by Kathleen Blease
He has a big heart. He is adorable and is the spitting image of his father, the man I'm absolutely in love with. Creative. Funny. Strong. Adventurous. Hard working. And he's driving me loony!
I feel guilty for saying it, but it's true. My thirteen-year-old is constant. Chatter. Eating. Chatter. Jumping. Chatter. Elbows and heels always moving about and looking for excitement. Chatter. Objects are flipped in the air—remote controls, pens, phones, pocket knives. Up, down. Up, down. Chatter. And his brain is constantly conjuring up inventions—usually right in the middle of Math. Oh, the adolescent male! His big brother doesn't make it easier with his untimely input. If you've got two boys, you know what I mean by “the little brother/big brother reaction factor.” Grrr.
I thought I'd take a break. A brisk walk in the cool spring air was in order. I slid my cell phone into my back pocket and called out to the boys, “Call me if you need me.” Translation: I want to be alone.
I took along a decade rosary I fashioned out of twine and knots and decided to follow the advice of Peggy Bowes and her Rosary Workout. This would be a good time to pray the mystery of The Visitation and to reflect on Mary's journey on foot (while pregnant) to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. I thought about that. I crossed over the creek's bridge and took in a deep breath of fresh air. Then I thought about how tired I was. How my foot hurt and my knee cracked. How my back was sore. Did Mary feel all these things, too? Of course. And the trees. The long row of trees to my right—the smell of the pine, the cool breeze, the feel of the road under my feet. Little stones. Pine cones. Twigs.
Here was Mary's path. Mary's school. I was entering in and becoming acutely aware that the Blessed Mother was surrounded by the very same dirt, fresh breeze, and noise of the birds, although two millenia ago and a world away. But these tiny pieces of Our Father's creation today are just the same.
I was in the mode. Peace. Ah, yes, peace....
“THERE you are! I ran across the woods, over the creek. Look, I got the bottom of my jeans dirty, but I hopped a few stones and got over the creek, then I ran over the field and now I've found you! Oh, here's a stone. Check this out! Oops. Mom, look. Mom, look. Maybe a pine cone would work better. Mom, watch, I'm gonna punt it. Oops. Wait, wait. Mom, look. Mom, look. Watch, watch. I'll try again. Yes! I was wondering if I would find you.”
I don't know why he wondered. I always walk on the same road.
Okay, I decided I would focus on my prayers by hook or by crook. Peggy said so. Here we go.
Hail Mary, full of grace....
Another knot finished. On to the next and then the next. And my son was still chattering. But now he was in front of me, kicking another pine cone down the road. Kick. Scramble, scramble. Kick. Scramble, scramble.
Hail Mary, full of grace...
Third knot finished. His elbows flew in the air. Whack! His heel kicked up high behind him.
Right about then, my eyes were changing. I saw something. I didn't see it before.
Hail Mary, full of grace...
Another knot. And then it became a little clearer.
Our Lord was just about my son's age when he left his parents to teach in the Temple. I thought about that. And then I thought about the fact that Christ, too, was a teen. What was he like at 13 years old? Exuberant, I'm sure. He must have loved his friends. How many games did he play with them? Can you imagine Him playing some ancient form of soccer, laughing and challenging His friends? All those boys: elbows and heels.
I watched my son in front of me as I prayed. Another knot. Then another. I could feel a unique bond forming first between my Holy Mother and me and then between my son and me. I could hear Mary saying, “Yes, He was like him in many ways when He was a boy. Happy. He was happy.”
We turned the corner and I said to Max, “I'm ready to pray the Hail Holy Queen. Wanna join me?”
“Here? Out loud?” He shrugged and put his arm across my shoulder in his happy-go-lucky way. We began. Out loud, as we walked down road. “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our hope. To you do we cry....”
Max walked next to me, but his steps were zippy next to my heavy ones. The cinders popped out from under his feet as we recited the prayer.
I continued on. “....Pray for us, Mother of God.”
My son was quiet. (Quiet!)
“Do you remember this part?”
He shrugged, then said, “That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.”
Then cinders flew as he ran up the driveway toward the pond. Elbows in the air.
That's my boy!
This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!