Appreciating our teachers, last-minute First Communion party prep, homemade s’mores, and more (7 Quick Takes)

~1~

It was Teachers Appreciation Week this week, and I’m not sure I’ve ever sent more than a note to a teacher before. This year, though, I decided to write each of our boys’ homeroom teachers a letter telling them exactly how grateful I am for each of them.

Our family transitioned to a new school in the fall, and I was very worried. Did I hide it well? At all? No? Well, the experience has definitely exceeded my expectations.

Writing to my younger son’s second grade teacher brought me to tears. He has made such amazing strides this year. Much of that is because of the resources that are available to him at his school. But a big part of it is that the teachers he has encountered believe in him. They understand him. They celebrate him. And he is thriving.

You can read his note above yourself.

~2~

Tomorrow our second grader receives his First Communion. I’m so excited for him.

He seems to be both excited and nervous, which I think is a perfectly normal way to feel the night before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time.

I reminded him tonight that Jesus is even more excited about tomorrow than he is.

~3~

I am both excited and nervous for our little boy and for our celebration afterward, which could absolutely be better organized, but not if it’s happening in May, which is the Month of Everything. I am not sure I should be waiting until tomorrow to do everything at the last minute, but I wouldn’t want to skip writing quick takes to make a veggie tray. And those, like quick takes, are always best made the same day.

At some point this week I decided we had to serve an enormous sub. Daniel loves Italian cold cut subs, and having a sub that is almost as big as he is somehow seemed like a fantastic idea—to him and me, that is. And that’s why we’re having a 3-foot sub at his party.

~4~

Our azaleas are blooming just in time for this weekend! I can’t wait to see whether I can get some nice photos of the boys—and especially our First Communicant—in front of the beautiful flowers.

And hooray for a great forecast! It means we will miss out on the guests with baseball games, but it also means that the children can play outside, if they want to. And that tends to work well for the children and the adults.

~5~

The other day when our fourth grader was playing a video game on the Wii, he sounded upset. I listened to him for a while and tried to ignore the video-game-playing agony, but finally I gave up.

“If it’s making you so upset, maybe you should stop playing,” I said.

“Mom,” he said. “Just because something is frustrating doesn’t mean you should stop doing it.”

I can’t argue with that.

~6~

All the grocery stores seem to have s’mores displays right now. I don’t know whether that’s because everyone is camping or using fire pits all of a sudden. We aren’t doing either, but I figured we could make s’mores somehow at home.

It turns out you can make them in the microwave in about 10 seconds. Daniel couldn’t believe his luck.

I’m sure s’mores taste better when made with marshmallows toasted over a campfire, but these were fast, easy, and not all that messy. Daniel told me they were “epic.”

~7~

We had our last day of faith formation last Sunday, complete with an ice cream party. My favorite part was when—at the direction of the program leader—the children in each class gathered around their teachers and prayed over them. It was so sweet and touching to listen to their little voices praying for me.

I don’t know how much of an impact my co-teacher and I have had on our group this year, but I like to think we have planted a few seeds that will take root. It has been so wonderful to watch our second grade class grow. And tomorrow some of them will receive the Eucharist for the first time with my son.

I can’t wait.

You can find more quick takes at This Ain’t the Lyceum. And if Mother’s Day is a difficult day for you in any way, please know that you will be in my prayers this weekend.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.