Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finding The Blueberry Hat

My oldest grandson hates wearing hats. He pulls them off immediately. They bother him. Except for the one pictured above-- the blueberry hat, as we call it. (See the little stem on top?) My daughter bought it for him while on a trip to an artsy little town on the West side of Michigan.'s irreplaceable.

Michigan is cold in the winter. And sometimes in the Spring and Fall too. A hat can make a big difference in how warm you feel. For some reason this hat was OK with Blaise. It didn't fit too snug and he seemed to like it.

So, imagine my dismay when, after taking Blaise to an Adoration hour one day, I could not find the hat as we were preparing to leave. I looked everywhere. The chapel was not that large. I went down each of the aisles. So did my friend Mary Ellen with whom I share the assigned hour. We could not find it. Did he wear it in? I was sure he had. Did we drop it in the parking lot? I went out in the pouring rain to retrace my steps. I looked in every nook and cranny of the car. It was nowhere. The chapel was in a school so I talked to the secretary who helped me look in the lost and found and other likely places. Nowhere. I could not believe I had lost the blueberry hat, the only hat my dear little grandson loves. I went home thoroughly dejected and still praying fervently to Saint Anthony, my good friend.

I kept picturing the chapel thinking about the unlikely places it could have ended up. When my younger daughter came home I asked it she could babysit while I went back and looked again. My eyes glanced over to a few chairs that were stacked. I looked more closely, front and back, and saw that there was a little space between each chair, an opening. Then I checked each stacked pair. Sure enough. On about the third one, in the little opening, there was the blueberry hat. Only Saint Anthony could have found that hat. Blaise had toddled around the chapel and must have stuck it in there, as toddlers love to do.

I texted the above photo to my friend Mary Ellen who had also been petitioning Saint Anthony. Blueberry hat found. Yea!

Why was I so consumed with finding that hat? Was it because I didn't want to be the irresponsible grandma? Was it that I didn't want it to be my fault that his little head would get cold with no hat on? Was it pride? 

There was probably some of all of that. But there was another reason: I love the boy who loves the blueberry hat.

Thank you, Saint Anthony. Thank you, Lord, for hearing Saint Anthony's pleas for this grandma.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Our entire family: Mike and me, all of our six children, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and two grandsons. And, yes, this will probably be the Christmas card photo.
What is it, for mothers, about having the family all together? All mothers understand the feeling. When you say, "All my children were there," another mother will respond, "Nice!" with a genuine, contented smile. They know what you mean, even if none of us can articulate it. There's something special about having the family all together. (By the way, I'm talking about the above photo when all of my children were indeed together for dinner after Mary's graduation.)

Before the oldest leaves home, it is the ordinary situation, the norm. Once they start leaving, it changes. And when all the children are adults, the occasion becomes a rarity.

Why does it matter? What difference does it make if they're all together at the same time. It matters because a mother always feels the absence of whoever is not there. When someone is missing there is a hole. It doesn't justify fussing or pleading to get everyone there. It's best for mothers of adult children to simply enjoy whatever time you can get with your offspring. They have commitments. Some have in-laws. They have independent lives and we must respect that.

But when the stars align and the rare event occurs, mothers feel an inexplicable warmth and contentment. They're all here. She will scan the room. There is each one. There are the ducklings, all grown up, but back in the row. And mom can hardly keep from smiling. Constantly. They are reunited. The family unit is as it once was and as it always will be in her heart.
Mary displaying the special graduation menu at Weber's.
Newest grandson Joey with his mom and dad.
Oldest grandson Blaise with his father, the funniest son-in-law in the world.

It seemed that everyone would be at this celebration but Liz, who was on RA duty at Western and did not have a sufficient window of free time to make the trip. But she surprised us. She borrowed a car from a friend and made a whirlwind trip to join us!

Below: Liz and John admire their newest nephew Joey. John is actually showing him his grandfather's (my father's) University of Michigan class ring which he wore for the occasion. And if that were not enough to make me all teary-eyed, Liz is wearing an outfit that belonged to my mother. I had the strange sense that this was a reminder of my parents' presence with us.

My daughters and I...

And since I love the picture so much, here it is again. All thirteen of us. God is good. All the time.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mary's Graduation!!

