two dark orbs in that pale, thin face…but looking ever so much better than just a few hours ago.  She smiles and tells the nurse her pain level is a “2.”

And I praise God.  And thank Him.  Thank Him for:

~her trust and tears and whispered “I love you” as I held her while she was sick and trembling in the hospital bathroom…

~the kindness of doctors and nurses who are only too familiar with the pain and fear of parents and patients…

~her crumpled shape, resting easy upon white sheets, a teddy bear tucked under her arm…

~Grandparents who bring comfort and order and keep home and hearts and hope during our absence…

~Friends who pray…who encourage and lift up when tension and stress creep in to threaten peace and joy…

I praise Him and thank Him for life…for the bittersweetness of suffering that brings such beautiful gifts…

Blessings from Children’s Hospital,

The best Valentine’s Day card…EVER!!

There’s nothing quite like a large dose of humor, perfectly executed and presented in the most understated way…

We returned home from this afternoon’s party with our beautifully decorated box, chock full of Valentine’s Day cards.   The children could hardly wait to get home, exclaiming over this one and that one, and, of course, quickly gobbling every last piece of candy before Mom even got a look.

“Hey…Mom…there’s a card in here for you.  It’s from the Cooks…”  came a voice from the kitchen.

“Oh, how sweet!  That Lucy…she’s just too much…”  I said.  Little did I know the depths of her “sweetness”, until I opened her homemade card and spied this:

Yeah…that’s my dazzling man…thirty years ago!  She hi-jacked the image from either my blog or my facebook account, and…well…there you have it!  What a hunk… check out those sweet half-tint aviator frames…and that delicately hi-lighted and feathered hair…what a doll baby!

I laughed.  And laughed.  And coughed…and then laughed some more.   This is, without doubt, the best card EVER…though I daresay I dispute the sentiments expressed…

Rock on, Lucy.  Hallmark called…they have a job for you…managing their new “Sarcasm Line!”

Blessings,

A Blessed and Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Good morning!

Taken on Saturday...all puddles now!

It is a beautiful day, isn’t it?

The long, cold winter has loosened its grip…the snow is melting…the fields have become lakes and marshes.  Ah…Spring!  You’re right around the corner, aren’t you?  Thank you, for giving us a preview of things to come…

This morning, I rose extra early, to take my two young men to meet with a group of young people who will be delivering thousands of red heart balloons to Ohio state Representatives and Judges.   The Heartbeat Bill would provide protection for life at its earliest stages…upon the detection of a heartbeat.  After all, a beating heart signifies life, doesn’t it?  Please pray for the success of this bill.  And for my good young men.  Last week, my 14 year old barred the door against pro-abort protesters attempting to gain entry to the room where the press conference was taking place…his 17 year old brother was awed by his bravery and refusal to be moved until security arrived to escort the group from the building.  I can’t think of a better way to spend St. Valentine’s Day than to protect a beating heart…

As for the rest of my little “Valentines”…we shared a lovely breakfast of scromblets:

And we’ll journey this afternoon to a homeschool skating party…nearly 200 adults and children will be in attendance!  This will be our first interaction in more than a year with a homeschool group.  Still counting my blessings…

So…off to complete a few chores.  The Grands and the Great are coming for a visit on Wednesday, big sister Meredith will arrive the following Monday.  Much to do to ready home and hearth for our guests.

May God bless you, dear friends, this St. Valentine’s Day and every day!

Blessings,

Just like you…

Our family travel dilemmas are finally at an end!  After one full year of utilizing separate vehicles…no family trips, etc…

We are now the proud owners of a vehicle more than large enough to convey the entire family anywhere and everywhere we need to be…but, most importantly, we can all travel TOGETHER…all of us…in one vehicle…to Mass!

Need I express my great joy?  I’m sure many of you know the difficulties that the past year’s disability has entailed…but most especially, the occasions when only a few family members were able to attend Mass.  It was hard…but, oh, how our appreciation has grown as well as our realization of what a privilege it is to be able to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.   We are blessed…

So.  We now have a vehicle…a large, 4WD Expedition that more than comfortably seats all 8 of us.  The children…oh, to see their faces…were all delight when Daddy pulled up in the driveway in this monstrous vehicle.  Sick as they were, they begged for a ride.  Daddy was amenable to the idea and before long a group of coat-wrapped and coughing children were safely ensconced within the confines of the new “family truckster…”

Click.

“Hey…where’s my seatbelt?  Move over…you’re touching me!  Why does he have to sit up there?  Hey…how come I have to sit back here!  I feel carsick…”

All within 5 minutes of the first ride!   Raised eyebrows from mom and dad.  Threats.  Warnings.

We stopped for gas.

“Please guys…get used to this!  After a year!!  I’d think you’d be much more cooperative!!  Think what a blessing this is!  Please…be kind, for Daddy’s sake!  He’ll  be back inside the vehicle…let’s surprise him with a little kindness and consideration…”  This was my earnest plea.  They quieted down…

…for approximately 2 minutes and then the arguing began again in earnest…Dad entered the vehicle…and the fury came to a peak…

He finally blew his top:

SHUT…UP!!!!!!!!

The forbidden words!  The silence…was deafening.  He seemed as stunned as the children.  I looked at him in surprise…and started to giggle.  Then laughed…

They all looked at me like I’d lost my mind…

“Congratulations, sweetheart!  We’re now like everyone else traveling anywhere with six children!  And we prayed for this!  And we’ve already thanked God for it so we’d better get used to it!”

That’s right friends…we’re just like you, now.  Traveling down the road with a crazy bunch of kids…with all the complaints and arguments imaginable.   And I couldn’t be happier!

Now let’s hope that tomorrow’s ride to Mass doesn’t become a near occasion of sin for the entire family…

Blessings,

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