7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 28)

— 1 —

When I looked at all the volunteer possibilities for Leo’s school, the only one I thought I could manage was the Bake Sale Committee. So I signed up. Then this week after I received my first baking assignment, I found myself standing in an un-air-conditioned kitchen on one of the hottest nights I can remember. The idea of baking made me feel ill. So I didn’t bake.

Instead, the next morning Leo and I went to the grocery store on our way to school. I let him pick out some store-made cookies. He carefully counted them out and then chose a chocolate doughnut for himself. We spent $6.12—including the 79 cents for the doughnut.

When we arrived at school, Leo told me that he would carry the box of cookies—and he did, proudly and carefully. I am certain he was more excited about them than he would have been if I had baked the pineapple cupcakes I had planned.

“Is it someone’s birthday?” asked a mother who was walking in beside us.

“No,” I said. “I was supposed to bake for Back-to-School Night, but I just couldn’t. It was too hot. So we bought cookies instead.”

I glanced at her to see whether she was judging my mothering skills. After all, I had failed at the one volunteer opportunity I took on. Instead she seemed to be smiling back.

“Why should you bake?” she said. “What a waste of time! And don’t those look wonderful!”

Maybe I can complete my term on the Bake Sale Committee without being ostracized by my fellow mothers.

— 2 —

Our new parish has a nursery for younger children to attend during Mass, and I tried to persuade Daniel to stay there on Sunday while the rest of us attended Mass. He wanted nothing to do with it. So he went to Mass.

Because my theory is that our sons behave better when they are not sitting in the same pews, Daniel and I sat separately from John and Leo. Even then our half of the family did not do particularly well. In fact, it may have been an all-time low. It’s hard to say.

That afternoon, though, as we were decorating the birthday cake for the Blessed Mother, Daniel started singing “Glory to God in the Highest.”

The next morning he said, “I want to go to church again and pray to God.” How can I say no to that?

— 3 —

On Sunday our family of four ended up in the same pew after Communion, and at the end of Mass, I stepped out of the pew, and Leo followed me. Then he dropped onto one knee and made a beautiful sign of the cross. I was astounded. We have shown him how to genuflect many times, but he had never done it on his own.

“You know how to genuflect!” I whispered. “That was great!”

“Mama,” he said, “I learned that when we went to Mass at school. My eighth grader taught me.”

That makes sense. An eighth grade boy will be able to teach him all kinds of things his mother can’t teach him.

— 4 —

Picking up two boys from two different schools takes a bit of time and coordination. The other night I decided to pick up Daniel from preschool and then go to Leo’s school.

When I got there, it felt late, and I thought Leo would complain. Instead he said, “Mama, you should always do it this way. Then I don’t have to spend a half-a-half-an-hour driving to the other school, and then get out of my seatbelt to go inside, and then spend another half-a-half-an-hour to drive to Grandma’s house.”

I was so happy that my new method worked for everyone. So the next afternoon I did the same thing.

When I had both boys belted in the car and we were pulling away, I was silently congratulating myself on getting everyone on time. Then I heard Leo from the back seat.

“Mama, why did you take so long?” he said. “I thought I would go to heaven before you got here!”

— 5 —

The other night Daniel was looking out the window with his father, and he asked, “How did the moon get in the sky?”

“God put it there,” John told him.

Daniel thought about that for a moment. Then he asked, “How did God reach up so high?”

— 6 —

If all goes well with our settlement today, John and I will be homeowners again before the end of the day. There’s a lot to be said for not having a mortgage, and we have really been spoiled living with my parents. (I’m not sure they would say the same, unless they consider not needing alarm clocks to be a bonus.) I can’t believe I’ll have to start cooking dinner again.

But it will also be good for us to have a home of our own again. That should happen in a couple weeks or so. We’re going to do some painting and floor refinishing first. So here’s the question: If you want to paint and have your floors refinished, which do you do first? Could the dust from the floors get stuck in the paint? And is it an issue that Leo wants the boys’ bedroom to be painted black and Daniel wants it to be painted pink?


— 7 —

Are you following the terribly sad stories about children whose adoptive families decided they couldn’t raise them and handed them off to people who apparently had some serious issues? It’s heartbreaking.

Much as I can’t imagine having to make the decision to find a new home for a child adopted into our family, I do understand that sometimes it is in a child’s and family’s best interest for the child to be placed with a new family. But not making sure the new family is thoroughly vetted and that everything is above board—and that the child will be safe, above everything else—is incomprehensible.

For more quick takes see Jen’s blog.

Catholic Review

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