Happy trails, a rainbow after a storm, homework troubles, balloons, and more (7 Quick Takes Friday)

1

Our sons don’t do any extracurricular activities. Now and then I feel guilty about the fact that they aren’t playing baseball or soccer—or even taking Mandarin. But since John and I both work full-time, I don’t want anything to intrude on our family time.

Besides, our boys are so young—4 and 6—and I have this fear that once we start down this road, we’ve committed to it. And then there will be sports and music and art and language and Cub Scouts and who knows what else.

The other day my colleagues started talking about how you have to volunteer to bring snacks for baseball practice and it’s required for parents to stay and watch.

My parents, who had six children, had a theory that if you were good enough to play, another parent or the coach would make sure you got to the field. And it worked. My brothers always caught a ride or walked to the field. But today you have to go—and you have to bring snacks? No, thank you. I can barely keep up with what I have to send in for the kindergarten activities.



For now, I think we can have just as much fun in our backyard. One day maybe our sons will blame me when they don’t make it into the Major Leagues, but I’m content to have weekends to ourselves.

2

Last weekend because we had no baseball practice to attend, we headed to a playground and went for a brief hike on a trail.


Obviously you can’t walk a trail without the biggest stick you can find.



“I feel like Joseph walking into Bethlehem,” Leo said. And they trudged around with their staffs, enjoying being outside after a long winter.



3

This has been the wettest spring in Baltimore. No, I don’t have actual statistics to prove that, but we had waterfalls running through our yard two nights ago when much of the area flooded. There was even a landslide in the city, right near the offices of our agency, Catholic Charities, and we have friends who live two blocks from there. We have stood near there with our boys watching the trains go by below street-level.

Leo assured me that God had promised never to flood the world again, but there was some intense rain. Then last night as I was leaving the office, I looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow.

Leo was so disappointed to miss seeing it.

“Maybe a rainbow is a circle,” he said, “and it goes all the way around the world, even to China.”

Maybe.



4

Leo came home last night with an assignment. He has to create a timeline of his life with pictures, including one from his birth.

The thing is, though, that not every child has a similar life experience. Not every child has photos of his birth. Some children don’t even know their birth dates. Many have gaps in their stories.

This was designed to be a beautiful project to celebrate life and family, but I was worried. For one thing, our children’s stories from those first parts of their lives are their stories to share or keep to themselves. Then I started thinking of Leo fielding questions about adoption from his classmates. We certainly talk about adoption and try to prepare him, but it’s a lot for a 6-year-old to discuss with his peers.

Then a friend suggested that we just let Leo pick six milestone moments he wanted to include and not worry about whether we included his birth as part of the story.

He chose meeting Mama and Baba, his first airplane ride, his baptism, his first big snowstorm, meeting his little brother, and winning a chocolate bunny at our parish Easter egg hunt.



I wrote to his teacher to let her know so that next time maybe the assignment could be worded in a more inclusive way, and she wrote back immediately and with the support I knew she would offer. We have Leo in the right place. These projects will always crop up, as one did for Daniel last fall, and we will just have to be ready.

Meanwhile, I see that next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. We’ll be breaking out our floral flyswatter craft for Leo’s teacher! How do you show teachers your appreciation? I will be looking for ideas for Daniel’s preschool teachers.

5

It was “L week” at school, so Leo got a balloon with L’s on the outside and regular air on the inside to celebrate. He rubbed it against his hair and threw it against the ceiling in our house and it stayed there all day. He finally asked me to take it down. Who knew static electricity was so powerful?



6

On Easter Sunday the priest who said our Mass assigned us a simple task. He told us to smile. I’ve been trying to smile more, but I haven’t been doing this as well as I would like. So I’m going to make this a goal for the week. I’m going to smile more at everyone, at my children, at my husband, at strangers on the street. Want to join me?

And speaking of smiles, I think this bear has a great one.

What do you think is happening in this photo? Is it time for another contest to write a story about a boy, a bear, and a bunch of balloons? It is definitely my best bloggable photo of Daniel this week.

7

My birthday is Coffee Milkshake Day! Yum, yum, yum. What ridiculous food day is your birthday? 

See more quick takes at Jen’s Conversion Diary! Speaking of Jen, have you heard about her book, Something Other Than God, published this week? I am waiting for my copy so I can read her conversion story. And if I mention it here, I have a chance to win a banana suit!

 
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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

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