7 quick takes Friday (Vol. 16)

— 1 —

If you aren’t already praying for Teresa, please add your voice to the thousands around the globe who are asking God to heal her heart.
Teresa’s story began in China and led her to Catonsville, Md., where in August 2010 she became the 11th member of the Bartlinski family. Our parish, St. Mark’s, supported Ann and Ed Bartlinski when they made the decision to bring her home.
Despite what doctors had initially told her family, Teresa defied the odds and was able to be listed for a heart transplant. She received a new heart early this week and her mother was honest with us from the beginning. Teresa was high-risk and she needed a miracle.
We have spent the week praying for a child who has been in our prayers for three years. On Tuesday my sister Treasa introduced me to the nine-hour novena to the Infant of Prague. That evening I joined a packed St. Mark’s Chapel for a prayer service for Teresa. Many, many, many people are storming heaven for this sweet girl with a vibrant personality and a fighting spirit.
Teresa is having surgery again on Monday and the surgeon seems more optimistic. But in a best-case scenario Teresa is looking at a long road to recovery, and she, her parents, three brothers, and five sisters need our prayers.
Teresa’s mother is posting updates on the Pray for Teresa B group on Facebook and on the family blog, where you can also find information about contributing financially to the family’s expenses, if you feel called to do so. We are looking forward to a fundraiser for Teresa at Peace A Pizza in Catonsville from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26. (And the lovely photo is courtesy of Ann Bartlinski.)
Meanwhile, we will continue to pray.
— 2 —

Teresa and her family—and the donor’s family—have been so much on my mind that it’s hard to believe Father’s Day was this past Sunday. But mentioning pizza reminds me that the boys and I celebrated the day by taking Baba to one of his favorite restaurants, Matthew’s Pizza.
Perhaps to make sure Baba enjoyed his fair share, Leo and Daniel merely picked at their slices.

The highlight of their meal was getting Skittles out of the candy machine. Don’t they look sweet buying their Skittles?

The next moment the little metal door opened and the Skittles rattled across the floor. I should have taken a video.
Nutritionally it wasn’t our finest day, but Baba was happy. And since he spent the rest of the day cleaning like crazy for a prospective buyer who was viewing the house the next day, we owe him at least another outing. Or a few more hugs and kisses.
— 3 —
Yes, we are trying to sell our house. So far, this is what I’ve learned:
A.       Nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Your husband will have a child in the bathtub and call downstairs, “Where are the bath toys?” and you’ll say, “Oh, they’re in the cooler in the car.” I hid all the wipes, which we use even though no one wears diapers here. There’s a baseball in the kitchen drawer. To be honest, though, the baseball has been there for a while, and I don’t remember why.
B.       You can’t actually live in your house anymore. The other day Leo reached up to wipe his hands on the bathroom towels, and I panicked. Wipe your hands? On the beautifully clean towels? And then I did a double-take. This is our 5-year-old who doesn’t even like to wash his hands. Let’s celebrate small victories.
C.       Paper plates, paper cups, and paper bowls are worth their weight in gold. Maybe other families don’t leave dirty cereal bowls in the sink as they sprint for the door in the morning. I’m just happy that the bowls are in the sink.
D.       You look at your house through a whole different lens when you know strangers will see it. It suddenly occurs to me that someone might question why we have flyswatters as a key part of our décor. Not that I care, though I wonder whether they will think we have a fly infestation.

— 4 —
We have a turtle living in our yard. The boys think this is fantastic. He arrived on Sunday and we have seen him two or three times since. I much prefer him to the black snake who hung out in the yard last summer.

Meanwhile, the boys came home from school the other day with a story about a baby deer who had been crying outside the school. They said one of the teachers had taken it home. I confirmed their story, and learned that one of the teachers is nursing it with a baby bottle at home.
Baby deer are cute, but I’d rather have a turtle—especially one I don’t have to feed. Do you know what kind it is? Does it add value to our house?
— 5 —
We finally took down the crib. We knew we had to do it, but Daniel was sleeping so soundly in it that I didn’t want to move him permanently to a big bed.
Putting the crib away was quite an event, and the boys were very happy to be part of the process.

Then this week during bedtime prayers, Daniel started praying for “my crib.”
“I miss it,” he said.
“What did you like about it?” I asked him.
“The sides,” he said.
Ah, yes. That’s what I miss about it, too.
— 6 —
When I picked the boys up from preschool one day this week, we couldn’t find Leo’s toy airplane—his SR-71 Blackbird. Perhaps you, like Leo, know that it’s the fastest plane ever made.
I told Leo not to worry, that we’d find it the next day.
As we started hunting for it this morning, a teacher reached into the back of the cubby of one of Leo’s classmates and there it was.
“How did it get there?” Leo asked—all innocence and wonder.
I was pretty sure I knew, but I didn’t want to tell him his classmate had taken it, especially when I didn’t know that for sure. But the teachers saw his classmate’s face when we found it. They talked with the class about stealing.
On the way home, Leo was still talking about it, trying to figure out why his classmate—his friend—would take one of his favorite toys. We talked about how stealing is wrong, but I also thought I’d plant a seed that might help him understand his friend’s perspective a bit. 

“He probably likes your airplane…I mean, your SR-71 a lot,” I said. “And he doesn’t have everything you have.”
“No,” Leo said, “he doesn’t. He has that really big truck, and we don’t have anything like that.”
Hmm. I’m pretty sure he missed my point. Still, it’s a hard lesson for a 5-year-old. I don’t think I learned that kind of lesson at that age.
— 7 —
One of my favorite things about summertime is that my commute improves. But it hasn’t. It’s no better than it was during the worst of the rest of the year.

This is a mystery. I assume the schools have finally let out for the summer, and that should take teachers and others off of the roads. Yet the traffic is still no lighter than it was a month or two ago. And the boys and I are inching along through traffic in our quest to get home in time to eat dinner and play before they have to go to bed.
This is why we are trying to sell our house and move. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll just need to buy a helicopter. Or maybe I can get my hands on an SR-17 Blackbird.
You can read more quick takes on Jen’s blog.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.