Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So, it finally happened

Last Tuesday evening I was sitting in the living room with the three little ones when the two older kids came home from Jr. Tamburitzan's practice. The younger of the two wailing inconsolably and the elder saying, "Why can't we be normal? Why can't we do what normal families do?" (Truth be told, she knows the answer so I think she was just demonstrating some good empathy at that moment.)

I couldn't not giggle. I couldn't. I was astonished that, at 6-and 8-years-old they haven't been around long enough to "get it" but I was very happy for the learning moment as it was presented.

Turns out, on this particular occasion, he was feeling mighty jealous that one of his buddies at Tammies had a phone on which to play Angry Birds (Turns out it was his mom's phone not his but, just the same, good practice for the next time he's out in everyday society and needs a better response. I have no doubt there are 6-year-olds who have their own phone.)

First we discussed the kindness that was shown by said friend by letting said child play/look on in the first place. Then we did some damage control (dad is very overworked these days and responded a bit more abruptly than was probably necessary).

1. You don't have a phone because, at 6, you don't need one. Ask the same question for the next 8 years and you will receive the same answer. If, when you enter high school, you are riding public transit and the possibility arises that you may need to reach us in an emergency, we will revisit this issue.

2. Don't ask for a Kindle/equivalent because the answer will always be the same. If you want to read a book, pick it up and read. We have one of the most amazing library systems in the nation and, oh yeah, the books are FREE. If you want one to play games? Same answer. If you want to play a game, get out the chess board or soccer ball. Actually I do have a controller with the 80's games...perhaps that will come out on occasion when Lent has passed.

I know this begs for "just wait and see when they're older" and so I will. I know, though, that my husband has a quiet insistence about him that will pretty much insure the outcome even on my weakest day. The kids have laptops to share and are permitted to use them for schoolwork or to play on select educational sites and that's it. Yes, that makes us decidedly not normal. I'm good with that.

I was going to write this post last week when it happened but I'm glad I waited. Today we were in town for Tiny Tots and I decided (really? do you think we take a vote? remember...not normal) that we should go early and walk down to the 40 days vigil to pray for the mommies/babies/doctors a bit first. It was such a blessing because there was a group of people who traveled 90 minutes to get there; among them three very elderly nuns.

I wish I could say my kids all line up, rosaries in hand, and begin to pray. That's not the way it works. #3 has decided he's done with the vigil entirely and stands in stony silence. #4 plays with her rosary and manages to drop it on the ground at least once per decade. #5 looks very cute for the first 15 prayers then you really need to have snacks on hand or it goes downhill quickly.

However, my two elder children (yes, even #2!) managed to stand and pray their way through 3 decades. I think they sense when evil is stronger and try to step up and work hard. Whatever the reason, when I looked up, I saw the face of one of the nuns (she was likely in her mid-80's). The smile on her face was a little bit of Heaven amidst those dark surroundings. She was smiling at my son and I hope, at that moment, whispering a prayer for he and I to have the grace to do God's will.

Walking back to the symphony I realized something important about my Lent. It's good to sacrifice meals or give up yelling for a while. The real conduit for my spiritual change, however, is other people. I took the kids to the vigil to continue our discussions about praying for others, especially those who are in a place where they're not seeing God so clearly and instead listening to society. The grace, however, flowed from that dear Sister's face. We were there for her. We were there to help her have strength that all of her life's work was not in vain. We were there to show her that the Church will go on (with God's help, of course) in this next generation.

I'm not prideful enough to expect that all my kids will fall in line with my hope that they each choose a religious order and tidily join at the ripe age of 16 ;0) Still, my husband and I will keep praying and educating and opening them up to experiences that help them see the "normal" of society isn't often the most pleasing to God.

Are we like "normal" families? Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. We are normal for our family and that, for us, is the most important thing.

St. Joseph, Pray for Us!

1 comment:

  1. I think my husband will be the more insistent one on these sorts of matters as well. Which, even at the times I'm wanting to be a little more lenient, is probably a good thing. Thanks for the 40 Days reminder...not sure if we'll make it or not, being that I'm in total baby-awaiting mode right now...