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Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday of Holy Week and Five Reasons We Didn't Make it to Mass

Painting the seashells Grandma collected in Florida
 Larry and I go to daily Mass almost every day of the year. When we were in Florida, the available church only offered Mass on Monday and Tuesday, but we were blessed to be there in Lent because they offered Mass and stations on Friday evening. Here at home we have Mass every day and would normally have been there this morning, but I couldn't face getting five grandkids out of bed early after staying up too late (It's hard to settle them when they see their cousins) and corralling them in time to make Mass. So we had a big breakfast instead and chatted around the table. They love our "big breakfasts" and always ask for them when they visit. We think we'll start a pool to guess how many (waffles, pieces of french toast, or pancakes) Ryan can eat. I also made an entire pound of bacon this morning so we wouldn't have an argument over who gets the last piece on the plate.

Even the littlest gets in the act.
I love having grandkids visit. One set of parents is off skiing in Utah and the other couple is organizing bedrooms in preparation for a new baby so we invited their children for the day and the two oldest stayed for a "sleepover."

I grew up essentially without grandparents. My mom's parents both died when I was an infant and my dad's lived far away and rarely visited. And, sadly, I was afraid of my grandmother who was gruff and critical. She taught me how NOT to be a grandma. I sometimes reflect on how much she missed when I'm cuddling a little one who almost leaps into my arms.

I love being the "support team" for my kids that my poor mom, a mother of ten  and a Navy wife constantly on the move, never had. Besides, I love all the things we do with our grandchildren: play cards and board games, do crafts, go hiking or bowling, play at the park, or just go down to the river to throw rocks and walk over the "scary bridge." It doesn't matter what we do; it's just fun to be together. And it warms my heart when one of the younger ones comes to me at bedtime and says, "Grandma, will you come up and sing us a song."

Proud of her final result!
Today, in honor of Lent, I think we'll make pretzels, little "praying arms" to remind the children of what this week is all about. And when we say bedtime prayers tonight we'll all put our arms in the "praying arm" position to pray like the monks and thank God for our day.

God calls us to a holy family life. Grandparents have the time, and hopefully the health, to answer that call. We love making happy memories for our grandchildren with their cousins and Aunts and Uncles. We think it's an amazing testimony to our success that we hardly ever have a squabble when the children are all here and we have more than a dozen playing together in little groups happily. The extended family is the village that raises the child.

Everybody will be gone tomorrow, but not for long. We have four of our five children and their families coming for Easter. To stay sane, I remind myself that the chaos will last only a few days before I have my nice, neat house back. In the meantime that happy chaos is a testament to the creation of happy memories at Grandma and Paka's house in Woodstock. And I also think we are giving our children a great witness of how to do grandparenting. I hope they do it even better when the time comes!

May God bless us and all families with the joy of praying and playing together. May you and your family have a blessed Holy Week.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us and help us to enter fully into the mystery of suffering and its saving power during these last few days of Lent.


  1. Lovely post. Super family. Wishing you a very happy and blessed Easter.

  2. Beautiful reflection, Mary Ann!

  3. Thanks to you both. And may you have a blessed Easter as well. We will have four of our five children and their families here so it will be an absolute delight for these doting grandparents.

  4. I have a co-worker who I hear (unfortunate close working cubicles...) complaining about the visits of his grandchildren. I can't help but think that he would be devastated if his grandkids heard him (or their parents) speak the way he does. I wonder if he realizes how blessed he is to have such rampant family normalcy and happiness.
    I've been tempted on several occasions to tell him but my own hard feelings and jealousy would like come out....

  5. Wow! My only complaint is that they don't come often enough. But I have to confess that I'm always happy because I love it when they come and I love it when they go. LOL! This group is leaving tomorrow and I'm ready to crash! But we've had a great time. Right now they are getting on their pajamas and we will watch an animated video about St. Patrick.