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.