Meeting new twin cousins, a free car seat, funeral preparations, and a Thomas Merton quote (7 Quick Takes)


We dropped in on our new twin nephews and cousins this week. They are absolutely precious. Daniel is still waiting to meet them because he has the remains of a cold, but Leo had the chance to see them and thought they were so little and cute. And they are. If I blink, they’ll be playing baseball with our boys. But let’s not rush things. Let’s keep them little for a while.


While we were waiting for the twins to be born, I entered a car seat giveaway on another blog, and I won. I was shocked. I never win anything, but here I won an infant car seat. By the time it arrived, Treasa and her husband, George, already had car seats for both boys. And we had this enormous, beautiful car seat in our living room.

So we decided to donate it instead. I emailed the Pregnancy Center North, which has been on York Road in Towson for 35 years, and I received an email back within minutes. They would love to have it! I delivered it myself the next day, and they told me how the mothers-to-be who come there go to classes to earn “money” toward equipment like our car seat.

It is exciting to imagine an expectant mother being so proud to have such a beautiful seat for her child—and exciting to picture a baby inside it. I asked them to let me know if it went to a boy or a girl so I could let our sons know. They were very curious about the whole process—beginning with a large car seat arriving at our doorstep.


My brother-in-law Eric’s funeral is this weekend. That’s a phrase that I still can’t quite get my mind around. I have been touched and overwhelmed by all the expressions of sympathy our friends and family have extended to my sister and even to us.

I keep thinking of memories of Eric, things I haven’t thought of in years. Yesterday I was remembering how much our family dog, Flurry, adored Eric, and how he loved her right back. He was allergic to dogs, but he loved to visit with her outside.

Flurry was amazing, but she was also very introverted, and she didn’t like many people. She was a one-family dog. But as I recall, she loved Eric from the first time Maureen brought him to visit us in Baltimore.

I imagine Flurry went running to greet Eric when he arrived in Heaven and then flopped down on the ground for a belly rub, her tail wagging all the time. I miss them both.


As we were preparing for the funeral, we had our boys try on their clothes, and naturally nothing fit. So we went shopping.

I was astonished how opinionated Leo was on just which clothes to pick. He wanted specific shoes and carefully selected a black suit.

We were driving home when he explained that he wanted to look nice because Uncle Eric always dressed nicely.

And that is true.


It’s also true that having these tasks to prepare for the funeral is helping give us all something to do. I designed the prayer cards, and I was so happy with how they came together—especially since I am not actually a designer. I just happen to have designer friends who give good advice.

I do think I spent much more time on the prayer cards than necessary. But I was happy to have something to do.



My niece Eileen, who is 14, is participating in a poetry slam Friday evening, and she invited me to participate since we will be visiting for the funeral. So I’m going, of course, with poems in hand. I am not good at letting my nieces down.

I wanted to read my Ode to Salmon Pie, which was taped to the wall of my parents’ kitchen for more than a decade. But they redid the kitchen, and somehow the crinkled piece of paper was removed from the wall.

Luckily I have a few other options. I’ll let you know how it goes.


This week I found myself reading about Thomas Merton, and I realized I have not spent much time learning about him.

I came across this wonderful quote: “Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true. ”

I hope you will see the divine shining through the world today.



Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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.