 We have another Michigan grad!! Mary joins her mother, brother, aunt, grandfather, and great-grandfather in the ranks of Michigan alumni. My father always hoped that one of his grandchildren would attend U of M but sadly died before it happened. He now has two grandchildren who have graduated. I can feel his pleasure.

International Studies graduation at the historic Michigan Theatre. Mary had a double major in French and International Studies as well as a pre-health concentration. Essentially, she had no electives and studied very hard.

She was determined to graduate the year of the 200th anniversary of the University of Michigan and she pulled it off. Here was the graduation from the Big House. (U of M football stadium, the largest college football stadium in the world, seats over 107,000 people.)

We had a good showing of family members, including Mike, his wife Esther, and our youngest grandson Joey from South Bend, Indiana.

Couldn't be prouder of this girl.

Someone kindly took a photo of all of us! John would join us later and only Liz was not going to be able to make the festivities. (More on that in the next post.)

AND....the icing on the cake! Mary decorated her cap with flowers and the words, 
"Thanks, Mom and Dad."
I get all teary-eyed thinking about it even now. God is good. Go Blue!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Easter Egg Hunt!

 Haven't been blogging for a bit so there are some life events to catch up on...One very significant one was Blaise's first Easter egg hunt at our house.

 He did pretty well, with a little help...

But it's also fun to dump the eggs out. Of course.

 We always have an Alleluia egg for the egg hunt. It's gold and has ALLELUIA written on it, signifying that it's Easter and we can again say, "Alleluia!" It also usually has an extra special prize.
 Blaise spotted the Alleluia egg!!

 And nabs it, with a little help from Uncle Jim!

 Family pictures.

Turns out Blaise loves peanut butter cups. But then, who doesn't?

My youngest daughters and I. How did they all get so much taller than their mother? (Well, some of it is with the help of heels.)

Mike and I savoring the fun with a new generation.
 It was a glorious day with the Autumn Cherry tree blooming in the background. Alleluia! He is risen. (We Catholics celebrate Easter for 50 days)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Oaklands on the Campus of WMU!

We recently visited my daughter at Western Michigan University and stayed at this bed and breakfast called The Oaklands right on campus.

It is a lovely 23-room Italianate villa. We reserved an individual room for the night, but we had access to the entire home. It was simply gorgeous.

Such a beautiful, historic place, it was just lovely. Read about the history of the home here.

It's quite reasonable to stay here. I was surprised and delighted. And if you're visiting Western Michigan University it could not be more conveniently located.

 Just look at these lovely touches.

If  you're visiting Western Michigan University, this is the place to stay.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Baptism! (With the blessing of Saint Joseph in particular!)

 My youngest grandson was recently baptized Michael Joseph, in St. Joseph Church, on the Saint Joseph River, in St. Joseph County, on the FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH!!!! Yes! He will go by the name "Joey."

 Mom Esther dressing Joey in his family baptismal clothes. Both his mother and father were baptized in these.

 Joey, ready for the sacrament...

 Receiving the waters of Baptism as his godfather, Uncle Jim, stands by.

 It was a beautiful Baptismal font. Heated water!

 Parents and godparents, Uncle Jim and Auntie Ruth.

 There were many families present. And a lot of little ones. I love the little hand on the right in this picture.

 Joey with his parents and grandparents....

                                    Auntie Elle, Uncle Jim, Auntie Mary, and Uncle Paul.

Fun brunch with family and friends afterwards...

 Uncle Zach giving Joey his first chiropractic adjustment.

Ok. A rare photo of me with my brother and sister who both came in for the event. One from Lansing, one from St. Louis.

Great Uncle Rich becoming quite taken with his new grandnephew.

 Great Aunt Maryanne with Joey and the little angel doll she made for him.

 Joey with Auntie Anne as Mom looks on.

 Triptych of the Nativity, a baptismal gift from Uncle Jim, the godfather...

 Joey with his mom and maternal grandfather...

 Cousin Blaise. If you look closely you can see he's trying to fill his father's shoes. Big shoes to fill!

 Joey with his Uncle Paul who is in the Air force and flew in from the west coast.

Auntie Liz with boyfriend Jonathan. 

 The three generations!

 Michael Joseph, Sr.,  Michael Joseph, Jr., and Michael Joseph, III
 Saint Michael and Saint Joseph, pray for them!