Catholic Family Vignettes

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


November 2015

It will be all right…

The sky, heavy and gray, wept softly and steadily…seemingly spilling its own sorrow as she poured out hers to the God of Heaven.


It seemed all the rain that fell upon the earth that day was mirrored in her own heart and soul.   Disturbed by chaos and uncertainty in her life, she begged God for an answer, any answer that would dispel the clouds of doubt and fear.

Head pressed upon the window pane, shadowed rivulets traced in the tracks of her tears, she waited for His answer and was met with silence.

A tug upon the hem of her sweater…small hands reaching out to her and a little voice, lisping:  “why you cry, Grandma?  Don’t cry…it will be all right.”  Her heart touched by her tiny granddaughter’s encouragement, she lifted the little girl in her arms, turning back towards the rain-soaked vista beyond the glass.



Rainbow, rainbow, rainbow.  A glorious rainbow filling the sky and in her heart the God-whisper:  

“It will be all right.”

From that day on the rainbow would bring them both great joy, a sign of God’s whispered promise, a story shared by that Grandmother when the little girl wasn’t so very little and in the midst of her own storm.

November 6th, 2014

That little girl-now-woman sped quickly on the interstate, her heart filled with joy at the prospect of the arrival of her newest grandson, jubilant to celebrate this precious little life.


A few clouds and the hint of rain…and then a rainbow.  Right there…a rainbow, reflected in the misty droplets covering the windshield.  The remembered promise…and then a skip of her heart.  Grandma.  Grandma hadn’t been well.  Her last visit left her with the painful realization that Grandma’s very tired body and well-prepared soul, were anxious to be done with this earth.

At that moment, she knew…today would be the day.  The day that she might have to leave the child-bed for the death-bed.  As she rejoiced with her daughter in the beauty of a newborn life and love, she left her dearest ones to hasten to another city, where she felt sure her grandmother would depart for an infinitely more beautiful City.

She arrived in the city at 3:00 p.m., the hour of Mercy.  She prayed…prayed that she would be there in time for the sake of her mama…hopeful that the two of them would together pray Grandma to the place of eternal rest and the end of earthly suffering.



Moments later, running the halls and rushing breathless into her mother’s arms, they wept together, facing the inevitable loss of the woman so beloved by them both.  Mama was scared, the love for her mother had filled her life and she had served her so faithfully, with particular tenderness during those last years.  Letting go…letting go was hard.  Kneeling by her bedside, praying the Psalms, that once-little-girl watched her very own mama lean down close, looking into the blue eyes that were a mirror of her own, and she whispered…

”Mama…when you see Jesus…you RUN to HIM!” 

And she was gone.

Wiping the single tear on her soft cheek, that little girl who had once promised her grandmother that “it will be all right,” now kissed her forehead, closing those beautiful blue eyes that had looked so lovingly upon her for so long.  And it was all right…as right as it could ever be.

There have been quite a few storms in the year since her Grandma left.  But there have been rainbows, almost as often as the storms, and she can feel her Grandma’s presence each and every time she gazes upon the rainbow and often hears her dear voice saying, “don’t cry…it will be all right.”


I love you, Grandma.  God rest your precious soul

Your Kimmie

See how they’ve grown…

Oh, be still my heart.  Where has the time gone?



There were days, some long and hard, when it seemed that the worry, care and strife of raising these young ones, would never end.

Never once did I wish it away…yet…there were days that I longed for what seemed the simplicity of independence and ability.


And now they are there.  Moving swiftly past me, growing and changing…leaving me in a state of shock and awe as I contemplate this part of the journey, so near its end.


Six years.  That is all.  Six years until I’m the mom of nine adult children…nine children over the age of eighteen.  It leaves me breathless…for I am already breathless with the love that fills my heart for the last of my little brood.  These four.  These precious four who share all things…they spend all their time together and bring me a kind of joy I relish as never before.


See how they’ve grown?  I can hardly bear it.  But I’m so proud of their goodness and love.  So proud to have them share my days…


Five have moved up and on…adults with the world of possibilities before them.  These four…they are perched on the brink of that same world…and I just want to push the pause button.  I don’t want to miss a single minute…and would do it all over again, without hesitation.

There are days I miss their toothless grins…those grimy faces and Lego messes (well…maybe not the Lego messes!  I think we still have those 😉  But I so love who they are and I pray that I may continue to impart daily virtue and love, while I still have that privilege.



The pondering heart…

There’s that moment of vulnerability, when the words hit the page and you can’t take them back.


When years have passed, when the “pondering heart” moves from silence to contemplation to revelation.


Well, my friends.  It has has been quite an adventure that my not-so-little family has lived these nearly two years.  An unexpected Christmas Eve gift in the return of a daughter, long estranged and a victim of horrific domestic violence…then the valiant and heartrending 6 month battle fought by this family to bring her children here. The necessary protective silence, to keep these young women hidden and secure, while we continued to help them rebuild through much suffering.  Some wounds are so deep, so hidden, so painful…the process of overcoming 13 years of torment is no small thing…and the work of it?  Ongoing.


But there have been many joys, as well.  Baptisms and Confessions.  First Holy Communions and Confirmations.  Death and birth in the same day.  Family reunions and birthday celebrations.  Holidays never before shared…the beauty of a Catholic culture that four little girls had never known existed, a life apart from what they had ever known.





Our family is altered…and a little rocked at times by the transformation and cooperation necessary for thirteen people to share one home.  It is loud, messy, busy and distracting.  And the answer to years and years of prayers and sacrifice offered by every member of this family.  Years of prayers, answered in the most unexpected way, but at the perfect time.


I’m working towards finding the words again.  Towards emptying my heart of all these treasures, pondered upon for so long.  I must…to make room for so many other things true, good, and beautiful.  Rejoice with us, this hard but answered prayer, would you?  Our God is a God of miracles and surprises and I’m living one I never thought I’d live to see.



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